Get Over Fear and Take the First Step

The ability to get over fear and learn to take any first step toward your goal can become a daunting task. When you learn to see that life is a journey and each new task or endeavor we take on are steps of that journey, then you understand that you can never get it all done. This is a good thing. Many times our fears are born from the sheer size of our goals or tasks. They seem so impossibly huge that they scare us right into taking no action whatsoever. How do you get past this state of mind?

There is an old Eastern proverb that says something like this,  “The journey of a thousand miles starts with the first step”.Snip20130830_1

The first rule of thumb is to act upon your inspiration or motivation. As so well defined in “The 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth” by John Maxwell: DO IT NOW is the secret to getting things done and it’s the secret to getting over fear and taking any first step. Learning to take the next logical action helps to break your goal into smaller parts, and when they feel really easy you won’t be scared into doing them. This is the first thing that comes to my mind whenever I need to tackle a large project. Taking action, any action, any one step in the direction of my goal or project is the first step to getting over the fear of the sheer magnitude of the goal. Once you take that first step you are a body in motion. A body in motion tends to stay in motion. Taking the first step will be the most important step you can take. In most cases, when you look back at that first step, you will think it wasn’t that hard after all.

What holds us back

The number one fear of taking any first step is actually taking some action. What you need to do to overcome your fear of taking any first step of action in the process of achieving anything, is to see that any goal or project is a process made up a series of many, many steps. Perhaps even a thousand miles of single steps. (Thus my above quote.) Seeing what you want or need to accomplish as a series of steps, tasks or processes that get you from point A to point Z is a way to shift your perception and illusion that the task you’ve given yourself is too big, too scary and too difficult to master.

When no action taken in the direction of accomplishing a task or project, this means that we feel overwhelmed by the entire process. We think it’s only a one or two step process but in reality, it can be broken down into so many more simple and singular actions.

In order to get over that fear, you’ll need to get a new perspective on the task, action or goal you are trying to achieve. What’s holding you back is your fear that it’s going to take too much of your energy and time. So you keep putting it off. If you can see what you need to do as little, tiny, miniscule steps, instead of a massive action-taking plan, you’ll move yourself out of that anxiety state and onto the road of action.

Another way to get better perspective and get over fear of taking action is to see it through your heart. For example, if cold-calling prospects sends rivets of sweat down your back, learn to get a better perspective by seeing the prospects as individuals, human beings. Instead of lumping them “all” into one basket and seeing them as dollar signs. See each person you call as just that, a person. A person like yourself who might really need your product or service. Be honest and connect with the aspects of the product or service that ring true for you. Perhaps you have just the solution that this perspective buyer needs. Changing this perspective can be the mental action needed to get over fear and make the call.

Do It Now

At some point you will be motivated to act. When motivation and inspiration set in you get over fear more quickly and taking the first step is easier. As you take more actions, more steps on your path towards accomplishment, you’ll find yourself gaining confidence and you’ll take bigger steps later on. What will really help you get over your fear of taking any action is when you do “something” everyday, over a period of time, you’ll be able to look back and see that you’ve actually made progress!

Remember that life is a process, life is a journey. It’s about taking a step here and there. You need not accomplish it all today. You need not get it all done by nightfall. Move away from this modern day illusion that you have to hurry through life. Get over fear by seeing that you can do something to move things forward today, even if it’s really small. The hardest thing is going from inaction to action. It might start with a shift in your thoughts. It might start with taking a small action or it might start with feeling good about yourself and what you can do. Whatever it is, that ‘it’ really is something, a wee bit of energy that will eventually grow and help you conquer your hesitations to get over fear and take any first action.

Leaning Into Gratitude

Lately there has been a lot of talk about “leaning in”. Today I am thinking about gratitude and how we at The Learning Oasis are leaning in to practice gratitude on a daily basis. We are so blessed to work in a positive and supportive environment and are grateful for many things.  I know practicing gratitude feels good, but are there any other benefits to the regular practice of gratitude?

As it turns out there’s a whole host of reasons why we should make gratitude a daily practice — research has shown that being thankful confers a whole host of health benefits, from improved immune systems, to feelings of connectedness, even higher team morale.

Lean Into Gratitude

Lean Into Gratitude

“Without gratitude, life can be lonely, depressing and impoverished,” said Robert Emmons, a psychology professor at the University of California, Davis, . “Gratitude enriches human life. It elevates, energizes, inspires and transforms. People are moved, opened and humbled through expressions of gratitude.”

Is there a formal way to practice  gratitude to gain the most benefit? The word on the street is to keep a gratitude journal. Here are some tips for reaping the greatest psychological rewards from your gratitude journal.

  • Don’t just go through the motions. Research by psychologist Sonja Lyubomirsky and others suggests that journaling is more effective if you first make the conscious decision to become happier and more grateful. Motivation to become happier plays a role in the efficacy of journaling,
  • Go for depth over breadth. Elaborating in detail about a particular thing for which you’re grateful carries more benefits than a superficial list of many things.
  • Get personal. Focusing on people to whom you are grateful has more of an impact than focusing on things for which you are grateful.
  • Try subtraction, not just addition. One effective way of stimulating gratitude is to reflect on what your life would be like without certain blessings, rather than just tallying up all those good things.
  • Savor surprises. Try to record events that were unexpected or surprising, as these tend to elicit stronger levels of gratitude.
  • Don’t overdo it. Writing occasionally (once or twice per week) is more beneficial than daily journaling. In fact, one study by Lyubomirsky and her colleagues found that people who wrote in their gratitude journals once a week for six weeks reported boosts in happiness afterward; people who wrote three times per week didn’t.

I think I’ll take a stab at getting into a gratitude routine. Even if gratefulness has benefits in the short-term, it still raises more long-term questions. What are the major obstacles to living a grateful life? Can gratefulness really increase happiness over a lifetime? Finally, how exactly can gratefulness be increased? I guess those answers will come in time. Forever curious, I guess!

If you are interested in finding out more about the practice of gratitude and how The Learning Oasis audience perceives it, join the discussion on Facebook.

The Lessons Are in Your Story – Women in Leadership Learning Through Storytelling

By Consuelo Meux

Women's Leadership Conference Online

Register Today! Women's Leadership Conference Online

When I decided to study women’s leadership, I needed to interview women leaders. To do this, I had to design a way to determine what gives a woman her unique leadership ability. When I contacted women leaders and asked them about their leadership skills, many couldn’t find a way to identify exactly what it was that gave her the ability to be a leader.

So I decided to take a different approach. I decided to ask the women to tell me their stories. Having the chance to talk about leadership stories was the key to finding the lessons from women leaders.

The lessons were in the story.

One story was about how a woman had decided to lead the fight for quality education in her community. With a group of other parents, she went to the City Hall to talk to the council-person. When the group got there, everyone turned to her to be the spokesperson. That was her moment of becoming a leader.

Another professional woman related how her workplace needed some innovative ideas to market educational products to an adult population. She knew how to work with this target group because she had taught adult education for years in a past job. Her ideas resulted in a significant increase in sales for the company. This led to her being the leader of a new division in her workplace.

Sometimes it is not easy to describe certain behaviors, such as leadership. But when you hear the stories behind the situation or event, you can find the lessons. Finding lessons in stories can provide a way to mentor others. You can share the steps you took, the insights you’ve gained, and the wisdom that you now put into action. Women are great storytellers. Have you thought about how you can use your storytelling ability to share leadership lessons with others? Think of how effective you could be when you learn how to find the lesson in the story.

The first step to take is to actually find your story. Women have a particularly difficult time talking about the things they’ve done and achieved in life. It seems like bragging to say you’ve done something good. But learning to identify those good times do several things.

1. It lets you build your confidence because you see what you’ve accomplished in life.
2. You become bolder to know that you can share what you’ve accomplished to encourage someone else.
3. It makes you want to try something else and you move to higher steps.

After speaking to one woman about their leadership story, she said that actually hearing the words come out of her mouth gave her a new perspective on her life. She felt proud in a positive way. Some pulled out of feeling like their “time had passed” and started getting involved in their community again. What happened was that after doing a great feat, many were worn out but didn’t recognize this as a natural reaction to doing something powerful. Now, by seeing how a leadership event requires a time of healing and rest, these women can empower others to know this truth too.

Take time to find the lessons in your story. Write out what you’ve accomplished or find something to talk to about it. You will find a power that you failed to recognize before when you acknowledge the lessons in your story.

Don’t miss the Women’s Leadership Conference Online.   When was the last time you attended a conference that changed your life and gave you new direction? Learn from other leaders, entrepreneurs and successful business women who have gone beyond boundaries to be successful. Register now for the Women’s Leadership Conference Online !

Consuelo Meux, PhD. owns the Confident Business Women programs for women who are determined to succeed in life and business. Women learn to embrace levels of confidence needed to maximize success and to live an authentic life on purpose. Find out about the upcoming Embracing Confidence Program or join the monthly Confident Women Cafe. Go to the website to find out how at http://www.confidentbusinesswomen.com