Sunday, May 28, 2000

Fears, Beliefs and Risk

Once I believed I could not write. I know exactly where that came from, my fifth-grade teacher and a college composition instructor. They held such authority that later I discounted any good comments I received about my writing. I came to believe that I would never write for pleasure or work. Then I reached the point last year where I wanted to write this newsletter. Not because I wanted to become a writer, but because I wanted to share my thoughts with you. I went through all kinds of physical trauma trying to get the first newsletter out. I was confronting an old belief with a new desire. What was safe about not achieving my goal? Well, I’d never again have to face criticism about my writing. Fortunately, my want and some good coaching got me to the point where I'm able to stick my neck out and take this risk to share with you. Whew!

What are you afraid of? Many of my clients tell me they want to work less, make more money, have more time for their family, play more, pursue hobbies and passions, build a business, write that book, and take better care of themselves. They tell me that they are not accomplishing these things because they have not learned the right skills. Usually it's about how to better manage time or people. In my case, I believed I didn't have the skill to write. I ask them, “What's safe about not achieving the goal?”

Remember how fearless we were when we were very young? Your beliefs are the combination of people, circumstances and events that have had an effect on your life. What you believe today is often a combination of what you heard from mom, dad, teachers, friends, the media and events in your life. And consciously or unconsciously, your beliefs affect your behavior. So if you want something, but can't seem to attain it, before you decide it's about time, circumstances or learning a new skill, check in with your body and see if there is some stress around what you say you want. If so, then you are probably confronting a belief. That's good! You're in for a change.

When our beliefs get in the way of not going after what we want, we relinquish our power, we become a victim. Acknowledging our own power can be a risk. But without risk, growth just does not occur, as we have no opportunity to shatter old beliefs. To step outside of a belief is to take a risk. And to take a risk is to change your life. As Julia Cameron writes in her book, The Artist's Way, “We have all heard that the unexamined life is not worth living, but consider too that the unlived life is not worth examining.”

“All fear that exists is really a fear of change.” ~Deepak Chopra

“Living is a form of not being sure, not knowing what next or how. The moment you know how, you begin to die a little.” ~Agnes De Mille

“We cannot escape fear. We can only transform it into a companion that accompanies us on all our exciting adventures. . . . Take a risk a day—one small or bold stroke that will make you feel great once you have done it.” ~Susan Jeffers

“Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss it you will land among the stars.” ~Les Brown

Take one old belief and then put yourself in a creative activity outside of your self-image. Make it playful and allow yourself to be imperfect. Start small. Combine it with something you are good at.