How Can Your Fear Be Your Biggest Ally

By |2018-09-19T08:03:05+00:00September 18th, 2018|Anxiety|

7 a.m. and the alarm rang. It woke me up from a dream.

In my dream, I was giving a speech to a thousand people. I didn’t really remember the topic. Must have been something with self-development. Even though I don’t remember the content, I remember the feeling of being completely fired up, the energy was flowing from me to my audience. The audience was mesmerized, and I could see on their faces that they had their AHA moments. I was happy.

Happy in a big way, if you know what I mean.

I woke up from the bed and went to make a coffee for myself.

What a stupid dream, I thought to myself. It’s not who I am.

It was three months since I didn’t leave the apartment, a small studio I shared with my husband.
No, to be honest. I did leave it. To go shopping grocery. Yet, I was not able to do it on my own. Three times a week I waited for my husband to come home from work and we went shopping together. Apart from him, I avoided all communication with other people.

I identified with my fear of social connection to a huge extent. I thought I am just not that kind of person who is making friends with everybody. I like to be alone. I need space.

Why I dream about giving speeches? I don’t know it’s just a dream.

Often, and without realizing it, we identify with our fears as something being natural to us. We say: I don’t like talking to new people, it’s just who I am. I don’t like traveling it’s just who I am.

However, when we look at it from a flip side, fear is feeding our self-limiting beliefs.

When working with clients, I can see that the more the person identifies with his fear the bigger the fear is and consequently, the limiting belief grows as well.

Giving in to fear can not only prevent us from living our lives to the fullest, but it can even ruin our lives.
And, if you give in to your fear, how do you know it won’t grow into something bigger? How do you know you won’t pick up other fears?

Fear as an Enemy

Imagine, there are people in the world who are scared to leave their houses (Agoraphobia).
There are people scared of falling asleep (Somniphobia).
There are people scared of having their phones without cover (Nomophobia).
There are people scared of small holes (Trypophobia).
There are people scared of rain (Ombrophobia), color yellow (Xanthophobia), trees (Hylophobia), cheese (Turophobia) or clowns (Coulrophobia).

So many fears and I didn’t even mention spiders (Arachnophobia). 🙂

Those might sound like strange fears to you and you might not suffer from them, but can you say the same about the more common fears?

  • fear of failure
  • fear of success
  • fear of not being loved
  • fear of not being enough
  • fear of being judged
  • fear of not being worthy of success
  • fear of rejection
  • fear of trusting people
  • fear of having a lot of money
  • fear of being not understood
  • fear of other people to hold you back
    …and many other

By now, you might find yourself in some of these fears. However, don’t blame yourself for having them. Yes, they do block you and might prevent your success but it’s not your fault you have them. Some of them reflect your childhood, some of them reflect the society rules, some of them were created on the basis of negative past experience.

We usually don’t call them fears rather limiting beliefs. Yet, they are much more common than the previous ones and most people suffer from more than one or two of these limiting beliefs.

When you give in to your fears it affects your life negatively:

  • you self-sabotage your success
  • you make excuses
  • you think negatively
  • you develop different kinds of habits that are not helping you
  • you procrastinate
  • you hide behind perfectionism
  • you worry too much

So what can we do about our fears?

Fear as an Ally

Think of fear as a tool for your development. There are two kinds of situations when you can be fearful:

A. when you are in danger and in that case you should run away from the danger
B. when you are doing something new, unknown or non-habitual

Let’s talk solely about option B. What does fear do for you in this case? It shows you the edges of your comfort zone. Where your comfort zone ends, your growth begins. However, the typical reaction is to run away in this situation as well. Why? Because the brain is designed to protect us and make us survive. It doesn’t care about the comfort zone. Our society developed faster than the brain. For the brain, it is a danger or not a danger and nothing between.

It is your role to distinguish whether it is a danger or a potential for growth. If you can do that your next step is to embrace that fear.

Welcome it and acknowledge it – Welcome fear, thank you for letting me know this is the edge of my comfort zone.

And do it anyway. It is OK I am fearful. And even though I am fearful I will do it anyway, because it will bring me benefits.

Basically, fear is very helpful in both cases. When in danger, it will trigger you to run away. When at the edge of your comfort zone it will trigger you to grow.

It’s your choice how you will react to the fear. Will you run away or will you grow?

5 Steps to Silence the Critical Inner Voice

By |2018-09-13T13:08:51+00:00September 13th, 2018|Destructive Influences|

We all have our critical inner voices. To prove that, let me ask you a question.

Have you ever been scared of being not enough?

Eight thousand hands flew to air.

Including mine.

I was attending the Unleash the Power Within and this was just one of my aha moments.

I have always been very self-critical. Constantly feeling lame, not good enough, not worthy, not skinny enough, not smart enough, not strong enough.
Simply put. Not enough.

And I thought it’s just me, and it’s me being realistic when I criticized myself for that.

However, here, in the room with 8 000 other people, I realized it’s not just me. Everybody feels not being enough.

But they are enough. It can’t be true that 8 000 people are not enough. At least some of them must be smart enough, strong enough, skinny enough. They just don’t feel that way.

What if I am enough as well?

That day I realized that self-criticism is just slowing down my progress. I would be much more successful if I don’t beat myself up for everything I do since I wake up till I go to sleep.

I might do some things wrong but I might do some good things along the way as well. So why not give them equal value?

Or, can I go even further? Why not give bigger value to the good stuff and only a little value to the bad stuff?

Wouldn’t life be so much better for me and people around me?

The question is how to do it. If you feel my pain and you could handle some tips on how to stop self-criticizing yourself read on.

1. Find Out Why You Criticize Yourself

There is always a reason why you do what you do. Maybe you had a strict parent who was never satisfied and you get used to criticizing yourself as well. Or you are very ambitious and perfectionist and you naturally expect more of you even when delivering great results.

2. Confront Those Critical Inner Voices

OK. So the little voices are telling you that you are not enough? Challenge them. What is the evidence that you are not enough? Can you look at it from a different angle and find the reasons why are you enough?

3. Surround Yourself with Positive and Supportive People

If you are a negativist criticizing yourself every day, you might tend to surround yourself with people who think alike. This is not helping your good mood or confidence. As I said a few times, pick up your friends wisely. Surround yourself with positive and supportive people who will teach you how to look at things differently.

4. Listen to Others

Once you have the right people around you, talk to them. Listen to what they have to say. If they are honest people and good friends they might tell you your weaknesses but they might tell you your strengths as well. They definitely don’t think that you are not enough to be their friends so you might as well be enough in other parts of your life. Ask them.

5. Rationalize

There are always two sides of a coin. If your critical inner voice is telling you that you are too sensitive, find the reasons why being sensitive is OK. And find the reasons why being sensitive is not only OK but great. Next time when your critical inner voice will shout at you that you are too sensitive you’ll be like: OH, yeah, and you know what’s good about it? 🙂

And what is your critical inner voice telling you? Do you feel like you are not good enough in some situations?

35 Best Tips on How to Start Being Productive

By |2018-09-04T21:16:04+00:00September 4th, 2018|Work-Life Balance|

My life would be so much better if only a day has 32 hours. I would have 8 extra hours to…

….get enough sleep

….read that book

….get certified

….spend more time with family

….work out

….cook

Do you know the feeling?

The bad news is that we can’t have more hours in a day. The good news is that Oprah Winfrey, Ellen DeGeneres, Richard Branson or Elon Musk have the same number of hours in a day as we do. If they can be doing so much in a day we can do a bit more as well.

The point is to use smarter our time and resources.

35 Tips on How to Start Being Productive:

  1. Check emails only every 2 hours (and not more frequently).
  2. Don’t try to be perfect. Perfection is the enemy of execution.
  3. Sell your TV.
  4. Don’t watch the news.
  5. Talk only to positive and enthusiastic people.
  6. Make a routine. Morning routine. Evening routine. Weekly routine.
  7. Get up early.
  8. Say NO to everything that’s not worth your time.
  9. Work out.
  10. Stop multitasking.
  11. Use the Pareto 80/20 principle.
  12. Use the Pomodoro technique as well.
  13. Finish the task you started before you move to another one.
  14. Revisit your goals regularly.
  15. Eat the frog first.
  16. Manage the time you spend on social media and the Internet.
  17. Chunk tasks into smaller pieces.
  18. Delegate. Don’t do what you don’t have to do.
  19. Batch similar tasks. For example, assign 4 hours every 3 days for replying to emails.
  20. Do the task that takes less than 2 minutes immediately.
  21. Create time records for specific tasks and try to beat them.
  22. Sort tasks by must, should and want.
  23. Eliminate everything that does not have to be done, replied to or seen.
  24. What would make me feel accomplished in the evening? Ask yourself and focus on that task.
  25. Give yourself a reward for completed tasks.
  26. Maintain a power pose.
  27. Laugh. Start in the morning before you leave your house.
  28. Sleep enough.
  29. Silence your phone.
  30. Clean up your workspace.
  31. Work in a pleasant environment.
  32. Write distraction down for later.
  33. Go for a walk.
  34. Meditate
  35. Listen to ambient music.

Stop Being a Control Freak! Here Are 7 Ways How

By |2018-08-20T21:10:14+00:00August 21st, 2018|Anxiety|

Are you a control freak sometimes? I definitely am. I work on it, but there are days when it is not easy for me. Like yesterday.

My boyfriend is ultimately the happiest person I know. He wakes up with a smile on his face 20 minutes before he is supposed to go to work. He sits on our terrace and drinks coffee. He enjoys the morning.

Not me. I know he needs to leave by 7:40 to be at work at 8:00. I came to him at 7:30. Don’t you have to get dressed? You will be late. And please, don’t forget to go to the shop before you go home from work and buy coffee. I will come later today.

Will you? How come?

I’m already getting annoyed. I told you yesterday. I’m going to see a friend.

Oh, really? I forgot. And he smiles.

OMG! I leave the terrace to get dressed so that I’m not late.

7:40 I went to talk to him again. Don’t you really need to go? Like, come on. Go to work.

I haven’t finished my coffee yet.

Just please go to work. You are stressing me out.

7:45 he stood up, came to me and started to talk: I have an idea. We should move our furniture on the terrace…

Come on! I interrupted him. Go to work. You will tell me later. I’m already pissed off and the day didn’t even start yet.

OK. OK. I am going.

He got dressed quickly and left the house.

Love you, he shouts.

From the kitchen window, I saw him getting in the car and starting the engine. I felt relieved. He will be only 10 minutes late. That’s not so bad. I hope the traffic is not bad today. But it’s Monday so it might be. I hope it won’t be too bad.

Then I froze. He forgot his lunch in the fridge.

I grabbed the lunch and ran after the car. He saw me and stoped.

Giving me a wide smile: Oops, I forgot. Thank you. You are awesome.

I gave him the lunch, an angry look and I felt like I want to break up right away. Why can’t he leave the house on time? Why can’t he remember to take his lunch with him?

Why can’t he live his life the way I want him to live it?

Yes, I am a control freak sometimes.

Most people would choose unhappiness over uncertainty.

– Tim Ferriss

Being a control freak means you want to eliminate the uncertainty by trying to control everything. The uncertainty scares you. You believe that if you just can have things under control you will be much better off. You perceive the world as an uncertain place so you want to have at least the small things in your life under control.

But if you take one step back. Can you really control things, people, and situations around you? Is this approach sustainable or is it a sure failure?

Let’s dive even deeper. What emotions are related to failure? Sadness? Frustration? Anxiety? All the negative emotions you can imagine.

All together being a control freak means you have one unhappy life.

But what to do about it?

1. Acceptance

Accept what is going on at a particular moment. Accept that there are only a few things in your life you can have under control. Most of them are directly tight to yourself. However, you can’t control other people for example. All you can do is accept what is going on and relax. By trying to control it, you are making it worse, not better.

Another step is to accept yourself. You don’t have to be that perfect human, because being a human in its own essence means being imperfect. Do what you can. Change what you can. And accept the rest.

2. Rest Is a Recovery

Control freaks usually don’t want to sit down and have some rest. Resting means letting thing to their own faith to them. So why rest, right? Yet you need enough rest to function properly. If you struggle to take some time off, look at your rest as your recovery. While having your time off, your muscles, your nervous system, your brain and your digestive system recover to serve you even better when you are fully running and need them.

3. Take One Step at a Time

A control freak is, in other words, an anxious person. Feeling anxiety makes you feel uncertain and that makes you want to control things. Chunking your project into smaller doable task will make you feel and actually have things under the control and calm down.

4. Challenge Your Thinking

Rather than letting overwhelm win over you when something goes wrong try to calm down and change your thinking using these few questions:
Is my thinking helpful?
Is it fear that is controlling me?
What is the way to solve this without feeling overwhelmed and trying to control things?
What is the worst thing that can happen?

5. Control Your Reactions

You can’t control people around you, the situations, problems or the weather. What you can control is your attitude. The way how you respond to the events in your life. You can control whether you freak out or calm down. So don’t look any further and start controlling your reactions.

6. Name What You Feel

If things are out of your control name what you feel. I feel uncertain. I feel frustrated. I feel angry. This will naturally mitigate that particular negative feeling. Why? Because after you name it you know what you feel. It is not uncertain and you are starting to feel the ground beneath your feet.

7. Avoid Doing Things That Support Your Anxiety

If reading emails in the morning makes you feel restless. Make a rule of not reading emails before 10 am. If blood sugar can cause you mood swings don’t eat sweets. In these cases avoiding stuff that’s not helping you is much easier than dealing with the consequences.

I hope this helps. Let me know how you fight being a control freak.

9 Steps to Gain Inner Strength

By |2018-08-15T10:12:09+00:00August 15th, 2018|Self-Acceptance|

Some days are harder than others. Some days you wish you could gain that extra inner strength you are lacking.

I have those days as well. Last Monday, it was a very hard day at work. People were driving me crazy. Many people weren’t keeping the deadlines and as I relied on their data I became behind the deadline as well. Not my fault. Yet, I hate being behind so I was getting crazy.

After work, I met a friend. I thought I will finally have some rest and will talk a bit about my work troubles and after that, we will have some laugh and I will forget about. However, my friend decided he wants to complain about his horrible boss who doesn’t want to give him a raise. I was trying to pay attention the whole time and suggest some ideas. I thought to myself that I just need to gain some inner strength and carry on.

After an hour and a half my friend said he needs to go home soon, but he still has about 10 minutes and he was talking a lot so I should say what’s new in my life.

In 10 minutes? Like, come on!

I just said I’m fine, nothing new in my life and we went home. I was exhausted already when I got home but then I remembered I wanted to write an article for my website.

I crushed into the bed and nothing would get me out. Even though I knew that writing was probably the most important thing for me that day. But I had no inner strength left.

Because of doing everything for others I ended up doing nothing for myself.

Have you ever made such a huge mistake?

Many times, you say? In that case, you might find useful following steps to not repeat this mistake over and over again.

1. Socialize with the Right People

It’s not a surprise that we are becoming negativists when we hang out with negative people. Negativism itself deplete our inner strength. In order to thrive, it is important you hang out with positive and productive people. People who will recharge your batteries, support you and inspire you.

2. Take Control of Your Body

I have already said this multiple times but there’s no strong soul in a weak body. Your physical and mental strength goes hand in hand. You can’t have one without the other.

3. Make Time for Calming Down

This is a biggie as well. Try yoga. Try meditation. Try running. Try anything that will make you shake off the worries, the bad emotions of the day, the negative thoughts, the fears, the self-doubt. I don’t say meditate if you don’t feel like that’s your thing.  Just try something that will lighten your day.

4. Put Yourself First

It’s much easier said than done. But the rule is simple. Exercise when you need to exercise. Go to sleep when you need some rest. Take a break when you need one. Go out with friends when you feel like it. Stay at home when you want to be alone. Just do it because you want to do it. Not because you have a feeling that you should be doing something. Or because your mum says you should be doing something (which very often the same thing).

5. Find Your Why

If you have been on this site for a while you probably already know that I’m all about finding your why – finding your meaning in life. Finding and doing what you love. That makes life much easier and eliminate the frustration from day to day stereotype. It’s much easier to do something (even if you don’t like it) when you know what is the bigger why behind all this. When you know the goal you want to accomplish.

6. Don’t Let Fear Get in Your Way

Fear can be such a huge enemy of progress. As Tim Ferriss has said – most people would choose unhappiness over uncertainty. Uncertainty is simply the fear of what is coming. Fear can block you and stop you from doing anything. Therefore, it is important to identify and name your fears. Inner strength is not about being fearless. It’s about knowing what your fears are and doing what you want to do despite these fears.

7. Don’t Let Yourself Be in Your Way as Well

Another big enemy of your progress and happiness other than fear is you. The negative self-talk. The self-doubt. Emotional eating habits. Low self-esteem. It’s pulling you away from your desired destination. Take it easy. Don’t do yourself what you wouldn’t do to your best friend. Be yourself a best friend. Think positively and don’t be hard on yourself.

8. Find Motivation

Whether it is a motivational talk watched in the morning. Whether it is a person who you admire. Whether it is a public figure that inspires you. Whether it is your bigger why. Always search for something that motives you. There’s no drive without motivation. There are no results without the drive.

9. Remember the Good

Memorize, save, hang positive sentences about yourself, memories, the things you are proud of. Put on a sticky note and put in on your bathroom window, on your fridge. Set a reminder telling you-you are awesome. Surround yourself with the positive thoughts and send that little voice that is telling you that you are not enough to hell.

I hope this help. Do you remember a situation you felt like you have no inner strength at all? And how did you recharge your batteries?

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