A word from our coaches
7 steps to take on your biggest dream
Fear is an emotion that often gets a bad rap. The truth is that without it, sabre tooth tigers would have eaten our forebears back in cave dwelling days. While we no longer face daily threats to our physical survival, the culture we live in thrives on fearmongering and making us feel as though we do. So the challenge we is to discern between the fears that are serving us and those that are holding us back.
That takes courage.
Of course being courageous isn’t about pretending that bad things don’t happen or that real risks are all in our head. It is about choosing to lay our vulnerability on the line for something greater than our pride and risking failure and rejection in order to create more honest and meaningful lives.
It begins by getting clear about what it is that you most want – in your work or business, relationships and life – and then identifying fear may be inadvertently be holding you back from having it. Here are seven steps to get you started.
1. KNOW WHAT YOU WANT (AND WHAT YOU DON’T)
If there is an area(s) of your life in which you feel a clear level of dissatisfaction or unhappiness? If that is the case, then that’s the key place to focus first. What would you need to do to change in those areas of your life, to have them be the way you wanted them to be? Don’t get stuck on the external stuff here like “I want a top job, a big house, a hot car and cute babe/bloke by my side.”
Rather focus on the feeling that you think these things would give you, i.e., “I want a job that is both challenging & rewarding. I want a relationship with a confident and honest person whose conversations are stimulating and company fun. I want to live in a home that is great for having friends over…” Get the drill?
Too many people live life on autopilot rather than setting their compass on a big bold vision that lights them up. As I wrote in my latest book Make Your Mark, unless you get clear about what you want – in your career, relationships, health & wellbeing, and life – you’ll have little chance of actually getting it!
ACTION: Write down a specific goal you would like to achieve in the next 6-12 months. If you want to use a different time frame, go right ahead! All that matters is that your goal inspires you. Then describe how you will feel on the day you achieve it. Picture yourself on that day. Where will you be? Who will you be with? What emotions will be very present? What negative emotions will be absent?
2. IDENTIFY YOUR DEEPEST FEAR
Fear is not a ‘bad’ thing. Far from it! Rather it’s a question of whether or not your fears are serving you (protecting you from REAL threats to your wellbeing) or if they are holding you back keeping you stuck, tip-toeing through life and living, as Thoreau called, a “quiet life of desperation.” So what is it that you are afraid might happen if you begin taking action in the direction of your goals and dreams? That you will be humiliated, that you’ll go broke, be rejected or ‘found out’ as inadequate? Whatever your fear, own it. Unless you own your fears, they will own you.
ACTION: Write down what you are afraid might happen if you take action toward your goal.
3. BE HONEST ABOUT THE COST OF INACTION.
Don’t kid yourself, inaction and choosing to do nothing, is costly. Research has identified a psychological phenomenon whereby we human beings tend toward discounting the cost of our choices, even when it’s obvious they are not benefiting us. The reason why? Reality ain’t pretty. The result? We kid ourselves; everything’s hunky dory when really, it’s anything but, and all the while life sails along in a direction that’s taking us far from the life we’d truly love to live. The very act of acknowledging that we are stuck or unhappy is an act of courage all its own, but getting present to the steep price you are paying for letting fear and doubt run your life (or even part of it!) is crucial to re-creating it the way you want it to be. Only once you have done so can you find the guts to put your fears in their rightful place and be able to rise above them and into action toward whatever tugs at your heart.
ACTION: Write down how you will feel about yourself, your career and your life a year from now if you do nothing and continue with the status quo. Get present to the cost of playing safe and staying where you are, remembering that if nothing changes, nothing changes!
4. BREAK YOUR BIG VISION INTO BITE SIDE STEPS
Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just the first step.” And so when it comes to doing something that leaves a wide, cavernous gap between where you are now and where you ultimately want to be, don’t think that you need to know how to bridge it before you take the first step forward.
What matters most is knowing the direction you want to head, even if you aren’t clear on a particular end-point destination (I sure wasn’t at eighteen!) Once you know the direction, then think about what you would like to be doing 12 months from now that would be moving you toward it. Then think about what you’d be doing six months from now. Then two months from now. Then two weeks from now. Then tomorrow. Then today.
ACTION: Write down ten things you can do in the next seven days to move you into action! Repeat weekly!
5. CREATE ACCOUNTABILITY
Enlist a support team, hire a coach, recruit an accountability partner or join a group of like-minded people. Just make sure you have people around you who are committed to yourself and willing to get on your case if you start to veer off the rails and slip back into your old excuse-laden procrastinating M.O.
ACTION: Ask at least one person to hold you to account for the ten things you wrote down above and set up a weekly call-in with them to keep you on track.
6. WEED YOUR GARDEN
The people you surround yourself with have a huge impact on how you see yourself, your challenges and the world. If you want to live a bigger life, you need to surround yourself with people who ‘think big’ and who will encourage you to do the same. Accordingly, you also want to avoid any people in your life who may discourage your actions and step on your dreams. While they are really just afraid that you will leave them behind, in the early days as you start out, you should need to weed out those people from your life who only fuel your self-doubt.
ACTION: Research networks, associations and communities of like-minded people whom you could join for education, collaboration, encouragement. Come to my Live Brave Day in May, and you’ll meet lots of them!
7. EXIT YOUR COMFORT ZONE DAILY
Creating change is like getting a 747 off the ground… it takes consumes a lot of energy up front to build the forward momentum to get you airborne. Expecting its gong to be easy from the get-go will set you up for disappointment. Instead of expecting to see immediate results, focus instead on the fact that you are simply in action and every day, do one thing that takes you out of your comfort zone and moving in the direction that inspires you.
Achieving anything worthwhile takes both courage and sheer hard work. But as you start taking action, you will discover that not only are you capable of more than you thought you were, but you will discover whole new realms of possibility open for you.
It begins with a single act of courage. Followed by another. Then another.
Every significant endeavour that has ever happened throughout history has been the accumulation of thousands of smaller braver steps.
ACTION: Do whatever you need to stay in action. If you need extra support, sign up for my ten days Train The Brave Challenge.
Margie Warrell is a bestselling author and speaker who loves supporting women to live their biggest lives.
Join her at one of her Live Brave Days this May Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne. In the meanwhile, get your hands on her latest book Make Your Mark: A Guidebook for the Brave Hearted.