• What’s holding you back?

  • With a new year comes new hope and new ideas.  You have had a few days break, even if just the public holidays and have had time to take stock and consider the possibilities.  Those options can bring the excitement of dreams and the anticipation of good things to come.

    The transition from dreams to reality needs action, and that is where often it all grinds to a halt.  For action to be effective, is also needs a plan to give it some structure, but many dreams don’t even get to the planning stage.  Why is that?  It’s because of fear - fear of the unknown; fear of success; fear of the what-if.

    What is making you fearful of taking that first step?  I tend to ask myself what is the worst thing that can happen, and work my way back from there.  It is important to understand and embrace the fact that nothing will change if you don’t take that first step … and then another. That first step and those that follow do not need to be great strides, just gentle steps in the right direction to commence the journey or transition.

    So what can you do to address this fear?  There are a few basic principles.

    1. The first step is to embrace the fear and recognise that our fear can serve a very positive purpose.  It instils a degree of caution and helps to ensure that we take a considered approach.  It is normal to feel this fear in the face of attempting something new.
    2. Following on from point 1, review your risk management strategies.  It doesn’t necessarily have to be a complex plan but make a list of the things that could go wrong, how and when you will know they are going wrong, what their impact will be and most importantly what you will do about it.  Having a risk management strategy shifts the balance of control back in your favour.
    3. Surround yourself with positive people and give little heed to the nay-sayers. There are people who will never step out of their comfort zone, and their view on life includes that you never step out of their comfort zone either.  This is fear for their benefit, not yours. Consider their concerns, take on board that which is relevant and cast the rest away.
    4. Focus on what is happening now and what action you can take now, rather than dwelling on what may happen in the future. Appropriate action now will shape the future.
    5. Give yourself small rewards along the way and celebrate your achievements.  Sounds good to me.

    Develop your plan of action.  First review your goals and prioritise them. Then you can develop the strategies with which to achieve those goals.  There may be milestones along the way and different aspects to your strategy, such as the financial strategy, the communication strategy, etc.  Each component will shore up and support the others and will create manageable steps, avoiding the sense of overwhelm.  Using a program such as Trello can be useful in keeping track of your project and all the various steps.

    Don’t let the feeling of being too old, too young, or too technologically illiterate or whatever de-rail you.  Dreams don’t have hard and fast boundaries and there is sure to be a version of your dream that suits you.

    The thrill of achieving something, the thought of which has terrified you, is exhilarating.  I hasten to add that the thought of bungee  jumping terrifies me – I’m scared my eyes will pop out of my head – and I see no good reason for putting myself and my body under that sort of stress. I will probably give that particular thrill a miss.  I’m talking about the sort of achievement that is going to progress your life in a meaningful way.

    Of course if bungee jumping does it for you, go for it.  I’ll cheer from the sidelines.