There are various times in my life when I’ve jumped into the unknown: going to college, getting married, starting a new career, and switching careers.
But the scariest was deciding to have children. What if something goes wrong? What if I mess up? What if I can’t handle it? How will I handle certain situations?
I don’t know about you, but when I’m scared, it’s uncomfortable, to say the least. I can allow the fear to control me, or I can think beyond the fear and jump.
It is not the easiest thing in the world to “go for it,” but it beats sitting on a rock, looking at paradise on the other side of the canyon. Here is a poem I wrote about how it feels to contemplate jumping:
The fear nestles in my stomach,
Like a sloth clinging to a branch.
Its claws grip and pull on my belly.
It moves ever so slowly,
Ripples of self-doubt escape into my chest.
What is this fear about?
It talks to me in a calculating voice,
“You aren’t good enough; you’re going to fail.”
Yet, it is not my true voice; I know that for sure.
My authentic voice whispers with gentleness.
But, I have to lean in to hear—it is soft and light.
“You are capable; this will help you grow.
Take the leap; you can do this.”
I begin relaxing, gradually, slowly.
The sloth is still in my belly, but this time something is different.
This time, the sloth is asleep and the ripples are disappearing.
The tightness is easing, my breath is deeper.
I can feel my spirit of determination taking over.
As my breath deepens, I can feel myself getting ready.
My focus is on faith, trust, and hope—not falling.
I will fall, but I will get back up.
At this moment, the sloth and I hang on and jump!
Here are some tips I’ve learned about dealing with my fears:
1. Listen to my fears with detachment.
It is pretty difficult to feel the fear and power through it. Yet, if I allow myself to listen to what the fear is saying, it weakens. It loses its power, and I can put it into perspective. However, listening with compassionate detachment is essential. If I listen without detaching, I am like a fly trying to get off an enormous piece of sticky paper. It is overwhelming.
Becoming a compassionate observer breaks the bond. If we are scared to go into a new career, instead of avoiding the fear, listen to it. What is it saying? Instead of battling fear, flow with it in harmony. I like to write down the beliefs that limit my success, and write down the opposite belief in order to get the empowering belief ingrained in my head.
2. Realize that feelings are impermanent.
Feelings are energy and they come and go in intensity throughout the day. I do not need to allow one source of energy—my fear—to control my decisions. There are other abilities I have, such as thoughts, discernment, faith, trust, and more that I can tap into to help me make decisions.
3. Motivate, motivate, motivate.
If I have a lot of fear, I will need even more motivation to act. I must figure out what I can do to motivate myself. Dreaming has sometimes been the motivation I have needed to jump. When I allow myself to dream, uninhibited, without judgment, I tap into a powerful stream. Other times, I need more motivation to jump.
Extra motivation has come through being passionate about something and excelling at it. Then, there are the times when those two things don’t work and I resort to envisioning what will happen if I don’t jump. There is a quote I like by Robert Schuller, “I’d rather attempt to do something great, than do nothing and succeed.” Flowing with my fear allows me to use it to motivate myself to jump.
4. Just jump, believe, and feel intensely.
Many times when I’ve jumped, I didn’t organize or plan until after I jumped. I realize that seems backward. When I started a new job right out of college, I didn’t have 20 years of experience, but I did it anyway. Other times, like when I offered to do seminars, I planned and organized after I offered. Then, I learned what the group needed and started planning like crazy. There is a risk in planning before jumping. Too much time preparing and the fear can become entrenched. Then it gets hard to jump at all.
Believing that I am bigger and more capable than what I can understand is vital to jumping toward success. A big part of jumping is not to do it and seeing what happens. Jumping toward success is a belief that I will make it. It is not about trying or giving it one shot. On the contrary, it is about doing it over and over until I make the mark. It is not a thrill ride like bungee jumping. Jumping to a goal takes courage, determination, motivation, and a belief in me and the universe.
5. Practice a credo daily, and read it out loud.
A. State an intention or what brings me fulfillment.
B. Allow my imagination to take me on a limitless journey about this intention. It’s important not to judge it, just allow what comes.
C. State how I feel about my intention.
D. Make the goal a SMART goal (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time-based).
E. Feel intensely, as if the success has already occurred.
F. State the limiting belief.
G. State the opposite of the limiting belief.
H. State the facts that support why my goal is achievable.
Once this process is completed, it is important to record it and play it back, every day, or read it out loud, every day. This ritual gets planted into our subconscious.
6. Allow and be open to the idea that the universe will support me.
Lao-Tzu, a wise sage from 2,500 years ago, who wrote the Tao Te Ching writes:
Ever desireless, one can see the mystery;
Ever desiring, one sees only the manifestations,
And the mystery itself is the doorway
To all understanding.
Eastern philosophy incorporates many paradoxes into its philosophy, such as yin and yang and masculine and feminine. Westerners can sometimes get caught up in seeing opposites as incompatible. Yet, Lao-Tzu asks us to see opposites as congruent and working together.
Lao-Tzu is also saying that when we let go of trying to see the mystery, the magnificence of the universe will unfold. For example, if I plant a tulip and try to understand the mystery of how it grows by doing lots of things to the soil, talking to it, and fertilizing it, the mystery will be unclear. But, if I do my part and open to learn the universal mysteries, I will see.
Seeing mysteries is not tangible; I have to look through an intuitive lens. The universe will work with me in miraculous ways when I set and act on an intention. It’s not clear how or when synchronicities will happen.
Part of the process of jumping is having faith that the universe will work with me like it does when I plant a tulip. It will work in its time and I must not give up. When I am open to the universe helping me, things happen that I couldn’t control on my own. Synchronicities happen, like miracles, and it is amazing.
We can learn from all our feelings and thoughts and flow with them. Take a risk today, and go toward your dream!
Author: Catherine Oliphant
Editor: Travis May