The Bad Dog
My eyes pop open and my heart starts racing. I can feel the anxiety creeping over me and throw the blankets back as I break out into a cold sweat. I haven’t even had my coffee and my mind is already spinning with the thought of having to confront someone that is attacking me personally and professionally. He’s old enough to be my grandfather, has a PhD. and professorship and has begun an all-out attack to try and steal my client! In this moment, he feels like the angry backyard dog just waiting to bite my head off, and I am none too excited about having to deal with him!
As I lie in my bed, all kinds of fears go rushing through my head:
What if he DOES know more than me? What if he destroys my reputation? What if he keeps me from getting future jobs? What if I sound stupid when I talk to him?
My inner critic goes WILD with judgement:
Well, you really AREN’T as experienced as him, are you? What makes you think YOU can serve the client best? Shouldn’t you have worked harder to make him an ally instead of a competitor?
At this moment, I am eternally grateful for my husband’s “kick-butt-reality-check.” In his oh so German directness, he tells me that I am full of it for believing any of these ridiculous voices and brings me the laptop (I admit, I wasn’t brave enough to face him on the phone!). I make my arguments, tell him that I will not allow him to steal my concepts or my clients and put my boss into carbon copy. His response was scathing, but in a move of unprecedented foolishness, he carbon copied THE CLIENT his poisonous und unprofessional response and sealed his fate forever. I kept the client, kept my self-respect, and never heard from said “colleague” again.
What if I had allowed those voices and fears to keep me from acting? I probably would have lost the client, but more importantly, I would have lost a tremendous amount of confidence and self-respect. It would have set the scene for future moments of cowardice and I probably wouldn’t have been able to build a successful business. Was I less experienced than a 70-year old professor? Most likely so, but I still had enough experience to do my job well and get raving reviews from my clients.
Time for Tough Talk
Life is about confrontation. For those of you out there that are waiting for sunshine and roses before you speak up about things that aren’t right in your life, I’m here to tell you, THEY DON’T EXIST! There is never going to be a perfect moment to step out in courage, but if you can learn to ignore the excuses, fears and plain ole comfort that are holding you back, you WILL start doing things differently!
What are some of your excuses?
I’m not … enough!
I don’t have enough …
I’ve never been able to …
Nobody ever gave me the chance to …
I’m only a …
I’m already …
Have you ever heard the start of any of these sentences? It’s time to start asking the questions that will start to unravel these excuses!
- Who says I’m not … enough, and why am I listening to them anyway?
- Is it true that I don’t …?
- Just because I’ve never been able to do …, does that mean that I never WILL be able to do it?
- Do I want to continue being the victim of my own life?
- Why is being (a woman, a man, young, old, married, divorced, a single mom) a reason to NOT do this?
By disputing some of these limiting and disempowering statements, you are learning to give yourself permission to behave bravely!
The Boogeyman in our Head
The second area where we need to get honest with ourselves is in the area of our fears. Many of us have grown up with fearful parents and authority figures that have taught us to look over our shoulders everywhere we go. Sometimes, a negative experience can trigger a whole set of new fears, but unfortunately, these can start to reduce our lives to the small place that we can understand and control.
What are some of your fears?
What if I fail?
What will … think?
What if …rejects me?
What if I lose my job?
What if I lose money?
What if someone finds out …
What if I can’t …
When everything in you is asking “What if + (negative consequence)”, turn it around and ask the question:
- “BUT WHAT IF IT WORKS?!”
- What if I get promoted?
- What if they love my idea?
- What if I am finally able to get that off my chest and sleep in peace?
Our brains rarely play out the flipside of the situation because they are hard-wired to help us survive, and survival requires preparing for the worst-case scenario. By allowing yourself the empowering change of perspective that MAYBE things will work out wonderfully, you can psyche yourself up for taking bold new steps!
Ouch! That hurts!
The third area where we need to get honest with ourselves is in the area of our own COMFORT. Where have we allowed ourselves to get too comfortable with the status quo of our work lives, marriages, and friendships, even if we aren’t too happy about it? Where are we going to have to get out of our emotional yoga pants and start doing some scary things?
Questions to Ask:
- Have I installed entertainment routines that keep me from pursuing personal growth?
- Do I spend time with people and silently wish I could tell them what I really think?
- Have I been avoiding certain activities because of how awkward they make me feel?
- Am I dealing with resignation, frustration, and perhaps depression because I feel under- or overchallenged at work?
- Am I numbing my negative emotions with food, alcohol, drugs, sex, or risky behavior?
If you answered “yes” to more than one of these questions, you are probably uncomfortably stuck in the comfort zone! You are putting up with a less than positive situation by numbing, entertaining, or daydreaming instead of facing your situations head on (and yes, that IS going to be uncomfortable!)
The most important question you need to ask here is:
“What am I missing out on by staying inactive?”
My last blog post dealt with embracing your vision, and if you haven’t read it, I highly suggest going back and doing so (The Power of Embracing Your Vision!)! Once you have identified WHY you want something, it will be much easier to deal with the HOW!
If you are looking for a shortcut around honesty in your pursuit of a courageous life, I’m sorry that I won’t be able to show you one! You are going to have to go OVER THE MOUNTAIN, otherwise, you will be destined to go AROUND and AROUND the same one for years to come! Is this process going to be easy? No way! Is it going to be worth it? You betcha!
If you need some help with this tricky area of self-reflection, feel free to get in touch for an individual coaching session. Together, we will identify the excuses, fear and complacency that is holding you back and map out a strategy for changing your mindset.
The Link to my Livesession: Brass Tacks