Retooling My Brain, Part Two: Turning Fear into Confidence
My second area of focus for mind reset is my fear factor. I have been living in a constant state of low frequency fear for as long as I can remember. When I analyzed this underlying deep-seeded depletion of energy and distraction, I realized I was fearful for a variety of reasons. The list includes a fear of getting in trouble, a fear of looking foolish, a fear that my businesses will fail, a fear of not making enough money, a fear of others’ scrutiny, a fear of getting into a bind and not being able to “handle it”, the fear of dying… I think I hit all the classics. I know it’s much easier to diagnose the problem than to implement the solution, but between mindfulness and baby steps, I have made progress.
How I Look at It Now
With a Calculated “Risk”: I ask myself two questions, “What’s the worst thing that can happen?” and “How will this look in a year from now?”
With the Unknown: I trust my resourcefulness; I’ve handled quite a bit in my life. I have faced huge business challenges, have prematurely lost two people who were very dear to me, and have been physically attacked. Although in hindsight I’d do things differently, in the moments, I managed to abate/navigate the challenges and have healed with a 100% success rate.
With Letting People Down, Being Too Pushy, or “Leaning In” Where I Shouldn’t: My intentions are always good. I’m settling into the idea of not being perfect. I’ve committed to learning from missteps in protocol. My track record is building to be pretty good, so I won’t appear as some sort of flake when I misstep.
Regarding Potential Business Failure: In Israel, there’s no social acknowledgment of truly failing; it’s assumed that when a project does not succeed, you’ll learn from your mistakes and bring those lessons with you in your next enterprise. With this as a model, my fear of failure is dissipated, and I can carry onward each day with a renewed level of confidence.
On Embarrassing Myself: With failures small and large, my supplemental fear had been of appearing weak or unintuitive in front of others. When facing the challenges of running my restaurant in the 1990’s, I would clear my head by referring to The Man In The Arena….an excerpt from a Teddy Roosevelt speech which centers around the idea that effort does not come without error or shortcoming. My fears, including potential embarrassment, melted away as gracefully as my famous Sambuca Chip Ice Cream**.
Money Matters: A wise woman who runs a high-net worth consulting firm once told me, “Every woman, no matter how wealthy, fears that she will become a bag lady”. I’m no different. However, logic dictates that I can always fall back on my experience and skill sets in restaurant management, bartending, and consulting to make ample money to live on. Besides, it’s beneficial not to have expensive tastes (except for food and wine!). It’s her words of wisdom that remind me of this logic, keeping my financial fears at arms’ length.
And As Far As Dying Goes: We all will one day. In the present, I remain humbled when I think about my lucky existence to date. I’ve lived a blessed life, and have helped further and satisfy a little corner of humanity. I fell in love with the quote “My heart is at ease knowing that what was meant for me will never miss me, and that what misses me was never meant for me”, by Imam Al-Shafi’I, an eighth-century Muslim jurist. Now, instead of investing energy in fearing “what if’s”, I will practice looking at the vast possibilities therein.
** This does no indicate that I no longer face the same fears with each new day. Overcoming fear is a challenge that’s always in progress, and it is people’s special words of wisdom that guide me along, providing a constant reminder that the elimination of fear is practical and actual.
Link here to read Part One of Retooling My Brain.