When I was 5 years old I was convinced there was a dragon living under my bed. To protect myself, I coerced my way into sleeping on the sofa in the living room (much to the chagrin of my parents!) After a few nights of heated coaxing, I mustered the courage to look under the bed and face my dragon. Armed with a plastic knife, catcher’s mask and baseball bat I peered under my bed expecting to do battle with my dragon. To my surprise (and relief) all I found was a few dust balls and ironically, an old Puff The Magic Dragon sing along book from nursery school (not the fiercest dragon in the world!
Perhaps the greatest obstacle in the quest to take inspired action is fear. Fear in this context is fueled by beliefs. “What if I fail?” “What if I succeed?” “What will I have to give up__” “What will people think?” “I’ve never been able to stick with it in the past” “I’m not athletic” “I’m lazy and unmotivated” “I don’t have what it takes” “I don’t deserve it” “I don’t have time” “It’s always been this way.” etc.
Beliefs are rooted in the past. We base our beliefs on past “evidence” and use this evidence to make decisions based on what we believe will happen in the future. The challenge is we can unintentionally hold our ability to take inspired action hostage by not embracing the unlimited possibility of the present moment.
Breaking through fear and self-limiting beliefs is similar to a 5 year old looking under the bed and facing his/her dragon. Chances are the dragon is not real and you discover you’re more powerful and magnificent then you thought you were!
Here are a few suggestions for taking inspired action in spite of fear/ self- limiting beliefs:
1) Stand Up to Your Fears/Self-Limiting beliefs:
Standing up to fear/self-limiting beliefs is like standing up to a schoolyard bully. You must look the fear in the eyes and say, “I will not be controlled by you any more!” Notice how fears/self-limiting beliefs cower in the presence of your authentic self.
2) Challenge Your Fear/ Self- Limiting beliefs With New Evidence:
Nothing challenges self-limiting beliefs and fears more then creating new evidence in the present moment. New evidence supports new empowering beliefs, which over time can dissolve fears/ self-Limiting beliefs.
3) Argue with Your Fear/Self-Limiting Beliefs:
Someone once said F.E.A.R stands for: False Evidence Appearing Real. Make sure you tell the fear, “You are not real” Support your argument your new empowering evidence. Build a case for a new empowered path.
4) Have Courage:
Fear is often not rational. Is this fear real? Is there a way to adapt and adjust? What’s the next baby step? Keep in mind courage is not the absence of fear, but inspired action in spite of fear.
5) Have Faith:
Trust that the way through self-limiting beliefs/fears will present itself. Dwell on why you must breakthrough this self-limiting belief/fear. How would your life be transformed if this belief/fear were no longer true?
6) Get Creative:
I invite you to use the following mantra to spark creative ideas for breaking through limiting beliefs/fears:
I am confident I can / I am_____ (Attribute/Action) Even though I have felt (Self-limiting belief/ fear) in the past.
Take Home Message:
Is there something you’re putting off? A decision you need to make? A conversation you need to have? An action you have wanted to take? Is there a particular self-limiting belief or fear that has been holding an area of your life hostage?
To begin the process of breaking through I invite you to:
Stand up to your fears/self- limiting beliefs
Challenge fears/self- limiting beliefs with new evidence
Argue with fears/self-limiting beliefs
In closing, I invite you to get off your “sofa” and courageously face your “dragon.” It doesn’t have to be perfect. You’ll be amazed at how good it feels. And at the very least, you will be able to sleep a little sounder in your big boy/ big girl bed!
Live Fit and Be Well,
Coach Erik Hajer is an award-winning trainer and author of the Book: Live Fit and Be Well: A Personal Transformation Workbook. In addition to training “for life” Coach Erik is a 13-time marathon and 5-time Ironman triathlon finisher and was named one of the top trainers of 2011 by Boston.com
Erik lives outside of Boston with his wife and two daughters.