I took myself off for a few days last week as I needed to take the time to do some deep inner work. I’ve learnt to recognise my own saboteurs and act fast before they set in and take control.
I was reflecting on the years that I spent mired in fear and how the fear that I assumed was controlling my lack of contribution and confidence was the fear of failure. Oh, how wrong I was…
“What if I fail?”
That’s a classic that’ll really hold you back, keep you small and stop you unleashing all that pent up genius within you. It’ll keep you awake at night, filled with anxieties and imagining big failures.
But, it’s just as likely that the fear of succeeding will have a tighter rein on you. If something works then you have to do it. You have to deliver, and not just once, but many times. If it works you’ll have to top it.
If it works, your whole world changes. New success means unknowns, new threats, new challenges…
AND that’s exactly why you will sabotage yourself, without even realising that that is what’s happening. It’s time to call you out on your own BS!!
Recognise that the part of your brain, the reptilian brain that served to protect you (from sabre toothed tigers), to keep you hidden and unseen is at play when you:
- Feel fear
- Blame, complain, criticise and judge
- Make excuses not to take action
- Perfect rather than put-out your creations
- Spend too long consuming and learning instead creating and doing
- Embrace the status quo
- Fall ill or have an accident (especially when you’re on the brink of bold action)
- Wait for tomorrow
Look at that list.
Do you recognise any of those behaviours? You do, right? Well, here’s the great news that I know you know but I’m here to remind you:
It’s all in your head!! You’ve created all the scenarios to protect you from your own success. It’s not failure that frightens you.
It’s your success that frightens you! Your lizard brain is so intimidated by the unknown world that awaits you and your genius that it is pulling out all the stops to keep you in the familiar.
Steven Pressfield calls it “resistance” to your art, to your true purpose.
DON’T LET IT WIN!!!
Start calling it out. Say the following, or variations of, out loud as soon as you recognise the BS and you’ll have your lizard retreating in shame.
- “My lizard brain is making me anxious”
- “I’m procrastinating because my lizard brain knows that if I got on with the work I’d be unleashing my genius”
- “I’m blaming others right now because blaming keeps me from doing my best work”
- “Thank you Lizard but no thank you” is great when you’re starting to criticise yourself.
Also note that the closer you are to achieving the breakthrough that your genius is itching to unleash, the stronger the resistance – the stalling, the swirling fears and self-doubt.
The only way round is through.