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Taking the first step

I have learnt over many years that is our fear of the unknown or the fear of not being able to cope that is the cause of our anxiety. We cannot be anxious about things that are past only about what is yet to come.

Many time’s in my life I have wasted time and missed opportunities focusing on what could be or what might be rather than taking action and doing something.

It may have been fear of failure in terms of putting myself forward for career progression, fear of rejection in terms of relationships or … fear of not being liked that all made me anxious and held me back.

Anxiety can hold us back

What I have come to realise is that it is the anxiety that holds us back and keeps us stuck in the situation.

It was like that for me whenever I thought about doing something I hadn’t done before that put me in a position where I felt people could/would judge me and even though over the years I have faced up to and dealt with many challenging moments in my life I still get those feelings when it comes to doing something inventive or new.

More recently for me this has shown up when I started to write my blogs and that is when the anxious feelings came straight back in.

‘Why would anyone want to read what I had to say?’

‘People would think I was stupid?’

‘No-one will be interested in what I have to say.’

‘If people don’t like what I have to say it will negatively impact my business’

‘Why should anyone trust what I have to say about it’

‘Other people know more than me and are better at this so whatever I do won’t be any good’

‘Its too big a challenge I will never be able to do that’

I could go on, thoughts like these can just keep building and circulating in your mind and all they serve to do is keep you stuck in a place where the anxiety builds and you feel as if your immobilised and stuck.

What I do now when the feelings of anxiety hit

I listen to myself and ask myself the question ‘so what?’

‘So what’ if that happens? What am I afraid of? What would I do then? Have I faced this in the past? Did I get through it? (answer is yes, because you’re here now.) What did I do then? What have I faced that is similar? What can I do now? What one thing would make me feel better right now? What else would make this better? And keep repeating the process and questions until I have a response and action to every possibility.

This takes the anxiety out of the situation because now I have a plan I have a response.

I know what I can do in each situation. I know… its not the unknown any more which automatically reduces the tension around it.

Doing the above allowed me to stop procrastinating and get to a point where I could actually sit down and start to think about the process of writing the blog something previously I had found every reason ‘under the sun’ not to start – Including ironing which I hate… However, I did need to also break it down into smaller steps so as not to allow the anxiety back in and my feelings to spiral so I processed it in bite size sections.

What was my plan for writing a blog?

I took it one step at a time? I put a plan together and broke it down into realistic portions.

I chose a topic.

I set a deadline to complete it by.

I set a target of one paragraph a day for a week.

I set a date to post it by.

I told someone I was going to do it.

What happened next?

I chose my topic and started writing the first paragraph.

An hour later I stopped and realised I had the rough first copy of my very own blog. Yes, it needed tweaking and tidying up before I felt it would be ready for sharing fully. But the thing I had put off for months and worried about doing and completing, that I had used every excuse I could think of not to do when it came to it had, actually been quite simple.

Yes, I hadn’t published it yet and that had its own challenges but I had achieved it which made me feel good about myself and as always happens in theses situations wonder why I had put it off for so long and allowed myself to get so worked up about it.

Posting it was my next challenge and having sent it to someone I trusted to read and let me have their feedback, I reminded myself of all the reasons I wanted to do this and how I would deal with anything that came back from it and pushed the button and posted it.

The response was completely the opposite of everything I had worried about, people thanked me for sharing my personal experience, they thanked me for sharing the tips on how to deal with difficult situations and focus on the issue, how to focus on facts and not emotions. They told me they couldn’t wait to read the next blog. They even asked where they could find my earlier blogs as they didn’t realise it was the first one I had done…

The blog, I’m talking about is titled ‘What I learned from my son’

What are the things you feel anxious about today?

What one thing could you do now that would make a difference to you and when are you going to do it?

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