We've all experienced something that makes us terrified to try again.
A horrible relationship that left us so brokenhearted we thought we'd never get out of bed again.
A huge public flop at work, maybe even one that cost us our job.
A failed product or service launch.
Even small things, like posting day after day on your business page to the tune of crickets.
Fear comes in the door in many forms. Guilt. Shame. Embarrassment. Heartbreak. Regret. Self-hatred. (Click to tweet)
They can even linger from childhood experiences that we haven't thought about in years - or that we thought had completely resolved.
After any fear-inducing experience, it's natural to say HELL NO when it's time to get back on the horse. As we accumulate experiences where we felt shame or humiliation, we take them and build them into bricks around us until the view becomes so safe and small that we never have to ever, ever put ourselves on the line again.
Never putting ourselves on the line again is a great plan, except if you're reading this, it's not enough for you.
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Something inside you craves not only putting yourself on the line, but leaping past it, flying over the cliff, and trusting yourself enough to catch a branch on the way down.
You're someone who wants to make an impact on the world. You want to lead your organization; start your business; be part of a community that's making a difference.
So how do you get past the guilt, shame, and humiliation from past failures so you can get back on the proverbial horse and ride off into the sunset of success?
1) Find the source. Notice the things you are resisting and avoiding. Use my Freedom Tracker to spend 5 days observing the things that trigger guilt, shame, humiliation, fear, dread, sadness, and heartbreak. Noticing patterns where these emotions show up will help you locate the original source of fear.
2) Honor the shadow side that fear represents. We often try to either stuff fear down and power past it, or ignore it until we can't anymore and totally sabotage ourselves. No one prefers to feel what are considered "negative" emotions. But what we rarely do is honor this piece of ourselves - the fearful, timid side that is afraid to hop back into the arena.
3) Coddle your inner child. While thinking about Doing the Scary Thing, and while thinking about The Thing That Scared You So Bad In The First Place, imagine yourself holding yourself as a child. You can physically wrap your own arms around yourself and pat your back (I do this, all the time. It is weird looking. It works wonders). Talk to yourself soothingly - like you would ANY child who has fallen off the monkey bars. "It's ok, honey. It was just one fall. Next time you'll be stronger. Sometimes it takes a few tries to get it right."
4) Forgive yourself. So, you made an ass of yourself. So, you got fired. Lost the love of your life. Walked out of the bathroom with toilet paper on your shoe. Said the wrong thing, 15 times, then puked on the CEO's shoes. Made exactly negative $500 launching a service that flopped. Your inner critic is having a field day on you! It's all "I told you so, I told you so, I told you that you suuuuuuck" and "Nanny nanny boo boo".
5) Take the long view, not the short view. Yes, horrifying things are terrible in the moment. But the more you raise your vibe, the more you realize they actually aren't. Most people can shift enough to say, "Well, everything happens for a reason". That view still considers the negative thing a bad thing. I'm asking you to consider it an experience that makes life worth living. In the long view of life, there are no good or bad experiences - the point of life is to have the experiences. Congratulations, you're a more full-bodied bottle of wine, thanks to that crappy thing that happened.
6) Do a smaller version of the bigger thing. You want to get back up in front of the board and give the talk? You want to go back into the world of online dating? You want to launch a new service or product? What's one, small, confidence-building, inspired step you can take towards that thing? Don't bite off the whole enchilada until you're more confident that the "YOU SUCK" demons aren't going to come back and sabotage your efforts.
7) Find support. Who are the most loving, unconditional people you know? Enlist them to coddle you where you aren't coddling yourself. Enlist them to support you, promote you, hear your talk, give you a pep talk, dress you for your date... wherever you need the love, place them there to give it to you until you can give it to yourself.
Building the muscles you need to tackle The Scary Thing, slowly but consistently, will bring you to the point where you can once again feel resilient in the face of fear - no matter how many times you've fallen off the mechanical bull.
The bruises - the scars - the mental punching bag you've subject yourself to up until now - they're evidence that you've lived. (Click to tweet). The breaks, the tears, the rips in the fabric of your tapestry - these are the barometers of your willingness to throw your body out into the wild winds of life and cry:
"I SOUND MY BARBARIC YAWP FROM THE ROOFS OF THE WORLD!" ~WALT WHITMAN, SONG OF MYSELF
IF YOU'RE INSPIRED TO GET BACK IN THE ARENA, RESERVE YOUR PLACE IN THE NOV 2016 FREE AND FEARLESS LEADERS PROGRAM.
Free and Fearless Leaders is for people who want to make a huge impact on the world - and is based on the principal that you lead from ANY position. Listen, the daily grind of working for a greater good can make you feel like you're always putting out fires, barking at your kids, and chasing your tail. It's time to collect your scars and bruises, suit up your armor, and find your tribe of supportive, loving, cheerleading fellow humans. In 30 Days, we will go intensely deep into discovering, healing, and moving through the places of shame, heartbreak, and fear that have kept you from making the impact you long to make in this world. Get on the wait list now to reserve your place AND receive the very-early-bird celebration rate - this is the first time I've done this work in a group, and I'm so, so so excited (and SCARED!)