This week I have been inspired by a series of messages all pointing in the same direction: Facing your fears and doing the stuff you currently find hard is the most reliable way forward to meaningful happiness and success.
We are all of us, everyday, faced with a number of choices. It's too easy to take the easy way out, to avoid making that call, writing that blog post, web page, or book chapter, having that difficult conversation, attending that networking event, or whatever else you've been avoiding.
This is somewhat hard for me to write, after all I've been a long-time advocate of doing it easier. I could have been the author of "The Lazy Man's Way to Riches" except that I never got around to it and Joe Karbo beat me to it! And I'm still convinced that we don't need to suffer as much as we do and too many people are working harder than they need to.
So let's get clear: I am NOT advocating toughing it out as a general strategy. I AM advocating doing the important things AND making it as easy as possible to do so, but not waiting until conditions are perfect before acting.
The key is moving forward into those things you fear, on the other side of which lies liberation. Tapping and IEP can help you do that.
I used to encourage people to tap until they felt no fear at all before moving forward. After learning of the power of tapping, I pooh-poohed the old "feel the fear and do it anyway" approach of Susan Jeffers. Until one day I discovered one of my clients had been tapping for hours and hours every day but hadn't taken any action to change things. I realised that without any intervention she would keep on doing so ad infinitum. That, in fact, her tapping was being a distraction from action, by expecting to feel no fear at all before moving forward she was consigning herself to a lifetime of suffering. I now encourage people like her to "feel the fear, tap, and take action". So tapping as you go is preferable to waiting for conditions and feelings to be perfect.
We need to go further, however. For true success, we need to actually seek out some of the difficult things.
This excerpt from Seth Godin's recent blog post makes a powerful point:
It's pretty easy to bail out of a course (especially a free online course that no one even knows you signed up for). Easy to quit your job, fire a client or give up on a relationship.
In the moment, walking out is precisely the best short-term strategy. Sometimes this place is too hard, too unpleasant, too much...
The thing is, though, that the long-term strategy might be the opposite. The best long-term approach might be to learn something, to tough it out, to engage with the challenge. Because once you get through this, you'll be different. Better.
We always have a choice, but often, it's a good idea to act as if we don't.
This is precisely what I aim to do with my coaching clients and in my groups: I want to help them to get over their focus on short term thinking and get back in touch with what's most important and why it's worth going through this. If it doesn't fit with your values then it would never be worth putting up with the difficult "crap" that is involved in making a big change or making a big difference in the world anyway.
Focus on the big picture of "why" you are doing this, the important values that are served by doing it, and the end point which will make it all worthwhile... Staying focused on these bigger picture factors will be essential to sustain you through the tough times.
Your ultimate success lies on the other side of your current comfort zone. By definition, however, going outside your comfort zone is uncomfortable. That can only be worthwhile if where you end up is somewhere better, with a success that is meaningful.
There's another reason too: We need you to do this. The world needs you to bring forth what you have. In the immortal words of Bucky Fuller:
You do not belong to you.
You belong to the universe.
The significance of you will remain forever obscure to you,
but you may assume you are fulfilling your significance
if you apply yourself to converting all you experience to highest advantage to others.
In Part 2 we'll look at a really useful process to help you step outside your comfort zone and move beyond your fear to embrace your meaningful success.
How to face your fears and do the hard stuff (Part 2)
In part 1 we looked at why taking difficult steps and making tough choices can be crucial to your overall happiness and success. Here's another piece of this, and a process which can make taking those difficult steps more easy (after all, just because you have to go outside your comfort zone to succeed doesn't mean it has to be soooo uncomfortable!).
"The hard choices - what we most fear doing, asking, saying - these are very often what we most need to do." - Tim Ferriss
In Tools of Titans, Tim Ferriss describes a process he calls "Fear Setting". He discovered this when he was stressed out, working way too many hours in his business, and just knew that he had to get away from the business or it would kill him. The results radically changed his life and his business model, and led to his bestselling book The 4-hour Work Week. He now uses this process every quarter to help him decide how to move forward.
Fear Setting involves looking at the worst case scenario deliberately, then using that to help you plan. The best thing about this process is that the very act of facing what you fear is in itself liberating. We do this all the time in Provocative Energy Techniques (PET), where we go to the greatest fear and humorously bring it out in the open. The mere act of doing so can help you put your fears in perspective. In PET the humour and good connection and tapping also help to deal with the challenge of facing your fear.
Ferriss has other things he does here, too, to make the process of facing the worst case scenario a more positive experience: He first defines what all the horrible consequences might be, then considers what he might be able to do to prevent or offset any of those consequences, then what he might be able to do to repair the damage IF that worst case scenario actually transpired.
We should all relate to this since a normal human brain automatically considers the possible negative consequences of any course of action anyway; we are essentially pre-wired to focus on worst case scenarios! The reason our brains work in this way, apparently, is so that we can work out a way around them. So it has a survival benefit.
Too many people, however, aren't taking advantage of the power available in this process, due to fear. Either they run away at the first glimpse that something bad may happen, and never go fully to the worst case scenario because they are too scared to do so. Or, worse, they fuse with, go into it, and even start to "live in" the negative future scenario as if it has actually happened to them. Therefore they suffer consequences that may not ever happen as if they are happening now.
Now the facing of the worst case scenario can be incredibly empowering however for the reasons I've outlined above, many people will either avoid going there out of fear, or get sucked into it rather than using it. And this is where Intention-based Energy Process (IEP) can save the day.
IEP can allow you to face your fear without having to get sucked into it. Why? Because the energy intentions and tapping release the emotion that is attached to these negative outcomes as part of the process.
My wife Louise helped to me see that one of the most profound uses of IEP is, in fact, using it to allow you to face the worst case scenario and benefit from the liberation that doing this brings. In making her art she's been able to move forward due to the fact that the IEP allows her to face the worst case scenario and make peace with it, something she'd never been able to do before.
How can you do this?
Well first, here are the two most important intention statements from IEP:
I release all my emotional attachments to X (X = problem, thought, belief, image, situation...)
I restore the right energy flow to Y (Y = body area)
In this case, we are going to use the intention statements on the projection, or fantasy, which is, in fact, what a worst case scenario is. It is simply a cognitive creation. But what gives it it's seeming power is the emotion that we have attached to it. Release that emotion and you can look at the worst case scenario without being so hooked by it. And when you do, you'll be released from its negative spell.
Go ahead and do that now with one of your fears: Identify the worst case scenario and then use the first releasing statement on your projection(s). And use the restoring statement on any disturbances you notice in your body's energy.
Ferriss's process also has another step: Consider what might be the benefits of even an attempt and even a partial likelihood of success. Then, consider the costs and consequences of inaction, emotionally, physically, and financially. This is a crucial step that we miss when we are so focused on the potential costs of acting and failing, we don't consider the costs of failing to act in the first place.
I highly recommend following the "Fear Setting" process Ferriss outlines AND combining the tapping and IEP statements with that process. After doing this myself I was able to make several important calls including an important corporate call I'd been putting off, which resulted in a meeting.
The world needs you to overcome your negative projections, and the best way to do that is not to avoid them, but to face them. With tapping and IEP we can be empowered to do that, and get on with producing great things that will help the world.