How to Overcome the Fear of Starting
I’ve long been obsessed with the quote ‘what you focus on expands.’
When I first heard it I was working in a job that was debilitating to my health and wellbeing. I was in a cycle of waking up each day dreading having to go to work and eventually that feeling overflowed to my personal life. The drive to create a life that I loved had diminished and all that I could focus on was how dull everything seemed. I had given up on trying to make it any better and resigned myself to the fact that this is what one must do in order to pay the bills.
It wasn’t until my health deteriorated to the point that I found myself in an MRI machine, scans ordered by my doctor who was concerned that a 24 year old had been waking up with severe headaches for three months straight.
After getting the all clear, I was forced to face the reality that stress was the underlying cause and I could no longer put off the hard truth that something had to change. I had to make a choice to get out of the well worn path of misery and unhappiness and begin the journey back to health and wellbeing. I had to change my focus.
Something happens when we laser focus on a desired outcome. All of a sudden the impossible starts to seem maybe possible, motivation begins to return and if you keep moving then that motivation turns into inspiration and infinite possibilities begin to reveal themself.
I often talk about the notion of ‘just starting’ and I’ve come to realise that the real starting point is in deciding. Deciding that you will no longer accept your current reality and that there must be a different way. You must step outside of what you thought you knew to be true and you start dreaming of new possibilities. You stop focusing on what’s currently not working and redirect our attention to what’s possible.
It’s called ‘tunnel vision’ for a reason—you start down a path and there’s no room to do a U-turn, there’s no side exits and the only way out is through. You have no choice but to keep moving forward. That’s when our commitment to the end goal becomes laser focused, we know that we must keep putting one foot in front of the other and eventually we’ll see the light at the end of the tunnel.
When you want something bad enough and decide to close the side doors, we find the drive to make it through.
Another quote that change my trajectory and inspired me to keep going—
“Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative and creation, there is one elementary truth the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then providence moves too.
All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one's favour all manner of unforeseen incidents, meetings and material assistance which no person could have dreamed would have come his way. I have learned a deep respect for one of Goethe's couplets:
Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it. Begin it now.”
―William Hutchison Murray
Sometimes the decision to commit comes from being fed up with our current circumstances which is a painful but powerful motivator to finally take the necessary action. But there’s something magic that happens when you finally commit to a goal—All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred.
We’re not meant to be dormant nor are we supposed to be passive observers of our lives. We each have the ability to create a life that we want for ourselves and it starts with our focus.
So if you’re worried about what people will think of you or what could go wrong, stop. There is no greater agony than not living your potential and that is something that only you have the power to do.
Make a list of your fears and what is stopping you from starting, now brainstorm what might be done to minimise these risks. Now take a minute to zoom out, how bad does it really look?
Often we don’t start because the story we’re telling ourselves is much worse in our minds than in reality. We crave certainty and want to stay in our familiar environments that we can predict. But when we ignore our dreams, desires and longings we become stagnate and stagnation leads to unhappiness and a lack of growth.
Start now with your commitment to yourself.
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