Tuesday, 15 January 2013

"It's okay, I've got this."

It seems like the thought for the day is Fear. A couple of conversations and a blog post, all before my third cup of coffee this morning, point in this direction. As I've dedicated 2013 to the Flow, that's what I'm going to explore with you today.


Four small letters; big, big emotional and physical response.

Let's start with the basics. What is fear? At it's core, fear is the physical response to a thought or a situation. Fear is experienced through sweating palms, heightened heart rate, rush of adrenaline. What fear feels like, well, that is an entirely subjective experience. Some people experience nausea, their vision goes, bladder and bowels loosen. At its extreme, it's debilitating.

Human beings are born with two fears: falling and loud noises. 

The rest we learn along the way. Human beings are learning animals, that's what ensures our survival. Experience is our greatest teacher. Touch fire, it hurts. Great big things hurtling towards you, likely to be very painful, get out the way.

Fear, is a safety mechanism. It's essential to our survival. If we didn't heed the fear when considering whether it would be a good thing to step into a cage with a tiger, unless we knew what we were doing, we'd be tiger fodder. 

Fear keeps us safe.

When it's taken to extremes, that's when the trouble starts.

Phobias are an example of this. When I was doing my NLP training I met people who weren't only afraid of spiders, they were terrified of the thought of spiders. They would think 'spider' and then have a meltdown. They could see a picture of a spider and have a physiological response. 

Let's begin with the assumption that every fear has a purpose - to keep us safe - then must come the query: in a country where there are no poisonous spiders and they do nothing but make webs to be dusted, is this an appropriate response?

The answer has to be no. An emotional meltdown at the thought of a spider is not appropriate. Happily, the phobia techniques that NLP teaches enables people who suffer to ditch their fears and put them in their proper place, not remove it all together (that would be a Bad Thing). 

The thing that I really like about NLP is that it puts fear in it's proper place. It's a physiological response, a necessary survival mechanism; a practitioner's goal is to bring the emotional response into appropriate boundaries. I would like to take this one step further. 

I work with the assumption Fear is trying to be my best friend, it's bringing things to my attention that I might be missing. It's telling me I'm doing something unusual, the outcome may not be guaranteed, there is risk involved. I liken it with motherhood (because I am a mother and the metaphor works for me).

I am an over-protective mother. I own it totally. My Boy is 19 now, that makes no difference to me whatsoever; he's still my baby. My job as his mother, is to keep him safe. If I could have done, I would have wrapped him up in bubble wrap when he was learning to walk. The first time he fell badly and split his lip, I moped him up and became physically sick. That's how much I want to protect my son. 

However, for me to be a good mother, I had to learn to let him fall. I had to give him the space to bruise his knees, to make mistakes, to fail, because ultimately, that's how he would learn to make sense of this world. How was he to walk if he didn't fall? How is he to learn the value of love if he doesn't experience heartbreak? How is he to learn fortitude if he doesn't overcome disappointment? 

Boy rolls his eyes and we laugh together when I become too over-protective. He doesn't hate me for it, he knows it's because I want the best for him.

Love your fear, it's trying to do the best it can for you. But like your relationship with your over-protective mum or friend, create boundaries. Don't waste your energy fighting with it. You'll begin to find, once you acknowledge your fear, doing the Scary Thing becomes easier. You'll have spent time looking at outcomes, weighing up your options. You'll know whether the risks are worth it. You'll be make an informed decision and are prepared.

Don't let fear dictate what you can and can't do. Don't let it be the boss of you. The consequences can be devastating. Not doing something because you're afraid, to my way of thinking, just isn't good enough. It's not good enough for you and it's not good enough for those around you.

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

Welcome to 2013

Last night we showed 2012 to the door. Depending on the kind of year you had, you may have been sorry to see it leave. Personally, I shouted 'don't let the door hit you on arse on your way out' and went to bed. 2013 started without me. I started 2013 cuddled up.

Over the last couple of weeks I've been thinking about my New Year Resolutions. I've only been making them recently; I would rather not make a resolution and find at the end of the year that I've stuck to it! Result. When I started making New Year Resolutions, I would find that they didn't last past March if I was lucky. Nothing like creating a resolution, the failure of which hits you in the face for the rest of the year.

Last year, I resolved to stop smoking. 2012 became the year I stopped and started and stopped again. When I stopped in December (I didn't want to wait until January), I stopped because I really wanted to. I stopped not because I was guilted into it (by the many hours of anti-smoking lectures), or down to financial constraints, or because it was something I 'should' do. I stopped because I really wanted to.

My experience with resolutions is not unique to me. After all, in the beginning of January, gyms are full. By the middle of February, they're back to their normal clientele. So I've been looking for a way to set resolutions and keep them, rather than have them become yet another stick to beat myself with.

Yesterday, I found this video in my Facebook feed.

I like the idea of having resolutions every day of the year, not just January. Richard always makes me smile.

Today, I read Stephen's thoughts on resolutions. I like the way he's taking 'should' out of his coaching vocabulary. If you've set your resolutions, I urge you to visit Stephen's blog, have a look and apply what feels right to you and your circumstances.

Goals, Aims and Targets are the focus of mainstream coaching, because if you don't know where you're going, how can you complain when you get where you are?

Before I did my NLP training, I had a vague idea of what I wanted to do and set out to do it. The few times I did that, it worked out pretty well, but never in quite the way I envisaged it. I had fun along the way and few complaints about the way things turned out. I learnt a lot which is fine by me.

After my NLP training, I was encouraged to create a 5 Year Plan. Creating a 5 Year Plan on a timeline and working back towards present day is a powerful experience. You see yourself in 5 years time, having achieved your goals and then go through the steps backwards to your starting point in the present day. I saw it work incredibly well during my training. The only problem is, it makes me physically sick. I react very strongly against it as a concept that I should embrace. 

It boils down to my values. I value spontaneity. I like surprises. And let's face it, Life is a constant surprise, both good and bad. You can plan for everything down to the most minute details, and Life still manages to throw a spanner, a monkey and wrench in all your hard work. 

I like leaving a bit of space for the unexpected.

This year, I created one resolution. But I changed the way I wrote it. It is positive and overarching. I have sub-resolutions, which all align up with it. They are vague enough to give me room to dance around any unusual encounters along the way, but keep me working toward the outcome I am genuinely excited by.

In 2013, I will be following my Bliss to financial sustainability. All of my activities will be either focused on achieving this, or on the maintenance of the rest of my Life, so I can work towards achieving my goal.