For the past few weeks my 5-year-old son Alex has been crying during his swimming lesson because he’s afraid of doing backstroke. Watching him deal with fear was hard – I felt like crying too. We talked about courage, trying again, and feeling safe. Yesterday, in a special practice, we encouraged him to focus on his breathing and arm movements and there were no tears – hooray!
It got me thinking about fear, focus, and results, and how these inter-play to create our perception of reality.
Are you happy and satisfied with where you’re at?
- Are you challenged and inspired by the work you do?
- Are you seen, heard, and recognised in your role?
- Are you achieving the results you really want?
Are you tolerating your status quo?
You want things to be different but something’s getting in the way.
Is someone holding you back? Is it you? Is it your fear and/or anxiety about something?
Challenges are built into life, they’re part of the package deal. Carl Yeung said that we can’t experience anything outside of us that isn’t us. What an amazing concept. So we don’t see things as they are, we can only see things as we are. So the world we see and the reality we create comes through this filtering lens of our personality of who we are and our beliefs and attitudes. It’s like watching a movie with someone and afterwards both of you recounting it quite differently.
What you focus on is what you get. You want change but……
If you focus on how hard something is, and how impossible it seems, or how you never think you’re going to get there (like my son Alex in the pool), well that’s the thing you’re going to experience more of. You’ll essentially create the experience of your reality as the thing you don’t want.
- If you focus on fear, you’ll experience more fear. For example, “What if they actually offer me this job and I stuff it up. Should I apply for it or not?”
- If you fear change, you’ll create more fear. For example, “What if this new system doesn’t work and we get the blame?”
- If you decide you’re not good enough, you’ll create experiences that validate this limiting belief. For example, “I wasn’t given the opportunity because my boss doesn’t rate me”
How are these thoughts serving you in any way?
Focus on the opportunity not the fear
What if instead, you chose to focus on the opportunity in the situation you’re in as a gift to learn, grow and become the next better version of you – you’d see things very differently. What if you did that all of the time? What if you moved your focus constantly to the opportunities. What results do you think you’d get reflected back to you in your work, life and relationships? Yep, they’d be great.
Focus on what you do want: not on what you don’t want.
The next time you feel nervous, anxious or worried, ask yourself, “what can I choose to focus on right now so that I can embrace this as an opportunity to learn?” It’s much more empowering than choosing to focus on the fear of what might go wrong – because most of what we worry about is only in our heads. Remember, your choice of focus will create your reality. You are in control of how you experience everything. You are in control of how you think about you. The only person who can make you feel not good enough is you.