This has not been the easiest week this summer. Yeah, I know… I cannot complain. I have been off since the end of June (teacher life). This summer, I decided to not teach summer school and to give myself a break, for once. I launched Life as Kait in March and wanted to dedicate the summer to growing my content and community. Also, with the kitchen renovation, it just made sense that I was around instead of worrying about who is in my house all day for a month.
But, summer is winding down and I am scheduled to be back in my classroom in two weeks. Yes, I am excited. I absolutely love what I do for a living and I am so blessed to have the students I have each year. But, with all of the good feels, my inner critic has also walked up on stage and has grabbed the mic this week. I am starting to feel doubt and anxiety about managing Life as Kait while going back to my full-time gig.
This is the dialogue going on inside of me lately:
ME: Will I be able to manage both my full-time job and side hustle?
MY INNER CRITIC: haha no way. Just give up.
ME: But, I love blogging. The community, the self-growth, the inspiration….
MY INNER CRITIC: You’re taking too much on. You can’t do it all. Who are you trying to fool?
Seriously… I am tired of it. It is on a never-ending loop.
>>Related: 5 Reasons to Stop Worrying About the Future
I was trying to explain how I feel to my husband last night as I was making dinner. I told him that I feel like I have 500 projects going on right now. The kitchen renovation… my blog… monitoring Benny (update: he is ALL GOOD!)… back to school planning…housework…etc. I am getting so overwhelmed that I feel like I have 50 tabs open on my mental computer screen and I keep hoping around to each one with no focus at all.
Overwhelm. That is exactly what I am feeling.
I know how I work. The overwhelm I am feeling is causing me to question my life choices. Does this ever happen to you? Have you ever taken on more than you’re used to, especially something that is new, and you develop a fear of following through with the task?
>>Related: 7 Ways to Deal with Stress & Anxiety
Unfortunately… Fear is Common
Fear is a common experience amongst everyone. No matter how strong or confident someone comes across as, no one has it all together. We all want to reach our dreams, we want to be accepted, and we want to be understood. Truth is, it isn’t always easy to be who you truly are at the core. We all have fears about how people will perceive us.
The worst thing is… our choices are often driven by our fears. Those choices we make can keep us from achieving our goals because we end up settling for what is safe and comfortable.
The Comfy Comfort Zones
When you try something new, the process is usually uncomfortable. The problem is, we all THRIVE on the comforts of our lives. The second we need to dip our feet in unknown water, many of us recoil, “ooooo… too cold. Maybeeeee when it’s warmer out.” But, pushing through your fears requires submerging (no matter how slowly) yourself into that cold, uncomfortable, unfamiliar body of water.
For example, I could easily shut down my blog. I could take down all my posts, stop paying to have my site hosted, and disconnect with my blogging community. Easy and safe. But, in turn, I will be cashing in my creative outlet, my inspiration, and the endless support provided by my peers that have pushed me to become a better wife, friend, and daughter in six short months.
So, I am sure you can deduce the choice I have made.
I am already breaking through my fears in just 24 hours of contemplation and reflection on my life. Below, I am going to share the process I have taken to break through my fears in the past, which is the same one I am going to use to crush this current fear I am experiencing.
The best part it, I KNOW it works. It is what helped me launch my blog in the first place.
>>Related: Mindfulness for Beginners
How to Identify & Work Through Your Fears
NAME YOUR FEAR
The first step is to figure out what your fears actually are right now. I am not talking about fearing spiders or that it will rain this afternoon. Dig deep… What fears are holding you back from personal growth? Do you dream about quitting your job, but don’t think you can? Are you afraid to date again after that terrible breakup?
Whatever the case may be, get as specific as you can. To work through your fears, actually name your fear out loud. Go to a room (or your car), shut the door, and have a conversation with yourself. Give life to your fears. Call them out. Stop pretending they are not lurking around in your life. This is the only way you can confront them head on.
DETERMINE WHAT IS BEYOND THIS FEAR
Ok, so you named your fear. Fantastic! The next step is to visualize what is on the other side of this fear you are having. For example, if you are afraid of applying for a new job, visualize what your ideal job is like. Think of the people you will work with, the money you will make, the fulfillment you will feel, etc. THAT is what is waiting on the other side.
Continue to talk out loud to yourself to determine what resides beyond your fear. If preferred, you can also talk to someone you trust about your fear or simply journal, instead. Whatever the case, get specific about what your life would be like if you were to CRUSH your fear. Because… guess what… it is all possible.
IDENTIFY YOUR FEELINGS
This is a step I struggle with while working through any fear of mine. You need to be truthful with yourself about the feelings you get when you think of facing this fear. Close your eyes and imagine yourself doing whatever is scaring you the most in life.
How are you reacting…mentally…physically? Are you nervous? Do you have anxiety? Are people judging you? Are you scared? To work through your fears, give yourself time during this practice to get uncomfortable with the feelings you are having. Sit with them for at least 2-3 minutes.
MAKE PEACE WITH “ALL THE FEELS”
Now, understand that you are simply visualizing how your body and mind might react through this process. No, all of these feelings might not come up when you work through your fears. But, now you are prepared. What is the worst thing that can happen if you do experience some, or all, of these feelings? It’s simple… you will survive.
Anything great you are going to do in your life will work hand-in-hand with stepping up to fear, looking it in the face, and working your way through it while experiencing all of the the feels. THAT is where the magic happens. We are meant to feel uncomfortable so we can appreciate all of the good once we make it to the other side of our fear. You will be proud of yourself for proving that you can work through all the feels.
DEVELOP AN ACTIONABLE PLAN
Ok.. so you are now prepared to place yourself directly in the seat of discomfort because you know that the magic the lies on the other side. Now what? Time to make a realistic and actionable plan to work through your fears. To do this, you should write down or type out the steps that you will follow… one by one.
The biggest mistake is to make steps that are large and require constant leaping. I never believe the saying, “Take a giant leap.” Sometimes, it works. But, I find that taking little steps that adds up to big ones over time provides me a larger window to succeed. Yes, it might take you a bit longer to get to your destination, but slow and steady is better than throwing in the towel.
TAKE THE FIRST STEP
Once you have your plan developed work through your fears, take that first step. Keep your eye on the prize and don’t forget to repeat your visualization technique if you begin to lose focus or doubt yourself. As you take this first step, remember what your end goal is on the other side. Focus on how great it will feel once you work all of your steps.
TAKE THE NEXT STEP…
& THE NEXT….
What are your current fears?
What are your plans to work through your fears?
Let me know in the comments below!