Friday, January 30, 2009

Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway

The is the book I mentioned above. I copied an older book version image because this is what my old copy in hard cover looks like.

Yeah, looks like adding images is easy. :)
Boldness has Genius, Power and Magic in it.

When it comes to doing something new, here is what I have noticed about myself:

If I wait until I feel ready, I never get started.

I seem to be hard-wired to feel fear and trepidation about anything unfamiliar.

Thus, a better strategy, for me at least, is to “feel the fear and do it anyway”. Susan Jeffer’s book by that title addresses this.

One of my clients (an MD psychotherapist) tells me about how he used to be crippled by perfectionism. He gave me a quote that has been a real inspiration for me:

If it is worth doing, it is worth doing badly.

Often we are so afraid of not performing well, of doing something poorly, that we are reluctant to get started; to practice a new skill. I am afraid of ‘not looking good’, even to myself!

What happens when you want to do something but you wait ‘till you feel more ready, better prepared’?

In many cases, you simply procrastinate past the point where taking action will bring you the positive results you were after. When I do that, often the time in between deciding I want to do something, and taking action, is fraught with anxiety. Once I act, the anxiety almost always disappears, even after the very first time. It is replaced with feelings of accomplishment (regardless of the outcome) and relief, and usually, I think to myself, after the fact of the act,

Why did I wait so long?

Usually what I was afraid of was not so scary or hard after all. And, even if I didn’t do it so well the first time, I feel confident, once I have managed to get started, that I will improve.

I have been wanting to get started on maintaining a web log for ages. I have spent all my adult life learning all I can about happiness, success, personal and professional fulfillment. In these pages, I want to explore the myriad of choices we can make, to create the life we want.

Can you improve by rehearsing in your mind? Well, yes, to some extent, but in fact you need some real-life data, some actual feedback from the universe, to improve.

Once you have some experience with your new skill, you can indeed use the incredible power of your mind to rehearse and improve that skill by visualization. World-class athletes do this all the time. But, with no experience, you have nothing to rehearse.

For example if you are single and want to meet new people, can you improve your social skills merely by staying at home rehearsing great pick-up lines? I don’t think so. You will need to get some experience in the field. With commitment to your goal, and taking action towards it, you’ll continue to find out what works and what does not, so you can improve your game.

Attention creates energy. I will pay attention to what I am doing day by day, that takes me in a direction of greater personal happiness and professional success, and I will write about it.

Anything from artisan bread recipes (I am learning to bake bread and am experimenting with creating new recipes) to inspiring books I am reading, to effective thinking techniques that help me to stay on track with my life purpose.

My hope is not only to hopefully inspire you who have found this blog, such that you’ll enthusiastically return often to see what I have to say!

My goal is to inspire myself. Sometimes I find it is easier for me to do things when I do them also for you, so because I want to be a positive example to you, I will do the things myself that help me that I know work for my life.

Exercise is a good example of this for me. If you and I have a swim/ski/pump iron date, no matter how busy I am at work, I would not let you down, but if the work was piled up and I intended to work out alone, I might miss the work-out to ‘catch up’ on work. I’d be mad at myself for that though, because I know how much more productive I am, how much better my body feels, if I exercise strenuously every day.

I need to be accountable to someone outside of myself to be at my best. Thus by having a public diary, so to speak, with the web log, I am making myself accountable to the world, in hope of inspiring myself to greater performance in all areas of my life.