I was 10.
I was at school and the teacher was talking to us about the starving children in Africa. We were learning about NOT wasting our food and NOT being greedy because there are children out in far off places of the world who are STARVING!
Hard to fathom and truly grasp as a 10 year old kid in a pretty privileged 1st world life.
In all of my 10 year old innocence though, I made a decision that I was going to do something about that problem.
At lunchtime I sat down with my 2 besties and we forged a plan to have a bake sale.
We would get our mums to bake a whole lot of yummy stuff, and then set up a stall at the gate at my house and sell it all to anyone passing by and then send our money to the poor starving depths of Africa.
Starvation problem SOLVED.
But then something got in my way. I was too scared to ask my mum to help bake food AND more importantly I was too scared to tell her that I had volunteered our house as the base of the operation.
My what if’s reared their ugly heads.
What if She says no!
What if She shuts it down?
What if I get in trouble?
What if this idea of mine is a joke, and I get ridiculed and embarrassed?????
I didn’t say anything. It was the OBVIOUS next step!
In an avoidance of the fact that she MIGHT say no and put a stop to my plans – I AVOIDED possible confrontation and/or defeat by ignoring the issue.
The night before our proposed bake sale – I baked! I made a few batches of Chocolate Chip cookies and a chocolate cake.
The next morning, my two friends arrived with an embarrassing amount of amazing baking.
I felt physically sick – MUM WAS DEFINITELY GOING TO FIND OUT NOW!! (Duh?)
Plus – I had not even come close to providing the amount of goodies that my friends (with the help of their mums) had.
Needless to say – Mum NOTICED something was going on.
Back against the wall I had to address the elephant in the room and explain that I had indeed volunteered our home to be the base of a bake sale…….
I burst into tears – pent up anxiety and fear exploded out of me in dramatic fashion. Poor mum was horrified that she hadn’t been given some notice to help do some baking.
I’m not in trouble? This isn’t a horrible idea?
What the heck had I been so worried about?
Actually – Telling mum my plan was EASY, and it FELT good. I instantly FELT so much lighter and excited again about our big idea. I even had a little slither of pride that I had come up with such a stellar idea!! (oh yeah! getting cocky now!)
That fear of rejection, that fear of being told NO and fear of potential ridicule had stopped me in my tracks. And weighed so heavily on me, day and night building up to the big day.
Now the good news is – we set up our table at the gate, mum quickly and effortlessly whipped up more amazing treats for us to add to our offerings, and we actually sold ALL of our goodies.
So we were thrilled to take our money into school to give to the teachers to send off to Africa.
Well I don’t think I need to state that obviously our little bake sale didn’t quite end Africa’s hunger problem! But hey, a little bit is better than nothing. And I do believe that every little bit counts…
So - the moral of this little tale:
Fear – one acronym for FEAR is False Evidence Appearing Real.
I’ve gotta tell you that my mind took my imaginings and exaggerated them to ridiculousness – and yet for me…. IT appeared to be REAL. My fears were palpable. My stomach was in knots, and those physiological feelings were all due to MADE UP THOUGHTS in my HEAD.
I was so afraid of the What if’s.
Silly little 10year old imaginings but this pattern can continue through our whole lives.
What FEARS have stopped you in your tracks?
What things are you AVOIDING that maybe, just maybe are only monsters under your bed – i.e. NOT REAL?
What if you took your power back from those fears and just took positive action?
It’s never to late to start fresh.
So here’s a trick.
Set a timer for 12 minutes and then sit down and start writing.
And NO – this is not a time where we get all modern age and type stuff on a laptop or computer – WRITE with a PEN onto PAPER! –
We’re going old school!!
You do not need to be super neat and tidy here – scribble, scrawl.
It doesn’t matter. It can be completely illegible, the point is NOT to be able to read this.
It’s just an activity to help get the thoughts out of your head and onto the paper.
OK – that’s the rules sorted!
Now just start writing all of the things you can think of that you were too afraid to do, or say or be.
You can bullet point it, shorthand it, or create descriptive sentences with every little detail (that’s up to you!)
Just WRITE and let the ideas flow.
You may find that the ideas come fairly slowly initially. Almost like you can’t think of a single thing to write down in the beginning, but once one idea hits the paper, suddenly another will pop into your mind and then the flood gates are likely to open.
Just go for it. Write. Write. Write.
NOW, when the timer goes off (at the 12 minute mark)
Put the Pen down and crumple (yes, it’s a word) up the paper.
DO NOT READ what you have written.
Then you can tear it up into tiny pieces and with great gusto throw it in the bin!!,
or burn it (if you can do that safely!!!!)
You will find that this is not a one task fixes all kind of deal, you may have to keep coming back to this every week or month – you pick your schedule.
However often you choose, this will be a great first step to RELEASE some of those old fears that are hanging around in some compartments of your brain, holding you back.
And next time you have fears and doubts holding you on the platform of Procrastination Station, take a deep breathe and take ONE step forward!!