Most people take action steps in reaction to fear. They make choices to avoid a bad outcome, but taking steps to ‘avoid’ a bad outcome means you expect one. Fear is about negative expectation, the same as anxiety. When we engage life with negative expectations, we set ourselves up to experience disappointment because our emotions are the lens from which we interpret experience. A helpful way to think of your emotions is as a weather system, not a reality. Would you try building a house in a rainstorm? No! You would wait until the skies were clear and the ground dry.
‘The Rule For Engagement’ is simple: relate to your emotions like a temperature gauge and wait until ‘the skies are clear’ before taking action. The best possible outcome will be achieved by intending that things are going to work out best for all parties involved. If you aim for success, then no temporary setbacks can get in your way. But if you require such and such to happen in order for you not to fear failure, then you are giving your power away to external forces and allowing yourself to become an emotional windowpane, flapping every time the breeze changes direction.
The next time you take action on something important, check your emotional temperature gauge and make sure it’s not telling you that things won’t work out. If you’re getting a doom and gloom story, then wait until you can interpret a more empowering version of the events that are occurring.
Below is a quote on this very subject from the wonderful book, “WILD: From Lost To Found On The Pacific Coast Trail” by Cheryl Strayed, which was recently recommended to me by two different friends, and I am so thankful they guided me to it. If you haven’t had a chance to check it out yet, I highly recommend.
‘I knew that if I allowed fear to overtake me, my journey was doomed. Fear, to a great extent, is born out of a story we tell ourselves, and so I choose to tell myself a different story from the one women are told. I decided I was safe. I was strong. I was brave. Nothing could vanquish me. Insisting on this story was a form of mind control, but for the most part, it worked. Every time I heard a sound of unknown origin or felt something horrible cohering in my imagination, I pushed it away. I simply did not let myself become afraid. Fear begets fear. Power begets power. I will myself to beget power. And it wasn't long before I actually wasn't afraid.’