Scared of Trying Something New? Here's What to Do
Hey welcome back! Today we’re breaking down this situation that happens to so many of us when we are about to do something new. We feel that resistance, that fear….and it slows us down and keeps us stuck. I’m going to tell you why that happens and what you can do about it so you can still pursue the new thing you want to do.
I want to start off by telling you a story. In October 2019, I made the decision to become a certified life coach through The Life Coach School. I made this decision because my life had been so incredibly transformed by this work that I knew that I needed to become a coach myself and share these teachings with as many women as possible and make that my life’s mission. But the decision to get certified was not made on a whim. The program had roughly the same time and financial investment as my husband’s master’s degree. I had never been through the program nor had known anyone personally who did so I truly did not know what I was getting myself into. But I knew that this was my calling and I needed to do whatever it took to make it happen.
I remember sitting on our bed with the laptop. I had just gotten an email from the school saying that the waitlist had opened up and I was able to move forward with the application after submitting the payment. I probably stared at that submit button for what seemed like 10 minutes but probably more like 45 because of this clenching fear in my body.
My brain was shooting all these worst-case scenarios of all the things that could go wrong and why I shouldn’t do it, and how if this didn’t turn out how I wanted it I would look like a fool in front of my friends and family, and what if I regretted my decision later on, and what if I didn’t have what it took to be a successful student of the school….like all these things right? My husband was in the other room watching a show or something and I kept calling to him like “I want this right?”, “I should do this right?”, “this is okay right?” just trying to reassure myself. But the problem was I really had no idea what was going to happen as a result. No matter how encouraging or supportive my husband was, or how badly I wanted to be a coach. I still felt the fear.
Maybe you feel this way with the new thing that you want to do. Whether you are switching careers, starting a business, pursuing motherhood, moving away, starting school, getting married, hiring a coach. Whatever. When we let fear have the final say and don’t know how to manage our minds, we hold ourselves back and rob ourselves of the ability to grow and create the life we want.
The first thing I want you to know is that your fear is NORMAL and it’s because you are a human and your brain is wired that way. But before we try to go fixing and changing things, we need to first understand why it’s happening.
It’s like if you went to a new pizza place and ordered pepperoni pizza, your favorite kind. When you ate a slice of it, it tasted bad. So in a rush to rationalize what happened, you blame the pizza place for not making good pepperoni pizza. But, if you just allowed yourself to slow down and see what could have caused the bad taste, you might then realize that there were also mushrooms that were on the pizza. So you order the pizza without mushrooms and it tastes wonderful. So, you could have missed out on the opportunity to enjoy great pizza at the new pizza place if you had rushed to a conclusion or solution of just never going there again. What I’m trying to say is you will have a hard time finding the solution and the answer if you don’t even truly understand the cause.
So why does fear happen when we want to start something new? Well our emotions are caused by our thoughts. Fear is not an independent sign from the universe that something bad is about to happen. Fear is also not a direct result of the decision you’re making or the new thing you are trying. It’s just the effect from thoughts you’re having. And your brain has a LOT of thoughts that lead to fear when you are doing something new because it’s wired for survival. Naturally it prefers to keep things status quo and familiar, and avoid potential danger at all cost.
Think about back in the caveman days. If we were living in a cave, eating the berries nearby and surviving, why would we try to venture out? We know how to survive here, it’s the way we’ve always done things. If we try to leave the cave, we could get eaten, get lost, or be subject to a multitude of other dangers.
So when you’re like “I’m going to do this new thing”, your brain equates the unknown with danger. It tries to pull all the stops to prevent you from doing it. That’s why you are flooded with worst-case scenarios, urges to be distracted with eating, Netflix-ing, scrolling, researching, stress-cleaning, napping, whatever. It’s kind of ironic that in an effort to avoid feeling bad in the future, we just make ourselves feel bad in the present. It’s the brain’s attempt to protect you from what it thinks is a threat to your survival. Fascinating right?
So first, I want you to understand what thoughts are causing your fear. Take out a piece of paper and a writing utensil (yes, the old fashioned way because it’s usually more effective), and ask yourself “why I am I feeling fear?”. Dump EVERYTHING in your brain onto it. All of your worries, your thoughts, your beliefs about yourself, your predictions of what might happen in the future. Get it all out on that paper. Keeping asking yourself “what else” until you’re out. What this does is it gets the mess out of our heads to stop the spin cycle of thoughts and gets it out to where we can actually see it and do something with it.
Then, I want you to circle the facts. And be careful with this step because often we will believe that a thought is a fact when it’s not. So if you are believing that “I’m going to fail at this”, really take a look at that because that’s a belief you have, not a concrete fact. Now just observe this awareness you just created. Now you can see that it’s not the new thing you want to do that is causing the fear. It’s all the thoughts about the new thing that is causing it. And that’s SUCH good news because we know that we don’t have to believe and buy into those thoughts if we don’t want to because they are truly optional.
The second thing I want you to do is to thank your brain for doing it’s job. I know it sounds silly but so does keeping yourself stuck when your dreams and goals are on the other side of this activity yeah? So thank your brain, and all the ancestors that came before you for keeping your bloodline alive all this time. If it wasn’t for your danger-scanning brain, you might not be here today. Without fear of getting crushed by a car, you might walk into oncoming traffic. Without fear of getting fired from your job and losing your paycheck, you might decide just to stop going and stay in bed all day instead. So thank your brain for alerting you about all the possible terrible things that doing this new thing could do.
The third thing I want you to do is to recognize all the positive things that could happen. Since your brain’s autopilot mode is to recognize all the dangers, you actually have to be intentional about this one and brainstorm all the potential positive things that could happen. Take another sheet of paper and write down as many things as you can. This includes taking the worst case scenario and deciding how you could turn things around, bounce back if you will, if it happened.
The final thing is to allow the fear to be there. Fear is an emotion. It’s just a vibration in our body. Fear in and of itself cannot harm us. When I pressed submit on that application to the Life Coach School, I felt like I was going to throw up. I was shaky, my heart was pounding, my thoughts in my head about all the terrible things that could happen were screaming at me. But I knew that is what I wanted for my long-term self, I had made an intentional decision, and so I took action anyways. I didn’t wait until fear went away. We often think that fear is a bad thing and that we need to avoid it, or cover it up, or try and change it all the time. But what if when we heard fear knocking, we let it in, offered it a hot beverage and continued onwards in the direction of our dreams? Looking back, I think back to all of those moments that I moved forward despite the fear. It’s crazy to think of how much I could have missed out on if I would have let fear choose the trajectory of my life. I don’t want fear to hold you back either. If you want to take this work further, I would love to have you join Meal Planner Academy. We take all of this material and apply it not just to meal planning but to all other areas of your life. Just visit katiewredecoaching.com. And also, be sure to subscribe to emails so you don’t miss any new content.
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