Feeling scared and anxious

The other week I came off a Zoom business call and I was feeling sick in my stomach, I was scared.  You know that gut wrenching knot, my negative inner chatter. The barking dog in my head that I have named ‘Roger’, who is a rottweiler, had sniffed out my fear and was barking really loudly, telling me what I couldn’t do and “who did I think I was trying to do something new for the first time”, telling me I was an imposter and “not good enough”.  It was making me feel really anxious and worried. I wonder if you can remember a time when you felt like that too?

I wonder if you ever feel scared of doing something new and stretching your comfort zone? Or you feel the fear asking for a promotion or starting a new relationship… But then when it happens you don’t think you are able to do it even if everyone else thinks you are?

So what had happened to make me feel so concerned – I had been offered a new business opportunity, which, to be fair, I had been asking The Universe for, and I was already thinking up all the excuses as to why I couldn’t do it.

A flurry of excuses

Thoughts and ideas running through my mind were;

I am so sorry that I have to decline this invitation because ‘my kids have got COVID’ (thankfully they haven’t). Or, ‘My ageing mum is ill and I need to be able to focus on her’ (true, but I am supporting her emotionally from afar). Or as a last resort, feigning personal illness, which is completely opposed to my values of honesty. More importantly, knowing our unconscious mind eavesdrops on all our thoughts, why would I want to ‘pretend’ to be ill?

Basically, I was searching for any plausible reason that could be believed to stop me from having to go through with it.

Time for ‘blurbing’

The next day I woke up after my disturbed sleep, and luckily it was to attend my weekly 7 a.m. tennis lesson. At the class, my fabulous coach Trixie focused on my backhand (my ‘weaker’ stroke, though in reality both strokes are fairly weak). I only really play tennis for the exercise and fun camaraderie on the court. I have playfully adopted the name of ‘Serena’ in my tennis group, hoping it will improve my game. This has encouraged my team mates to adopt the names of  ‘Venus’  ‘Ash’ and ‘Martina’ too.

After the tennis lesson was over, I made myself sit down and do some ‘Morning Pages’ as Julia Cameron, author of The Artist’s Way, recommends.

It was a habit I religiously did pre kids (oh, the unknown luxury of time). It always helped me gain perspective and feel calmer as a result. Morning Pages are a downloaded, uninterrupted stream of your conscious and unconscious mind. I call it ‘blurbing’ onto paper, and no right or wrong, no rereading or sharing of your notes (unless you wish to), and definitely not in your best journal. It’s a place to offload anything that is weighing you down or making you feel anxious, worried, sad, or disappointed. 

Owning my feelings

After I had written the recommended three pages and with many reviving cups of tea, I was in a much better emotional place. I realised and admitted to myself that I was scared. I was scared to do something at the next level, scared that I might not be ‘good’ enough, scared that I might let someone down. I’m scared that so and so could do it better than me… (Oh, that awful comparison game…) And Roger the Rottweiler was confirming all my fears!

My powerful unconscious mind told me what I could do, not on the first page where I was still in my scared state, but by the end of the offloading I had discovered four key actions that allowed me to significantly turn my limiting thinking around: 

1 – I told Roger the Rottweiler to shut the F up! I am in control of my mind, not you!

2 –  I reframed the new business opportunity using my tennis lesson as an example, reminding myself (Serena) that I am now practising my backhand, which feels more uncomfortable and not so familiar, and that practise, at anything, improves performance.

3 – I re-read Joseph McClendon III quote ‘step up or step off’

I do love Joseph, he is so cheeky and fun!

4 – And my biggest turnaround point was when my creativity blossomed. This allowed me to change the meaning of the word SCARED to

“Nothing means anything except the meaning we give to it” – Tony Robbins

And I also told myself (I actually sang to myself), “There’s only one Mary Barrett, there’s only one Mary Barrett.” Kicking that comparison stealer of joy into touch!

A miraculous turnaround

When I say I had a miraculous recovery and turnaround, I am not joking. I really felt amazing, liberated, and excited about the business opportunity. I LOVE to grow my courage and resilience every day, as it’s the only way to live, isn’t it? We are here to play big, not small, and to step into our greatness.

“Comfort is the enemy of progress.” – PT Barnum

Now I’m saying to Mary, ‘Step up or step off! And to The Universe ‘Bring on SCARED’ as that’s the only way to grow, isn’t it?

Wow! What a difference three ‘blurbing’ pages can make! Who else wants to be SCARED with me? And more importantly, what’s the human name and breed of your dog? Woof Woof! 

If you want to stop playing small and start to play big, contact me for a consultation and we can be SCARED together.