Life is so beautiful and precious; even more so if you are living a life filled with happiness, peace, and contribution! However, many people (me included!!!) have had moments of uncertainty and fear where they’re at a standstill. In those moments, the “problems” are magnified and feel like a ton of bricks on your shoulders. The flashing thoughts of the worst-case scenarios plague your mind and making a decision seems daunting, to say the least. In those moments where we struggle, it all boils down to what you focus on.
I've come across those fears in the past, where uncertainty made me worry more than anything else. In the earlier stages of my career, I had the daunting task of resigning from a job that I loved, which meant leaving peers that I felt connected with, and walking away from the majority of my family’s income and a prestigious title. It was a necessary move for me at the time. The direction the company was headed in was out of alignment with my purpose. But I was scared. It wasn’t until I did these three things to address my fears that I was able to make a purposeful shift:
List all your fears (The big and small)
To know what we need to do, we must first identify the problems. Write down the big and small things that make you fearful. This should be extensive so you can see everything that is bothering you. This exercise is supposed to highlight the worst-case scenarios; the things that you’ve been grappling with all this time and then some! This may be no easy feat because it is easier to sidestep things that are negative versus facing them head-on. The intention of this is not to be fearless, but to make your fear mean less. When you do this, you can now see the issues at hand and handle them one at a time.
Rank them by probability
Now that we’ve identified the scary stuff, it’s time to see how possible these things are to happen. Using the simple format of ranking each problem as having a high, medium, or low chance of happening--you now can identify what needs to be addressed and what doesn’t. When I was leaving the job I mentioned earlier, some of the issues I listed were my reputation being smeared, my team not understanding my stance, a total shift in my family’s lifestyle, the regret of leaving among others. When I ranked all these fears, I realized that the probability of these things happening wasn’t as high as my fear was making me think!
Identify mitigation strategies
Now that we’ve identified all our fears and have seen how likely they are to happen, we can now move forward with addressing each in a strategic way. The thought of having these fears come to pass is gut-wrenching, to say the least. This is why when you identify the issues, you work on solutions immediately! Think about each fear and then match that with a potential solution. Why was I worried about losing the relationships I had built? These people are intelligent and sensitive to their purpose, so they’d understand! Secondly, the impact on my family’s budget wasn’t as big of a hit as I conjured it up to be in my mind. When we created a new budget together, it affirmed that the changes would not actually impact our day-to-day living.
Being able to practically look at solutions to the problems and then tackling them one at a time allowed my concerns to slowly drift away. Another useful tactic is to tackle each fear from lowest to highest. That allows you to build up momentum by handling the fears that seem more manageable first while working your way up to the big ones.
For many of us, what builds up fear is the unknown. Not being able to see what may happen can be terrifying, but being able to take action on the things you can control means you will have done all you can. One of the most important coping tools is to also be kind to yourself. It’s okay to be afraid and make mistakes, but always remember you have what it takes to tackle anything that comes your way!