This article is designed to help all those who have a dream, but fear is holding them back. Maybe fear is preventing you from making the necessary decisions and taking the necessary action to make your dream a reality?
Firstly, a bit about me (John)! My dream is to help influence the health and wellbeing of the planet by opening up multiple retreat centres around the world. Does that scare me a little? Yes!
I was shy as a child and suffered from low self-esteem. I put a lot of emphasis on what others thought of me and suffered from anxiety in social situations. However, I had a desire to make a difference. I did well at school and grew my confidence through academic achievement. I loved understanding the world around me and worked hard and eventually qualified and worked as an actuary for one of the biggest consultancies in the world. However, up until my late 30s, fear and anxiety were a constant companion and this blurred what I thought I was capable of. I was “lucky” because in my early 30s I found some great information on how to face my fears. I was able to manage and transform my fear. This led to me eventually quitting my job and following my new dream of developing a programme of activities and workshops, and delivering retreat centres around the world.
I would not have been able to quit my job and follow my dreams without finding some amazing information about how to overcome my fears. In this article I share some of this information – giving you some tips to overcoming your fears, to live a life of your dreams.
Tip 1: Start the search
Many people who are unhappy/anxious want other people or circumstances in their life to change without putting themselves on the change list. My life didn’t really change until I changed. Real change comes from searching in places that are different. The more you search, the more you will find. Finding is reserved for those who search (and those who read great books!). The process of searching helped me to slowly reduce my levels of fear and anxiety. I found out that life was in fact a big adventure to embrace. The seed of my dream was sown.
Start your search and trust me, you will be amazed what you will find.
Tip 2: Do the work! Facing your fears is the hardest kind of work you can do.
I have a strong fear of heights. One day (as part of a personal development seminar) I was told to climb up a telegraph pole and jump off the top (okay I had gear on that would break my fall). This was one of the hardest things I have ever done (I was shaking and swearing all of the way up!). However, I was emotionally supported by others in the team and conquered a little part of myself.
Putting effort into facing your fears can seem overwhelming, but many people are overly controlled by their fears. When you know you can conquer your fears, you know you can make your dreams a reality.
Tip 3: Take charge of your mind
We have thousands of thoughts every day and they are quietly shaping our life experiences. They shape the actions we take and they shape our body’s physiology too (e.g. via hormones). In other words, your thoughts create your reality. If you feel anxious when you think about following your dreams, your thoughts are unlikely to be supporting you.
One effective way of taking charge of your mind is using affirmations. This is the approach I used to get to the top of the telegraph pole! Take notice of your body’s physiology and your emotional state, when thinking about your dream you repeat to yourself “I can do it!”
I would recommend having go-to affirmations when you start to feel anxious. For example, one of my go-to affirmations is “I love you”. It calms me down and helps keep me focused and present.
Affirmations should be stated in the present tense and be focused towards what you want. Here are some more recommendations for affirmations for those with some big dreams: “I am powerful”, “I love my life”, “I am a leader”.
Tip 4: Beliefs are self-fulfilling
Our thoughts and actions are shaped by our beliefs. If we don’t believe that something will work, and/or we believe that the downsides outweigh the upsides, we won’t attempt it.
If we also have a belief that we are “not good enough”, it’s likely that we will act as though we are “not good enough”, making the belief appear to be true. But are our beliefs true? Of course not. However, it’s important to understand that many people state their beliefs as facts, and their thoughts and actions reinforce their beliefs. The stronger the belief the more likely we are to act as though it is true.
You can have beliefs that support you (e.g. “I am a quick learner”) and beliefs that hold you back (e.g. “I am not worthy”). Your beliefs are supported by evidence you have accumulated throughout your life. The good news is that if we realise that our beliefs are not facts, they can be changed.
In our retreat workshop “Living life with confidence” we explain how we can consciously change our beliefs. Affirmations (explained above) are a great first step.
Tip 5: You don’t know what you don’t know
When you think that you have everything sorted in your life and things are just perfect, have you noticed that an unexpected problem appears? I can think of a few times this has happened to me. When our “conscious” mind sees everything perfect, it might be that we have missed something. Life wants us to grow, and you can’t have growth without challenges.
There are things you “know you don’t know” in life, like how to run 100 metres under 10 seconds, or how to build a house on the moon. However, in my experience, it is the things that we “don’t know we don’t know” (unconscious) that catch us out. As the power and capacity of the unconscious mind far outweighs the conscious mind, it’s likely that what we “don’t know we don’t know” (unconscious) far outweighs what we “know we don’t know” (conscious).
Most people who are facing their fears are trying to “accept yourself as you are”. However, if you don’t know who you are (or are unaware of all of your “self”) this attempt to accept yourself is at best confusing. In my search, I discovered that most people are trying to become someone they are not, and hold an image of themselves that is incomplete.
To truly accept yourself as you are, and dissolve your self-confidence issues, you need to be able to accept all of yourself (even the bits you hate). This involves two steps: First discover your whole “self” (including the bits we are unaware of, or have been trying to reject) and second learn to accept all of your “self”. All parts of ourselves are needed in the pursuit of our dreams.
Tip 6: You get what you deserve, not what you need
Finally, have you seen that many people around the world in cycles of need. They regularly need food, clothing, validation, encouragement…and whatever it is, their “need” doesn’t get fully satisfied. My philosophy in life is that instead of getting what you need, you get what you deserve.
You deserve all these things when you have worked hard, taken a few risks and grown because of it. Those who go through personal growth in any area of life (health, business, career, family/friends, finances, wellbeing) are those who get rewarded.
Conclusion: live a life of your dreams
The most precious work you can do to overcome any fear and anxiety is to do work on yourself. At the retreat we encourage those who want it, to explore the personal philosophy for their life. We encourage you to find validation in your purpose, find the authentic you and live life with confidence.
If you work hard to take charge of your mind and open up to all that life has to offer, I guarantee that you will be able to conquer your fear and anxiety. However, don’t rely on anyone else at the start to motivate you as it is you in your heart that must start the search.
If you are interested in significant life change and following your inspiration, then a Life Makeover Retreat at La Crisalida is here for you. Thousands of people have attended our life makeover retreats – many of whom have a dream. Our workshops, complemented by transformational coaching at the retreat will help you to face your fears and kick start turning their dreams into reality.
About the author
- John is one of the founders of La Crisalida Retreats. He is a life and success coach, Transformational Coach and a master trainer in NLP. He leads our life makeover programme as well as overseeing the retreats.
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