Develop a Pain-to-Power vocabulary
The words we use impact how we feel about our decisions; some discourage us while others empower us. By switching your vocabulary from positive to negative, you can inspire yourself to face your fears. Susan Jeffers recommends these changes:
I can’t becomes I won’t
It’s a problem becomes It’s an opportunity
Life’s a struggle becomes Life’s an adventure
If only becomes Next time
What will I do? becomes I know I can handle it
It’s terrible becomes It’s a learning experience
Expand your comfort zone
Most of us operate within our comfort zone, always afraid to step out of it, even if it brings us positive results. Susan gives some examples: ‘We might be willing to initiate friendships with people at the office who are at our level in the company, but would be uncomfortable doing so with one of the higher-ups. We might go to the local deli when eating alone, but would feel really uncomfortable in a luxurious restaurant all by ourselves. We might ask for a £5,000 raise, but £7,000 would make us cringe. We may charge £30 an hour for our services, but we don’t feel we are worth £35.’
These are just a few examples of the ways in which our comfort zones hold us back. There are so many positive outcomes to be gained from venturing out. Try stepping out of your comfort zone – slowly – taking small ‘risks’ at first, and then larger steps.
Mute your inner chatterbox
There is a little voice inside of all of us, a chatterbox, which is constantly telling us all the things we cannot achieve. Our inner chatterbox is the voice of doubt, a source of negative and discouraging thoughts, which can stop us from going out and overcoming our fears.
Make a conscious decision not to listen to your chatterbox. If that’s too difficult, try to change its voice. Instead of a harsh, negative voice, imagine the voice of someone who cares for you. Would they tell you to be afraid, or would they be positive, encouraging you to reach your potential?
Use paradoxical intention
Paradoxical intention is when you just do the thing you fear. For example, Susan had a student, Doris, who was extremely frightened of having a panic attack in public spaces – she even feared she would have one during class. One day, Susan encouraged her to use paradoxical intention and show the class what a panic attack looked like. She encouraged her to do the very thing she feared – have a panic attack during class. Doris tried hard but couldn’t do it, and began to laugh at herself. Through paradoxical intention, she realised her fear was unfounded and overcame it.
Make a Pro-Con list
If you have the chance to step out of your comfort zone, but are afraid, Susan suggests you make a pro-con list, noting down everything you could gain from submitting to fear, and everything you could lose from facing it. As you write, you will start gain awareness of the consequences of your fear, and of how much it is holding you back. The choice will be clear.
Have a Pollyanna attitude
Susan tells the popular story of a girl named Pollyanna, who ‘made a game of finding something to be glad about in anything negative that came into her life. ’Unfortunately, most people now use the term, ‘being a Pollyanna’, as meaning ‘naïve and unrealistic’. In fact, choosing to see the silver lining in every situation will help you have a positive outlook on life.
Surround yourself with positive messages
Our mood is greatly affected by our environment – our house, our office, our car. Try filling the places you spend the most time with positive messages and good vibes. Listen to positive affirmations like, ‘I can create a beautiful day’, whilst you are getting ready in the morning, on your commute, or while you exercise. Attach sticky-notes with uplifting quotes to your mirror, your kitchen cupboards, and the inside of your car. These encouraging messages will mute your inner chatterbox.
Adopt a no-lose attitude
Most people are afraid of new challenges because they are afraid of failing. It is important to remember that failure isn’t a loss – it’s a win.
Even if something doesn’t work out, it gives you valuable experience. Every new venture holds the potential for a more confident, knowledgeable you.
Susan writes, ‘you’re not a failure if you don’t make it; you’re a success because you try.’
Say yes to the universe
One of Susan’s teachers once told her, ‘say yes to the universe.’ She asked her what she meant exactly, and she replied, ‘It’s simple. Whatever happens to you in life, just nod your head, up and down, instead of shaking it, side to side. Just say yes instead of no.’
Susan thought that these words were incredibly powerful. This mantra teaches us to live in unison with our fate, take advantage of what comes our way, and never let fear stop us from moving forward.