Anxiety. One of the most raw and primitive of reactions. This feeling can have even the best of us internally racing faster than a Nascar, while simultaneously paralyzing us externally. Naturally speaking, anxiety is a signal of pending danger. An alert which our bodies respond to physically by among other things, increasing our heart rate and adrenaline, sweating and shortness of breath. We call the cumulative total of these reactions our “fight or flight” response which prepares us to either enter into battle, or run away. There’s a funny thing about anxiety though. We often feel a sense of anxiety in situations where no physical danger exists.
As a kid, I had a really huge crush on a girl in middle school. After several months, I finally worked up the courage to tell her how I felt and ask her out. The end result was me being emphatically turned down. Though I was not physically harmed by the experience, I, to this day, still get incredibly anxious anytime the possibility of being rejected exist. The reaction is uncontrollable, but I’ve found that the well known slogan “just do it” is my bread and butter in those moments. I’ve adapted this slogan into three variations which anyone can use to help subdue those instances where the fear of uncertainty takes hold.
1. Do it NOW
Yes, that means right now. More importantly, it means the very moment any desire to pull back presents itself. Going against every impulse your body gives you is a very heavy ask, but the idea behind doing it now is facing those impulses head on. Remember, you miss 100% of the shots you refuse to take so make or miss, take your shot. Even if you mess up, it’s okay! You’ve still achieved a huge win by gaining experience, one of the most crucial building blocks, and greatest teachers life has to offer.
2. Do it AGAIN
So you’ve mustered up all the courage you can find, and found a way to make what can only be called up until now a leap of faith. You now have the ability to process your actions, any potential responses, how you felt in the midst of it all and how you feel having come out on the other side. Take a moment, and let it all sink in. Once you’ve come down and had a chance to process everything, go back and do it again.
Yes, do it again.
The first opportunity you have to take a second shot at facing something that gives you jitters, take it! At this point you now have experience, but in this case it’s only as good as long as you keep experiencing. The point in doing it again is to build confidence. You’ve stood up, and you’ve taken a first step. Now let’s put the second foot in front of the first.
3. Do it OFTEN
Everything from here is rinse and repeat, and hopefully by now you feel comfortable experimenting a little. Maybe the first couple of tries didnt go so well. You’ve done it now and gained experience, and you’ve done it again, and gained a little confidence (and more experience). Take additional opportunities to try out different approaches and variations. If you knocked it out of the park the first go around, use further engagements to learn more about what made you successful and how you can achieve the same result going forward. The key here is learning both about your fears and more importantly, yourself. As you go along your experience will feed your knowledge, your knowledge will feed your wisdom, and your wisdom will feed your confidence.
Anxiety is extremely difficult to face, but it should not hold us back from living to our fullest potential. With that said, I encourage all to figure out what it is that makes you hesitate and do it.
Do it now, do it again, and do it often.
#HARDWORKEASYLIVING – Do HWEL for yourself.