My husband travels for work. A lot. Now, I’m not a worrier and I wouldn’t even say I was worrying as such, but I was wide awake and at the mercy of the stream of thoughts coming into my mind from the ‘What-if’ fear monster under the bed.
Do you know what it’s like to be a victim of the fear monster?
Has the ‘what-if’ fear monster ever kept you awake or drained your energy during the day?
Have you ever let a recurring Halloween horror scenario hold you back?
Do you know that imagined fear of failure is one of the most reported reasons for limiting success in entrepreneurs? That is one powerful story to tell yourself and only one kind of fear! Read this blog to discover not just how to notice your fear monster story, but also how to move away from its grip, get dressed up and go trick or treating instead.
When my children were little, we used to have a ‘monster repellent’ (coloured water in a spray bottle) at the ready to spray under beds. It always worked, the monsters were sent packing and everyone could settle down for a good night’s sleep. Those of you who regularly read my ramblings know that I am no stranger to the fear monster and I’m not superhuman. What I do have is a five-step strategy; a fear monster spray that I would like to share with you this Halloween.
This first step sounds the easiest, but I personally find it the hardest as the human body reacts with chemicals and hormones to the brain’s fear stimuli before our rational brain knows what’s happening. Logic goes out of the window and our self-awareness gets lost under hyper-sensitivity. The trick in the treat here is to get to know your fear and its relationship with your body. Sound complicated? Let me help you with a quick and simple guide.
Mine was whispering, “Good wives stay awake until they hear that their husband has landed safely.” Now, if that were true, or even logical, I would spend my life sitting up all night until I collapsed of exhaustion and totally useless to everyone. This message is rarely logical and only the fear monster’s fake truth.
If you struggle to hear the whisper, allow your thoughts to just come and, as they do, file each one into one of three boxes, ‘useful’, ‘neutral’ or ‘not serving me’. If a ‘useful’ thought repeats itself three times or more, pop it into the ‘not serving me’ box. Keep an eye on that last box and you will find the fake truth in there.
I first read this in Shirzad Chamine’s book, ‘Positive Intelligence’ and it works for me. Once you know your fake truth, use your fear monster’s name and give it ownership. E.g. (Insert monster name here) is saying that ‘good wives stay awake for their husbands to land in another country in the middle of the night.
What is the actual truth and what are you grateful for about it? E.g.
Ask yourself, “What do I want?” If you find yourself answering in the negative, e.g. ‘I want to stop…’, decide what you want that is positive, e.g. ‘what do I want to start?’ If you find yourself saying, “I don’t want…” ask yourself, “Then what do I want?”
Once you have your ‘I want…’ sentence, ask yourself, “What is most important about this for me?”
You now know your actual truth, what you want and why. Now decide what are you going to do about it? What first step will you take? What do you need to make it happen, stay motivated, supported and accountable? How are you going to remain kind and patient with yourself during? What will your emergency monster spray consist of?
If the only thing that comes out of reading this blog is that you notice your fear monster with an, “Ah, there you are. I see you,” and a smile, then you are already packing an industrial-strength monster spray. Don’t forget to be patient and kind with yourself; this process takes time and awareness and it’s always easier with support and accountability so get in touch with your coach or give me a call and let’s go fear monster hunting together.