Overcoming Fearful Feelings

Here’s a short article that I wrote in January 2011 and published to the nlpskillls eGroup on Yahoo Groups that I am editing just a bit.   It didn’t get onto this more recent blog until now.

Viktor Frankl famously said:  “Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response.  In our response lies our growth and our freedom.”

I think this is the basis of NLP change work.  Since all behavior can be said to be ‘unconscious,’ when we bring problem states into conscious awareness, we expand the gap or space between stimulus and response.  We get the chance to choose and that creates the freedom to change behaviors.

Another interesting point is that ‘all growth’ seems to lie outside our comfort zone.  I recently watched an old Star Trek movie re-run. Growth is a lot like the Star Trek imperative to go where no one has gone before; to get ‘outside our comfort zones.’  We have comfort zones around our relationships, families, work, income, home, our friends, our routines, and the clubs and groups that we belong to.  Outside these comfortable zones, we are generally in uncharted territory.

People tend to fear what is unknown and different from them. We tend to be stressed by uncertainty.  Sometimes we stay centered and take on challenges as if they are just another opportunity to grow.  All too often, however, we go into a defensive mode, preparing for what may never really happen.  We can create whole fearful realities and most of what we fear never happens. The positive intention of this type fear and resistance is to protect and keep you safe. And that’s a good thing.  If an ancestor were confronted by a dinosaur, he or she could stand and fight or run away fast.  Either way, the chemistry of fear got burned up, but we live in a different world now.  Our evolutionary nature is programmed to protect us from harm and fear of harm, but most things we fear are made up in your mind and not real and sometimes we actually create bigger problems avoiding perceived fears.  We even have fear of fearing what we fear.  Mostly we fear ‘new territory’ and the ‘unknown.’  You might say to me, “But I have evidence that I should be fearful.”  What you have is conditioning; and where is it from?  It’s from the past.  Consider the notion that the past is a myth.  Remember almost any past event.  Even that probably didn’t happen the way you remember.  Memory is notoriously inaccurate. (F.E.A.R. is just False Evidence Appearing Real)  So, be in action.  Do it anyway, regardless of any resistance or your fearful thoughts.

The benefits of overcoming fearful feelings is pretty big. When we ‘go where we have never gone before,’ we often realize that it was not nearly so bad as we had imagined (see NLP Anxiety Cure). We learn we can do more than we thought we could and we get more raw data to make better choices simply by moving forward.  This leads me to outcome setting or goal setting.

Setting new outcomes or goals in life is an exercise in going outside comfort zones.  We have to imagine something bigger, better, or just different.  In my NLP study of highly successful people, the lesson is that we have to risk thinking new thoughts, doing new things, trusting ourselves and others.  High Performance involves trusting yourself and if at any level, you don’t, simply doing what is necessary regardless of how you feel.  I call that courage.  Get outside your comfort zone.  Do almost anything in the direction of your outcomes, right now, immediately.  Take ACTION!  Exercise your freedom to choose.  And now notice how it feels differently in your body when you do act.  Anchor that feeling and do it some more.

Now, what if I could help you install ‘certainty.’  What if there were NLP Processes designed to help you deal with anxiety.  How would your life be different if you no longer had access to the old fears or when you do have similar responses, they trigger something different; something much more powerful in terms of living your life with a higher level of quality and meaning.  Give me a call 606 321-7192.  We’ll set an NLP Coaching schedule.

Bill Thomason
Executive Coach & Strategist, Certified NLP Master Trainer www.nlpskills.com