Fear Swallowing Your Time? 3 Tactics to Stop It!

Raccoon-fear face

Fear is something you can turn around for yourself!

Yesterday I wrote about how fear and anxiety stop you in your tracks, and offered some ways to turn the tables on this common time thief.

The reality is that fear doesn’t need to rule you. It doesn’t have the right to  chew up another day, another week, or another month of your valuable time.

Indeed, your fear lies entirely within  your control, if you approach it from a base that’s firmly rooted in your personal power – your power to choose.

So here are 3 additional pointers to help you gain and maintain the upper hand on your fear:

Fear – Turn the Tables and Thrive!

TIP:  Lower the stakes, and revitalize your initiative!

Have you ever tried to become mobilized by threatening yourself with dire consequences if you don’t act? Ironically, upping the ante can actually freeze, rather than free, your initiative.

Think of it this way: you might not hesitate to walk within a 12-inch wide path marked by masking tape along a floor. But how long would it take you to start walking a 12-inch wide plank connecting 2 cliffs? The width of your path is the same, but the high stakes in the latter case might paralyze you.

So, if you procrastinate out of fear, listen closely to your self-talk. What do you tell yourself will happen if you don’t succeed at your task? Refuse to throw yourself off balance with catastrophic predictions!

Instead, sketch out a Plan B. Then you know you will land on your feet, regardless. When you feel your balance returning, take your next step. Accomplishing even a tiny portion of the job will help you move forward.

TIP:   Speak truth about power.

Your messages to yourself set the stage for everything you do. Even sneaky thoughts that you barely notice can trip you up.

For example, do you sometimes tell yourself that you “have to” do something even though it’s contrary to your better judgment? If so, you put yourself in a dangerous, lose/lose position.

Think about it.  If you proceed with the task on that basis, you show yourself disloyalty.  You reinforce the feeling that someone else rules your life. According to this distorted view, you may feel like they’re “making you” act against your will.

So acting on this distortion reinforces an image of yourself as a victim, rather than as the powerful free agent you truly are. Meanwhile, your anger at those you empower simmers away, needlessly scalding relationships.

On the other hand, in this no-win situation, if you fail to act, you will be choosing to not follow-through on commitments that you made because you felt you “had to.” When you put off what needs to be done, you make it hard to trust yourself. Others begin to doubt your word, as well.

This is not at all beneficial to you, and only you can untie this knot.  First, align your actions by aligning your thoughts and behaviors with reality. Dignify your plans and know that you can always change “I have to” to “I choose to”.

It’s true, after all, you really ARE choosing, either way! Remind yourself about each and every way you benefit by overcoming your ambivalence.

TIP:  Check your brakes.

Have you heard the expression, “You can’t say yes unless you can say no?” Sacrificing time to fear may signal that you suspect successful and timely completion of a task will bring unwanted consequences.

These patterns often begin way back. Perhaps as a child, you feared the consequences of saying “No” to your parents’ demands. But you observed that dragging your heels provided a way to avoid taking action. Now this stalling tactic has become a cage, hemming you in.

I invite you to seize this opportunity to live bigger by remaining true to your values. Affirm that as an adult, you now have the right to select how to use your growing competence. This assertive skill helps you directly experience your power to live by your deepest beliefs.

I encourage you to give these tips a try. See how they change your perspective and diminish the power of fear in your life.

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