Last week I made a list of topics to write about. In fact, I created a list of 52 blog post topics, one for each week of the year. This was not one of them. Fear and worry were not even a factor in any of the topics that I felt the need to share about this year.
That’s probably because talking about fear and worry doesn’t seem to have any direct resulting action to living a life of intent or minimalism, the two categories that I created this blog for.
In fact, I have written about worry before. An article I wrote called ‘How to declutter your mind and focus for a better life’ discusses how worry is passive and therefore solves no problems.
And that’s totally true. As I said in the article, “there is no case ever where someone said: I just worried that thing all better. It just doesn’t happen.”
I remember writing that article and feeling a little twinge of frustration at all of the ‘worry-warts’ out there. I, myself, am a pretty low-key, easy-going character, repelled by uptight, overwrought characters. Really, I can’t stand anything too tense or exhausting.
But this week I had to slide down off of my high horse.
I was driving home from work and kept feeling this pressure in my chest and tension from my shoulders to my scapula. It felt like I was being squeezed.
So, I went through my usual mental process of acknowledging the physical response I was having. I haven’t gone to the gym this week, why am I sore and why does it feel like someone has a yoga strap tightened around my upper body?
Then running through my list of mental files to see which one evoked a similar response.
No, I’m not putting on a show for my readers; this is actually how my brain works.
I had started blogging just 5 months prior and had finally gotten to a place of ease. Writing one post per week, creating images for the post, spreading the images about the interwebs, sharing pieces of myself on IG and connecting with my email list.
That was my routine and I had found my groove, so to speak.
But this week it was time to up my engagement. I was going to play with my first Facebook ads to get my message ‘out there’ into the great void.
My course was all but complete and the time had come for me to move forward in hopes of transforming the months that I had put into that course into funds. (If you’re curious, here’s the course I’m talking about).
This was about to be me putting real money into something I had created. And it might not give me any results at all.
And what if it didn’t? All of the dog names that my kids had been talking about (Emma being the leading choice) for when we get out of an apartment and into our own house would just be empty words.
I realized on this 40-minute drive home that I was actually pretty terrified. I was worried. Here’s the thing, I hadn’t realized that I was experiencing fear and worry.
I hadn’t talked about it or fretted over it. But it was there. Right smack dab in the middle of my back. It was incredibly uncomfortable.
Fear and worry come as a caution in times of change.
Worry is basically a type of fear that comes up in times of uncertainty. Change breeds uncertainty.
Now, fear is definitely a necessary evil, existing only to protect us. But worry tends to be a mixture of our fear and our imagination which can make it extremely counterproductive.
Basic fear is like saying that without working 40 hours, you’re not going to be able to pay your electric bill.
Worry is saying that you won’t have electricity so your family won’t be able to eat, your neighbors will judge and exile you, and you’ll lose your job for not showering since you won’t have hot water.
Because things are always changing we will always have fear and worry, at least in some capacity.
Each new school year, each new job, each new adventure, new loss, comes with a certain amount of uncertainty, and with that, fear and worry.
Now, in my previous article I mentioned the 3 I’s for squelching worry, and these things really do work. In fact, I run through these same things naturally in my mind every time I get that ‘yoga strap’ feeling in my back.
Those 3 I’s were to:
Identify when you’re worrying and what you’re worried about, Infuse truth into the worry, and Intentionally redirect your thought to something else.
This reminds me of a Facebook live I saw by Amy Porterfield recently where she talks about leaving working for Tony Robbins to start her own business.
She said that one of her biggest fears was what everyone from her previous job was going to think of her if she failed. She worried incessantly about what Tony Robbins was going to think of her if she failed at her new endeavor.
What’s Tony Robbins going to think when I utterly fail?
Amy was worrying out loud to her husband about this one day and he gently put his hand on her shoulder and said something along the lines of “honey, don’t you think that Tony Robbins has more important things to focus on right now?”
A lightbulb went off and she thought, “you know what, you’re right.”
Of course, she went on about her business to become a multimillionaire.
She identified a massive worry of hers and her husband helped her to infuse that worry with some truth. Then she intentionally refocused and rocked it.
Do it anyway
You don’t get to choose whether or not you experience fear and worry. But you do have a choice.
You can walk into the first day of school, the first day on the new job, the first morning after a loss, the next step to leveling up. You can walk into those things in spite of fear. Or you can cower and resist.
You can curl up in the comfort of your own bed and play it safe, wait it out, and never know… or you can take a deep breath, follow the 3 I’s and move.
The more times you move, the more steps you take, the easier it becomes. Eventually, there’s no more fear around that thing because the terrain moves from uncertain to familiar.
I can tell you that navigating fear and worry actually has EVERYTHING to do with living a life of intent.