Archive for WACASHWI – Page 2

Using Your Environment to Overcome Fear

Estimated Reading Time: 5 Minutes

How can you utilize your environment to overcome your fears?

How will you feel the first time you succeed at something you are afraid of doing? What type of positive impact on your life will it make to overcome a life-long fear? How do you feel when you are surrounded by people who support you? Have you ever tried doing something you were afraid while surrounded by only people who were supportive of you?

At various times in my life, I have been afraid to approach people. This would happen, regardless of the level of confidence I had in myself. This would happen, regardless of what I was going to talk to them about. This would happen, even when I knew what I was going to talk to them about would be mutually beneficial. The fear would increase if I could not immediately see how the person would benefit from what I was going to talk with them about.

I remember one of the first times I asked someone if I could speak on their stage. The John Maxwell Team was opening the stage to some of the founding partners. This would be an opportunity to share the stage with John and other great speakers. This was a big opportunity for me and, to say I was nervous would be an understatement. I knew I would succeed if they gave me the chance. I knew that overcoming my fear of approaching people was something I needed to do to start a successful career as a public speaker. I also knew how beneficial overcoming that fear would be to my consulting and coaching business.

I still remember approaching Roddy Galbraith (the John Maxwell Team Speaker Trainer) to ask for a spot on the stage as if it happened only yesterday. My hands were sweating. My heart was racing. It took every ounce of strength I had to keep my voice steady and portray the level of confidence I believed was necessary. The thing that made the difference and gave me the final push I needed to ask for a spot on the stage was the environment I was in at the time I was asking.

For my first big ask, I chose to do it in an environment that I felt safe in. I felt safe asking Roddy because we had been on mentoring calls together for months by that time and I got to know his as one of the good guys. I felt safe that, regardless of how I performed, my fellow John Maxwell Team members and the rest of the audience would be supportive of me and at least not laugh me off the stage. I felt safe that the worst that would happen would be that Roddy would tell me no in a nice way. Thankfully, Roddy said that he would consider giving me a spot on the stage. Fast forward a few days, and I was on the stage.

Fear can feel like something you will never overcome. Fear can feel like something that will weigh you down forever. You can look at your life and see all the things fear cost you and still not have the courage or the strength to overcome that fear. There is truth to the saying that, to get over fear, you must go do the thing you are afraid of doing. Depending on how strong the fear is, the mere fact of knowing that truth is not enough. We all need something more. That something more comes in the form of doing something you fear in an environment that you feel safe in while doing it afraid.

Many times, you will hear people say, “I understand you are afraid. What would you do if you were not afraid?” and then suggest you just go do that thing. There is a difference between knowing what you would do if you were not afraid and doing that thing. You will overcome that difference when you choose a safe environment in which to do the thing you are afraid of doing. I invite you to put yourself in a safe and nurturing situation the first time you try to do something afraid so that even if you do fail, it is not the worst thing in the world and you can get up, you can learn from it and you can move on.

Confronting your fear in a safe environment is a key step to beating the demon of fear permanently.

How this applies to authentic empathy

When it comes to authentic empathy and utilizing your environment to overcome fear, when you put yourself in a safe and nurturing environment, you are surrounding yourself with people who have a naturally higher level of authentic empathy for you. This increased level of authentic empathy will empower you to overcome your fear by doing the thing you are afraid of while you are afraid of it and doing it until you overcome your fear.

How this applies to WACASHWI

When it comes to WACASHWI and utilizing your environment to overcome fear, as you put fears on to and move them through your list, I invite you to look for safe environments to work on overcoming those fears. To begin with, I invite you to see if the people closest to you can help create that safe environment for you. Once you look to the people closest to you, find other, already established safe environments you can become part of. A third option is to create your own, established safe environment.

Your daily invitations…

  • I invite you to think about one fear you would like to overcome.
  • I invite you to consider what your life will look like once you overcome that fear.
  • I invite you to consider what safe environment already exists that you can be in to start overcoming your fear.
  • I invite you to write down your thoughts, feelings, and actions in your journal.
  • I invite you to talk about your desire to overcome this fear with people close to you so they can help create a safe environment in which you can overcome your fear.
  • I invite you to talk with a good coach, mentor or therapist if working through this process beings up negative feelings you are struggling to deal with.

Final step – how will you implement one thing you learned today in your life?

This all is but one step in your journey to living a more stress-free life, beating the demons of fear, and raising your level of authentic empathy towards yourself and others.

I appreciate you!

Fear of Being too Pliable

Estimated Reading Time: 5 Minutes

How would your life change if you were less afraid of believing other people may be right?

Have you ever changed the way you felt about something based on what someone else told you and regretted it later? Have you had people in your life that you were concerned did not have your best interests at heart? Do you get defensive the minute someone tries to give you a different way of looking at things? How would it feel to be less defensive? How would your life change if you were less afraid of listening to other people’s opinions?

For many years, I refused to listen to other people’s opinions about things. As far as I was concerned, I was right and that was that. My ego could not fit through most doors. As you can imagine, it cost me many friendships, relationships, and many other things. One thing that killed a large portion of that ego was the time I spent being homeless. Another thing that helped was when I dug deep to find out what led me to having a big ego.

I started with the things that made sense. I have always done a ton of research. I am a student of people. I am a student of life. Put those things together and most of the time I was right about what I was thinking and saying. The mere fact of being correct on a consistent basis does not automatically make someone egotistical. It does not automatically make someone less open to other people’s opinions. What made me different?

I then looked further back into my past searching for other contributing factors. That is when I found several instances where I trusted people. I changed my mind, thoughts, actions, or opinions based on what they were telling me, and it came back to bite me. Sometimes, I was ridiculed. Sometimes, I got in trouble. Sometimes, I got hurt physically. Sometimes I got hurt emotionally. This went further to explaining things. Yet, there was still something missing. Why did I allow myself to change what I did based on what others were saying? Why did I let them sway me so much? The answers to these questions led me to the final piece of the puzzle.

There was a time in my life where I was too pliable to other people’s opinions. I was a people pleaser. I just wanted to fit in. I just wanted people to like me. The easiest way to do that was to agree with and do whatever they said without thinking. Once I was hurt enough times, I flipped everything around and became rigid in my thoughts, feelings, actions, and beliefs. I did this to protect myself. I convinced myself that, if things did not work out, I had nobody to blame but myself. While this is true, it also meant I was missing out on great advice and information from other people.

Once I realized this, I was able to make positive changes to my life. I started listening to people, being more open to their opinions and then doing some additional research before making any decision on what to believe or how to proceed. It is a methodology I use called trust and verify.

One thing I found over my life is that people are rigid in their thoughts and beliefs for several reasons. The one most applicable to this post is a fear of being too pliable. This fear is born out of having a past where you have changed your beliefs, thoughts, feelings, or opinions because of what someone said, did or how they made you feel. This change then led to negative consequences for you. These negative consequences built up and caused you to become rigid in your beliefs. To overcome this rigidity, I invite you to start being more open to the possibility that changing your mind is a good thing.

The next time someone tries to change your mind on something small that you know will not negatively affect you, I invite you to be open to the possibility of changing your mind. This will be an ongoing process with the time and effort you put into it being well spent. The end goal here is for you to develop the skills and the habits so that you are confident that people will not sway you for their gain. When you can develop that skill and habit, then it allows you to question everything. That empowers you to grow, change, succeed, and achieve more than you thought was ever possible.

We never know what great things we miss out on when we think we are never wrong.

How this applies to authentic empathy

When it comes to authentic empathy and the fear of being too pliable, I invite you to have a ton of authentic empathy for others. If you have a fear of being too pliable and that fear has turned into rigidity, people around you will struggle at first to believe you now want to hear and consider their opinion. They have become so accustomed to not being heard that they will struggle at first to give you their opinion. Approach them with authentic empathy and keep working on it and they will come around.

How this applies to WACASHWI

When it comes to WACASHWI and the fear of being too pliable, it will be a balancing act. The things you move on to and through your list will be things deeply personal to you. Things that you know will help you achieve your goals. This will lead you to being more resistant to hearing what others have to say, especially if it contradicts what you think you know. I invite you to consider that some people in your life may know you better than you know yourself. That is why being open to hearing someone’s opinion and then using the trust and verify method will be key to your success.

Your daily invitations…

  • I invite you to think about how rigid you are in your thoughts, feelings, beliefs, and actions.
  • I invite you to consider people who you would like to get more thoughts and opinions from.
  • I invite you to write down your thoughts, feelings, and actions in your journal.
  • I invite you to talk with the people you considered above, tell them what you are going though, empathize with them, help them empathize with you and make it as easy as you can for them to give you their opinions.

Final step – how will you implement one thing you learned today in your life?

This all is but one step in your journey to living a more stress-free life, beating the demons of fear, and raising your level of authentic empathy towards yourself and others.

Fear and Perspective

Estimated Reading Time: 4 Minutes

What if you changed your perspective when you felt a fear coming on?

How would you feel if, when a fear starts to form, you were able to stop it in its tracks? What would it do for your life if there was a way to reduce the impact that a certain fear has on you? How great would it be to have a way to immediately mitigate a fear that you are struggling to overcome?

Heights are a wonderful thing. For some people that is. For me, not so much. For as long as I can remember, heights have bothered me. Historically, even when looking up at a tall, safe structure, fear would kick in. One day, I started walking along a trail next to a pier. On this pier, was a spiral staircase about thirty feet tall. The first few days I walked, I just looked at the staircase and said to myself, no thanks, I will pass.

Eventually, I decided that I could use this staircase to push through my fear of heights by climbing it every day. The first time I walked up, I was scared almost to death. I took small steps and paused between each step. When I had to climb back down, I made sure that both feet would be on one step before going to the next step. I held onto the railing so tight that my knuckles turned white. The next day, the same thing happened.

I kept climbing these stairs, day after day, all the time feeling the fear. Sitting with the fear. Understanding the fear. Then, one day, I set a goal of walking up and down the steps normally. My goal was to walk so that there was no pause in between each step, only one foot was on a step at any given time and my knuckles were not white when I was done. Each day I was focused on my feet, my hand, and my goal. Each day I inched closer to my goal. Finally, one day, I did it. I went up the steps, stood on the top landing, waited a while, and then walked down them exactly as someone would without a fear of heights.

When I got to the bottom, something interesting happened. The fear that I remembered feeling was no longer as strong. Even though a small amount of it was still there. I figured maybe I was just so caught up in the moment that I ‘forgot’ to be afraid. To test my theory, the next day I was cognizant of my fear before, during and after walking the steps. To my surprise, my fear was not as strong as it was before. That is when I identified the key decision I made, that started the chain of events responsible for reducing my level of fear.

I shifted my perspective. As I walked the steps, I was focused on my hands, my feet, the steps and not the fear I was feeling. That change of perspective empowered me to climb the steps with less fear. Climbing the steps with less fear allowed me to continue climbing them. Continuing to climb them day after day reduced my fear to an acceptable level. At least I no longer dread heights and I am looking forward to future opportunities to continue my journey.

The next time you feel a fear you want to eliminate from your life, I invite you to shift your perspective the moment you feel the fear. Where our focus goes, our energy flows. When we start to feel a fear and we continue to focus on that fear, we are giving it the energy to grow. The best way to remove that energy and starve the fear is by shifting your perspective. Put the thought of the specific fear away and focus your thoughts and energy towards the tasks needed to overcome the fear.

When you start to feel fear, shifting your perspective will rob fear of the energy it needs to grow.

How this applies to authentic empathy

When it comes to authentic empathy and shifting your perspective, sometimes shifting your perspective requires shifting what you do. The more authentic empathy you give to yourself for the shifts you must make, the more your brain will be willing to make those shifts and the sooner they will happen. I invite you to help those around you understand that, when you shift your perspective to overcome a fear, the more authentic empathy and leeway they can give you the quicker you will overcome the fear. Let them know that sometimes you will be making these shifts quickly and other times it will take more time. This will prepare them and empower them to give you the authentic empathy you desire.

How this applies to WACASHWI

When it comes to WACASHWI and shifting your perspective, fear will crop up as you are putting things on and moving them through your list. The ability to shift your perspective when you first notice that the fear is starting will be key to maintaining your momentum. This is because it takes less energy and effort to shift your perspective while the fear is still growing. I invite you to think of it like a tree. When a tree is a seedling, it is easy to pull out of the ground with your hands. Once it grows some roots, it becomes more difficult, and you need a shovel to pull it out of the ground. Eventually, the roots are so deep you need some heavy machinery to pull it out.

Your daily invitations…

  • I invite you to think about a fear that frequently crops up.
  • I invite you to consider what life would look like without that fear.
  • I invite you to consider what you can do to shift your perspective the next time the fear crops up.
  • I invite you to write down your thoughts, feelings, and actions in your journal.
  • I invite you to talk about what you will be doing with the people closest to you and prepare them for the shifts they will see you make.
  • I invite you to talk to a good coach, mentor, or therapist if what you are thinking or considering stirs up negative feelings or emotions.

Final step – how will you implement one thing you learned today in your life?

This all is but one step in your journey to living a more stress-free life, beating the demons of fear, and raising your level of authentic empathy towards yourself and others.

I appreciate you!

Using Fear to Keep a Habit

Estimated Reading Time: 4 Minutes

How can you use fear as a motivator to keep a habit?

How would it feel to have an extra tool in your arsenal to keep you from breaking good habits? Have you ever thought about the role fear can play when trying not to break a good habit? How would you like to have to put less willpower into keeping good habits?

Some time ago, I started exercising daily. Whether it was riding a bike, going to the gym, or walking, I started doing some form of exercise every day. When I would go to the gym, I would always walk past this one store. The day I knew that my mind had accepted my new habit of daily exercise was the day I had to go back to that store after I had already come home from my workout. The minute I started the walk to the store, it felt like I was going to the gym.

Usually, my walk would happen right before sunrise. It is an interesting feeling walking through a quiet city that is normally busy and filled with traffic. It is also a peaceful feeling watching the sun come up over the city. Before going to the gym and exercising was a fully formed habit for me, an interesting situation happened. As the sunrise got later and later, I had to decide. Was I ok with walking before sunrise, was I going to keep pushing the time of my exercise later and later or, on some days, would I just not workout at all? Then came the morning when, to get my exercise in, I had to walk before sunrise, and I was dreading it. That was when I realized that fear can be a motivator to keep a habit.

On that day, I could not push my exercise any later in the morning because my schedule was full. This led me to walk to the gym when it was dark. Why did I do that? Did I just love going to the gym so much that I had to get a workout in? While I did love going to the gym, my reasons for going that day were different. That day, I did it out of fear. Fear that not going one day would turn into not going two straight days. Fear that, I would lose the momentum I built up by going every day to the gym. This was the day I learned that fear can be harnessed to help build good habits.

When we have fully formed habits, they are hard to break. Before they become full-formed, situations will crop up that could potentially keep our good habits from fully forming. Until our habits are fully formed, fear can be a powerful motivator. It can be a positive motivator that keeps us moving forward. It could also be a negative motivator that prevents the habit from taking hold. They key is to realize the fragile nature of habits while they are being formed. This will allow us to make informed choices on how to use fear as a positive motivator.

Fear can be the positive force necessary to keep building good habits.

How this applies to authentic empathy

When it comes to authentic empathy and using fear to help build good habits, since fear usually carries a negative connotation, asking those closest to you show you authentic empathy as you build the habit is key. This will prevent them from steering you away from the fear. Talking about it to them at the beginning will also show them that you are thinking clearly. It will show them that you have made an active decision to utilize fear rather than reacting to the fear as it happens. This will empower them to be more supportive of your decision and show you more authentic empathy.

How this applies to WACASHWI

When it comes to WACASHWI and using fear to help build good habits, usually, we will put fears on to and move them through the process it is because we want to overcome them. In this case, overcoming a fear (at least right now) that you can utilize to build good habits will be counterproductive. First build the good new habit by putting tasks on to and moving them through your list designed to fully form that habit. When the fear no longer serves you, I invite you to put the task of overcoming that fear on the list.

Your daily invitations…

  • I invite you to think about a habit you are trying to build.
  • I invite you to consider a fear you could introduce into your life that will help you build the habit.
  • I invite you to write down your thoughts, feelings, and actions in your journal.
  • I invite you to talk about your thoughts and considerations with someone close and let them know how you plan on utilizing fear. If you do not have anyone close you can talk to about this, I invite you to get a good coach, mentor, or therapist to help you through and act as accountability partner or a thinking partner.

Final step – how will you implement one thing you learned today in your life?

This all is but one step in your journey to living a more stress-free life, beating the demons of fear, and raising your level of authentic empathy towards yourself and others.

I appreciate you!

Fear as a Positive Influence

Estimated Reading Time: 4 Minutes

How can you use fear as a positive influence on you?

Do you treat each fear the same way? Do you ever take your fear and turn it into passion? How would you feel if you found out the fear inside of you was meant to fuel you? What would it mean for your life if you could harness your fear for a good purpose?

For many years, I was afraid to talk about fear. I was afraid to admit to the outside world that I was afraid. I was afraid that no one would like me if they knew. I was afraid that I would not be able to find a good woman if I were open about my fears. I was afraid that people would take advantage of me and play on my fears. In my very private moments, fear consumed my thoughts and my emotions. Then, I let a woman I was dating in on some of my fears and she said something profound, “Your mess is your message.”

While I did not act right away, that one statement is part of what led me to talk about my fears and to do what I can to help other people overcome their fears. Over time, I started to think about fear differently. I started to realize where my fears were trying to protect me, where they were stopping me and where they were pushing me forward. I remembered a story from one of my mentors, Les Brown, about how he is still nervous before he goes on stage. He uses that fear to let him know he still has passion for the business after all these years.

While I still experience fear, now, fear and I have a different relationship. Some fears I look at and say, “Thanks brain for trying to protect me. I will heed your warnings.” Other fears I look at and say, “Thanks brain for trying to protect me. Do not worry, I got this.” While other fears I look at and say, “I feel so alive! I feel like I could conquer the world! I will use this fear as fuel.” This post is a great example. Before my new relationship with fear, I would have been too afraid to write much of what is in this post. Now, I feel excited inside for you to read it.

Fear has been key to our survival as human beings forever in the form of the fight or fight syndrome. Fear can also be used to drive us forward. The fear of letting someone down is a great example of where we can use fear as a positive motivator. With regards to that specific fear, the challenge for us is to not let fear stop us from committing to something just because we are afraid that we may let them down.

The next time you feel fear, I invite you to consider that the fear could be there to fuel you. The fear could be there to push you forward. I invite you to step into it slowly. Ease into it and see if it will drive you forward and fuel you. If you find that the fear was there to keep you safe, you can always change directions. If that happens, at least you will be sure of what the fear was meant to do for you.

Fear can be the fuel that propels you to great achievements.

How this applies to authentic empathy

When it comes to authentic empathy and using fear as a positive influence, as you start the process, I invite you to give yourself authentic empathy and let others know that you need some authentic empathy from them. Treat it like jumping into a swimming pool when you were young. The first time jumping into the pool is a scary experience for most kids. We dip our toes in the water and (hopefully) have a loving relative waiting to catch us (or at least make sure we do not drown.) Invite the people around you to be like that loving family member. Invite them to be patient with you as you work through your fear. Let them know it will help you and payoff for both you and them in the long run.

How this applies to WACASHWI

When it comes to WACASHWI and using fear as a positive influence, I invite you to put the work in to understand the difference between a fear that is fueling you and a fear that is keeping you safe. Doing this will be key to what you put on your list and move through the process. Doing this will also help the process move more smoothly by focusing your efforts and giving you extra fuel when you need it.

Your daily invitations…

  • I invite you to think about some of your fears today and pick one that may be a positive influence.
  • I invite you to consider the merits it holds as a positive influence.
  • I invite you to consider the benefits you will receive by treating it as a positive influence.
  • I invite you to write down your thoughts, feelings, and actions in your journal.
  • I invite you to talk about your fear with one person close to you and gain their support. If you do not feel comfortable taking with someone currently close to you, I invite you to find a good coach, mentor, or therapist to talk with.

Final step – how will you implement one thing you learned today in your life?

This all is but one step in your journey to living a more stress-free life, beating the demons of fear, and raising your level of authentic empathy towards yourself and others.

I appreciate you!

 

Is There More to What You Are Afraid Of?

Estimated Reading Time: 5 Minutes

How can you figure out if what you think you are afraid of is really what you are afraid of or if you are afraid of something else?

How many times have you allowed fear to convince you of something? How many times have you been convinced you know the exact reason you are afraid of something? Have you ever questioned yourself to see if the thing you are afraid of is something different than what you think you are afraid of?

For many years, I dealt with the fear of making a mistake. I would work so hard and try to make everything perfect. I would do and re-do things time and time again because I was afraid of making a mistake, or so I thought. I started to consider what else could be causing my fear. Was I afraid of making a mistake, or was it something else?

Looking back on my life, I looked for something to validate my fear. What mistake had I made that was so bad that I would be afraid of making it again? While I could not remember a specific mistake, I remembered being bullied for things I did as a kid. I thought surely that was it. I thought the bullying must have been the reason I was so afraid to make a mistake. This answer made sense to me at a conscious level. However, there was still something missing. I still had a nagging feeling that there was more.

As I looked deeper, I thought about times people left me because of what I assumed were the number of mistakes I made. While I could not remember anyone directly saying they were leaving me because I was a screw-up, the thought of it made sense to me. Then, I realized an important word in my thought process – assumed. I assumed they left me because I made too many mistakes. What if I was wrong? What if there was another reason friendships and relationships ended?

I then asked myself a terrifying and difficult question. What is the root cause of my fear of making a mistake? What is that thing I am afraid to confront that has led me to a fear of making a mistake? As I considered what that could be, I realized something. Historically, when I made a mistake, I would not be happy with myself. I would beat myself up over even the smallest of mistakes. I always assumed that was happening because I was afraid my mistakes would drive people away. What if, it was not the mistake that was driving people away? What if it was my reaction to my mistake that was driving people away?

That is when the lightbulb went on for me. It was my reaction to my mistakes that was driving people away not the mistakes themselves. I realized that, if I would change how I reacted to my mistakes and continue to work on fixing both the reactions and the mistakes, people in my life would give me the love, space, and time I needed. I also realized that, so long as I was continually fixing the reactions, fixing the mistakes I make and doing the best I could to prevent them from happening again, the people who left anyway were not meant to be in my life.

Whether it is being afraid of making a mistake or anything else you are afraid of, I invite you to keep digging until you find the root cause of why you are afraid. To do this, I invite you to ask questions of yourself like a child. You have probably known or seen a child that continually asks, “But why?”. Continue asking yourself, “But why?” until you run out of answers. When you run out of answers then you are as close as you can get at that point to the root cause of your feelings. You are as close as you can get at that point to identifying what you are afraid of. Act based on your newfound awareness. If things do not improve, talk to a coach, mentor or therapist who will ask you questions you had not thought of to get you to uncover that thing you are afraid of.

Uncover the root cause of your fears, thoughts, feelings, and emotions by continually asking yourself, “But why?”

How this applies to authentic empathy

When it comes to authentic empathy and figuring out if what you think you are afraid of is really what you are afraid of or if you are afraid of something else, giving yourself authentic empathy to be wrong about what you are afraid of is key. When we are afraid of something and think about being wrong, we are adding one more piece of unnecessary stress to ourselves. When this happens, I invite you to pause for a moment and give yourself the permission to be wrong. I invite you to say to yourself, “It is ok if I am wrong about what I thought I was afraid of. The most important thing is that I start to figure out the root cause of what I am afraid of and then do something about it.” This will give you a chance to start fresh today and make positive steps forward.

How this applies to WACASHWI

When it comes to WACASHWI and figuring out if what you think you are afraid of is really what you are afraid of or if you are afraid of something else, getting to the root cause of your feelings and the fears that drive you will empower you to put items on the list to overcome those fears. I invite you to look at every fear as valid and something to be overcome. When you focus on overcoming the root cause of your fears first, you will find that your solutions will also resolve other fears you have. Many times, taking care of one root cause resolves multiple fears. This means that you will also save time and energy by first figuring out the root cause of your fears and then putting the plan in place to overcome them.

Your daily invitations…

  • I invite you to think about your most pressing fear.
  • I invite you to consider what the root cause of that fear could be.
  • I invite you to write down your thoughts, feelings, and actions in your journal.
  • I invite you to talk about what you are going through with a coach, mentor or therapist and decide what additional tools you need to overcome that fear.

Final step – how will you implement one thing you learned today in your life?

This all is but one step in your journey to living a more stress-free life, beating the demons of fear, and raising your level of authentic empathy towards yourself and others.

I appreciate you!

 

Self-doubt is the Destroyer of Dreams

Estimated Reading Time: 5 Minutes

Do not let self-doubt cost you what it cost me.

Today we are going to talk about self-doubt. How many times have you had a good idea that you proposed to one or two people only to have that idea not resonate with them? Have you ever had what you thought was a great idea that got no support from anyone else, so you just shelved it? How often have you moved on from an idea after one or two rejections and never thought about it again?

In March of 2020 when the global pandemic hit and everything happened, I was connected to a professional wrestler who was high-up in All Elite Wrestling (AEW). I reached out to him as soon as fans were no longer allowed in arenas with an idea I had. I texted him and suggested that, since there were no fans in the arena, they could run something like a YouTube Live Event. They would feed the video from the attendees watching at home on to the big video board they have in the arena. They would also pump the sound back into the arena. I sent one text and never heard anything back.

At a conscious level, I figured that he was just too busy or too nice of a guy to say he did not like the idea. At a subconscious level, self-doubt crept in and I figured it was just a bad idea and there was no use in pushing it or anything like it any further. A few months later, a competing company World Wrestling Entertainment (yes that WWE) unveiled their new Thunderdome arena. This arena came complete with video screens of fans watching the action and reacting to it from home. When I found out about it I both smiled and cried. I smiled because it let me know that some of my creative and out-there ideas are not as out-there as they may seem. I cried because I realized I allowed self-doubt to stop me from pushing my idea forward. An idea that, in the end, a version of it is being seen by millions of people each week.

When self-doubt controls what we do, we lose out on some incredible opportunities. While you may feel the doubts are well-founded, I invite you to ask yourself a question. What if the doubts are not well founded? What if you push past what you are feeling and find the right person to resonate with your idea? What if you keep pushing until the idea is a success?

Fear is a wedge used in the crack of self-doubt to split you from the things you desire most.

How this applies to fear

When it comes to fear and self-doubt, fear is one of the biggest drivers of self-doubt. If we have even the smallest sliver of doubt in ourselves and we allow fear to insert itself into that crack, it acts like a wedge that drives us away from what we desire. A wedge, by itself, can keep things apart. A wedge, by itself, cannot split anything. It takes someone hitting the wedge and driving it deeper into the crack for it to split two things farther apart. Sometimes, other people can be the ones hammering at the wedge of fear and driving it deeper into our self-doubt. Other times, we are the ones hitting that wedge of fear. In either case, we are in control. We can stop others and ourselves from hitting our fear wedge. I empathize with you and the fact that it does not always feel that way. Many times, in my life I have felt like I had no control. When this happens to you, do what I do, borrow the faith someone else has in you. If you feel you cannot find anyone who has faith in you, get a good coach, mentor, or therapist. One that wants to see you succeed and has faith in you.

How this applies to authentic empathy

When it comes to authentic empathy and self-doubt, when self-doubt crops up, give yourself the authentic empathy you need to push through it. If someone comes to you in a state of self-doubt and you think they are looking for pity, I invite you to look at what they are going through a different way. When people struggle with self-doubt, they are not looking for pity. What they are looking for is authentic empathy. They are looking for someone to have faith in them and feel authentic empathy for them and the fact that, given an honest choice, they would snap their fingers and get rid of the doubt they have in themselves. They are looking for you to experience authentic empathy for them and the fact that things have gotten to a point where they are not currently able to snap their fingers and make their self-doubt go away. They need love, time, support, and authentic empathy to help them make it go away.

How this applies to WACASHWI

When it comes to WACASHWI and self-doubt, while moving things on to and through you list you will question yourself. You will question if you really Want to do something, if you really Can do something, if you really Should do something, and if you really Will do something. That questioning is a good, natural, healthy part of the process. While questioning yourself, I invite you to consider why you answer ‘no’ to something. I invite you to consider what role self-doubt plays in your decisions. This will allow you to get the support you need for those things you have a deep desire to put on the list and make happen.

Your daily invitations…

  • I invite you to think about something that you have been putting off doing because of self-doubt.
  • I invite you to consider how you would feel and what it would look like for you to overcome your self-doubts about this one thing.
  • I invite you to write down your thoughts, feelings, and actions in your journal.
  • I invite you to talk about your thoughts, considerations and feelings with a friend, family member, coach, mentor, or therapist who supports you and can give you the authentic empathy you need to start moving forward.

Final step – how will you implement one thing you learned today in your life?

This all is but one step in your journey to living a more stress-free life, beating the demons of fear, and raising your level of authentic empathy towards yourself and others.

I appreciate you!

 

Fear is Factual Evidence Appearing Relevant

Estimated Reading Time: 6 Minutes

How can we look at fear as Factual Evidence Appearing Relevant and why do we want to do that?

We have spent some time focusing on developing authentic empathy for ourselves and both for and from others. Today, let us shift our focus to fear, what it is and how to start overcoming our fears. Fear can be a debilitating emotion. There is one acronym for fear that says it is False Evidence Appearing Real. I invite you to look at it a bit differently. I invite you to consider another acronym that, since I discovered it, has served me well.

What if fear is Factual Evidence Appearing Relevant? How would that change how you handle fear? How would that change how you viewed fear? How would that change how you reacted to fear? How would that change how you felt about fear?

One battle with fear I had was over creating videos. Years ago, when I first got into the personal growth industry, I knew videos would be a key part of my business. At the beginning, it was a struggle to get started. In fact, I waited almost a year before creating my first video. Until last year, whenever I would think about how I struggled to record videos, I always attributed my struggles to fears of past experiences. Unfortunately, no matter how hard I tried, I could not pinpoint the exact experiences causing my fears. I was even more confused because I love to be in front of an audience and on stage. I kept digging deeper and deeper looking for any false evidence I could find. When I could not find any evidence from my past experiences that I would consider false, I started to wonder if I was looking for the wrong thing.

Since my previous experiences happened, what if my current fear was based on something factual rather than something false? If that were true, and my fear was based on something factual then it was already real. I then asked myself the key question. Is this previous experience relevant? That was the lightbulb moment. In that moment I realized two things. First, that my fears were Factual Evidence Appearing Relevant. Second, since they only appeared relevant, I was now empowered to figure out and decide if they were, in fact, relevant or not. Deciding if something is relevant is a much safer decision to make than deciding if something is real. Why? Because admitting something is not real hits closer to the core of us as human beings. Think about it for yourself. How do you feel when you question if something is real or fake?

Using this definition of fear, I identified the experiences from my past that were stopping me from creating videos at the beginning. Growing up, I was bullied. Sometimes I was made fun of for how I looked. Sometimes I was made fun of for what I wore. Sometimes I was made fun of for what I did. This last one is the one that struck a chord with me. When I was made fun of for what I did, it would go away in a few days because people would forget what I did. Fast forward to when I started creating videos. If I did something on video and someone made fun of me for it, the video would be on the internet forever (even if I deleted it).

In that moment, I realized that the factual evidence of me being bullied for things I did appeared relevant to me creating videos today. This was because the videos would be around forever. This realization empowered me to make a choice; find a way to create videos that I was proud of, not care what people thought, or not create videos. The decision I made was to find a way to make videos I was proud of. Are all the videos perfect – nope. Do I get criticism on some of them – yep. Does it bother me – depends on what the criticism is and sometimes who it comes from. Have the imperfections, criticisms, and trolls stopped me from creating videos – nope.

As we work through our fears, things from our past play a big role. Everyone has something that has happened in their past that has negatively affected them. Sometimes, it is something you go through. Sometimes, it is someone you have had to deal with. Sometimes, it is a dream you have had. Whatever it is, your brain is linking it to what you see today and making you believe it is the same exact situation.

The next time fear crops up in your life, I invite you to pause and look back on your past experiences. See if you can determine when you were in a similar situation. Once you make that determination, ask yourself if the previous situation is relevant to what you are experiencing right now. If it does, then let fear guide you to protect you from getting in trouble, from getting hurt, from getting burnt again, like the old hand on the stove analogy.

If you look back and determine that there are differences between your past experiences and what you are going through today, I invite you to push fear aside, step into your greatness, step into your power and step forward and take a chance again.

Fear is Factual Evidence Appearing Relevant

How this applies to authentic empathy

When it comes to authentic empathy and fear, many times, when somebody understands you but cannot experience authentic empathy for you, it is their fear reaction kicking in. It is either their fear of condoning what you are doing and pushing you to do it more, or their fear of mirroring what you are doing and doing it themselves. This happens even in people we see as being strong. In fact, if someone is a strong person now, and they overcame the same fear you are experiencing, they are more prone to struggle when trying to experience authentic empathy. Why? Because they are subconsciously afraid of going back to who they were. (I agree with you. This one is a tough one. Usually, when someone experiences something, they have a higher level of authentic empathy towards someone experiencing the same thing. Welcome to the world of fear.) This is a great chance for you to practice authentic empathy. Showing authentic empathy for someone when they struggle with fear will help them be experience more authentic empathy for you.

How this applies to WACASHWI

When it comes to WACASHWI and fear, as you move item on to and through your list, you will experience fear. Fear of letting people down by not including something they want you to on the list. Fear of saying you cannot do something. Being afraid that you must do something because someone says you should. Fear of failing after you said you will do something. These fears can all be tied to things that happened in our past. Once we understand the facts of what happened and determine if they are relevant to our journey today, then we can decide how we are going to overcome them.

Your daily invitations…

  • I invite you to think about how you handle fear today.
  • I invite you to consider the last time you had to handle fear and what you could change about it.
  • I invite you to write down your thoughts, feelings, and actions in your journal.
  • I invite you to talk about your experiences with a coach, mentor or therapist depending on what emotions this process brings up.

Final step – how will you implement one thing you learned today in your life?

This all is but one step in your journey to living a more stress-free life, beating the demons of fear, and raising your level of authentic empathy towards yourself and others.

I appreciate you!

 

 

Authentic Empathy and Letting Go Part 2

Estimated Reading Time: 6 Minutes

Knowing when to let someone go when they struggle to experience authentic empathy for you.

How do you know it is time to let someone go when they understand you but do not display authentic empathy for you? How do you personally make that decision? Do you let them go the first time they display a lack of authentic empathy for you? How about the second time they display a lack of authentic empathy for you? Does it take days, weeks, months, or years of them showing a lack of authentic empathy for you for you to let them go? Do you never let them go and accept that understanding is enough? How long do you let it go when somebody says they understand you and cannot experience authentic empathy for you?

I once dated a woman who said she understood me. When we had the ‘downs’ in our relationship, she would make it a point to tell me how much time she spent working to understand me. That made me feel good and special at the time. Someone who is willing to work to understand you is someone willing to put the work in to make a relationship great. What I did not realize until much later was that, while she spent the time trying to understand me, what I really needed was for her to spend time working to experience authentic empathy for me.

One time, I was trying to trim the grass before we left the house for the day. I was using a string trimmer that had just run out of line. If you have ever tried to rewind the line on a string trimmer, you know how frustrating it can be to get it right. To make matters worse, we were under a time crunch and it was the first time I wound string on this spool. This put extra pressure on me to get things done quickly. Also, because the string needed to be wound in a certain direction and there were no markings on the spool, it was challenging to say the least.

When she saw I was having trouble, she suggested I read the manual. In one respect, she made the right suggestion. Reading the manual would have reduced my frustration about the string. Because she understood me, she knew that, if my frustration were reduced, I would be able to take some of the pressure off myself. If we had known about the concept of authentic empathy at the time and shown authentic empathy for each other, the situation would have turned out differently. Either her suggestion would have been different, or my reaction would have been different to her suggestion.

If she had been able to experience authentic empathy for me, she would have known that the frustration I was feeling was coming from a place of fear. Fear that if I could not figure out things like this, she would eventually leave me because that is what other people have done. Fear that my inability to do things would lead to her loving me less. Experiencing authentic empathy for me in that situation would mean saying something more comforting to alleviate my fears.

If I had been able to experience more authentic empathy for her, I would not have been annoyed with her suggesting I read the instructions. I would have known that she felt proud when she could help me. I would have known that she was happy to help me. I would have smiled at her and thanked her for pointing out that we still had the manual. I would have expressed myself better and told her I was worried about the time. I would have opened the manual, read the instructions, and got the job done quicker.

Over time, the lack of authentic empathy in situations like this led to misunderstandings. These misunderstandings led to frustrations. These frustrations led to arguments. These arguments chipped away at our relationship and our connection. The intermittent lack of authentic empathy turned our understanding of each other into misunderstanding. To our credit (or some may say detriment), we kept trying and kept working at understanding each other until we came to the realization that we were better off letting each other go. The reason we focused on understanding and not authentic empathy is because, at the time, we did not realize it was the intermittent lack of authentic empathy that frustrated us.

Feeling misunderstood by someone, especially someone you love, is a terrible feeling. Feeling that someone you love understands you and does not or cannot experience authentic empathy for you is even worse. This is because authentic empathy goes deeper than understanding. The stress and negative emotions that crop up when someone feels that they understand you and you feel they are not showing you authentic empathy, can signal an end to a friendship or a relationship. When a person’s lack of authentic empathy starts to negatively affect you mentally and you cannot push through it, then I invite you to consider that it is time to let that person go.

One’s ultimate desire is for people to experience authentic empathy for us.

How this applies to fear

When it comes to fear and letting someone go who struggles to show us authentic empathy, many of us fear that we will regret letting the person go. We make excuses for keeping them in our lives. To work through this fear, we need to realize the truth in the old saying; when one door closes another one opens. As we move on from the people who negatively affect us, we open our hearts and lives and make room for the people who will positively impact us.

How this applies to WACASHWI

When it comes to WACASHWI and letting someone go who struggles to show you authentic empathy, the people you keep in your life will influence you along your journey. If you keep people who struggle to experience authentic empathy for you, they will have a negative influence on your journey. You will spend time getting them to experience authentic empathy for you that you could be spending pushing your journey forward. I invite you to work to understand when your efforts to get someone to experience authentic empathy for you are a net-positive in your life and when they are a net-negative. For the times when people are a net-positive in your life, work to help them experience authentic empathy for you. For the times when people are a net-negative in your life, I invite you to consider lovingly letting them go.

Your daily invitations…

  • I invite you to think about someone in your life that you do not feel experiences authentic empathy for you.
  • I invite you to consider what you can do to make things better.
  • I invite you to write down your thoughts, feelings, and actions in your journal.
  • I invite you to talk to the person you are thinking about and discuss how you are feeling and see what can be done.

Final step – how will you implement one thing you learned today in your life?

This all is but one step in your journey to living a more stress-free life, beating the demons of fear, and raising your level of authentic empathy towards yourself and others.

I appreciate you!

Authentic Empathy and Letting Go – Part 1

Estimated Reading Time: 6 Minutes

Knowing when to let someone go even when you experience authentic empathy for them.

Do you feel that that once you experience authentic empathy for someone you will keep them in your life forever? How do you know it is time to let someone go? Does this change when you believe you understand them and experience authentic empathy for them? Do you believe that letting people’s words or actions negatively affect you, shows a lack of authentic empathy on your part?

I was dating someone once who I knew at a deep and intimate level. I knew she was a good person in her heart and soul. I felt and believed I understood her. During our relationship, she said and did some things that made me feel uncomfortable. It was never anything physical and most of the things would be considered small in nature. Any time something would happen, she would have a good reason why it happened. Each time, I would end up believing she was coming from a good place. One time, we were talking about sneakers. Eventually, the conversation got to the old Sketchers sneakers that had the rounded bottom on them.

As we started to talk about them, she started to laugh at how they looked. As she continued to laugh, I could feel my facial expression changing into one of displeasure. She noticed that and said, “Oh honey. You did not own a pair of those sneakers. Did you?” The truth was that, at the time we met, I owned two pair. I wore them most places because I liked the thicker sole and how I felt after walking. I never wore them around her because I knew that some people thought they looked funny. When we first got together, I did not want to let something as unimportant as the sneakers ruin things.

When I said I had owned two pairs, the discussion went from how funny they looked to why I never wore them around her. She could tell it upset me that she found the sneakers funny. Throughout the rest of the conversation, she focused on one of two things. One was that she believed I must have felt they looked funny too because I never wore them around her. Her other focus was that she believed that I was not as comfortable as I said I was about them. For my part, I focused on how her making fun of the way the sneakers looked made me feel.

As the conversation ended, while I understood why she made fun of the sneakers, I lacked authentic empathy for her when it came to why she got so upset during the conversation. As I continued to think about the conversation, I realized why she got so upset. If I was too afraid to wear a pair of funny sneakers around her, what else was I too afraid to be open to her about. (Spoiler alert: nothing. As a side note, I had not come to appreciate the power of authentic empathy yet. This is one of those instances that led me to discovering the concept.)

Over the course of our relationships, these situations would happen every now and then. While most were not that bad on their own, the cumulative effect they had on me took its toll. This continued to happen even after I discovered how to experience authentic empathy for her. No matter how much I experienced authentic empathy for her, who she was and why some things happened, it did not stop those situations from negatively affecting me.

Before I went thought this experience, I believed that understanding someone was akin to loving them for who they are. As I went through this experience, I came to realize that it was experiencing authentic empathy for someone that equated to loving people for who they are, and I believed that authentic empathy was enough to keep a relationship together. Now I realize that even authentic empathy will not keep someone in your life if the negative effects of them being in your life (on you or them) are too severe.

When we meet people, we start off trying to understand them and have them understand us. Sometimes, understanding is all it takes for people to be in our lives forever. Other times, it takes developing authentic empathy for them. Experiencing authentic empathy for them when they say what they say, do what they do, and are the away they are. In the end, you accept them for who and what they are. You accept that their words and actions come from the right place. You accept them.

Sometimes, acceptance is not enough. Sometimes, you can understand someone, experience authentic empathy for that person and still have that person’s words or action have a negative effect on you. When that happens to you, I invite you to either figure out a way for that person not to have a net-negative effect on your life or to let them go. If things are bad, there is no need for you to be a martyr and keep them in your life.

You can experience authentic empathy for someone, love them for who they are and still let them go.

How this applies to fear

When it comes to fear and letting someone go who negatively affects us that we also experience authentic empathy towards, many of us fear that we will regret letting the person go. We make excuses for keeping them in our lives. To work through this fear, we need to realize the truth in the old saying; when one door closes another one opens. As we move on from the people who negatively affect us, we open our hearts and lives and make room for the people who will positively impact us.

How this applies to WACASHWI

When it comes to WACASHWI and letting someone go who negatively affects us that we also experience authentic empathy towards, the people you keep in your life will influence you along your journey. If you keep people who have a negative impact on you, they will have a negative influence on your journey. I invite you to work to keep people close to you who positively impact your life and your journey.

Your daily invitations…

  • I invite you to think about one person in your life that you empathize with and that adds to your stress level.
  • I invite you to consider why you are experiencing the additional stress.
  • I invite you to write down your thoughts, feelings, and actions in your journal.
  • I invite you to talk to the person you are thinking about to see what can be done about the stress you are experiencing.

Final step – how will you implement one thing you learned today in your life?

This all is but one step in your journey to living a more stress-free life, beating the demons of fear, and raising your level of authentic empathy towards yourself and others.

I appreciate you!