For years, I’ve had really bad allergies. When I’d go outside, I’d immediately get a runny nose and start sneezing. I’ve tried all sorts of medicine. But no matter what I tried, nothing seemed to completely work.
Sure, I can get some temporary relief, but nothing offers complete relief.
Over the years I’ve wondered… what could I do to make my allergies better?
I’ve evaluated past flare-ups and tried to pinpoint why they were better or worse at a specific point in time.
The only common factor?
My allergies became less severe when I was outside more often. The one summer I worked for a lawn fertilization company then played golf every evening… my allergies were non-existent.
Another summer, when working indoors… I’d have hives break out on my neck and sneezing fits every time I went outside for an extended period.
Sure sometimes pollens or grass or whatever is worse or better… but the only success I’ve had at managing my allergies was being outside.
Since COVID, I’ve made it a habit to go on a regular walk… While my allergies still flare-up, they’ve been mild compared to what they used to be.
Why is this?
It’s because when exposed to the elements, our body adapts to the changes, thus making us less allergic to whatever is in that environment.
In the same way that exposure to the outdoors made my allergies less severe, exposure to your anxiety, fear, and limiting beliefs will allow you to overcome them and achieve better outcomes.
People who have phobias, panic disorders, or general anxiety are often be treated with exposure therapy.
Exposure therapy is defined as “repeated real, visualized, or simulated exposure to or confrontation with a feared situation or object.” (thanks Webster)
So, how does this apply to your anxiety, fear, or limiting beliefs?
Limiting beliefs is something that you believe to be true (that may not be) that limits you in some way.
“I’m not good enough.”
“I don’t have the experience.”
“I have a short temper.”
“Life isn’t fair.”
Limiting beliefs are so dangerous because they stop you from taking action. They tell you before you even start that it’s not worth trying.
Fear & Anxiety
We get fearful when we feel a threat. Fear activates our fight or flight.
Fear is one of the most powerful emotions out there, but it’s also something that gets activated when it should.
When we are presented with the unknown, fear presents itself. If we fail to face the fear, the fear will keep coming.
The same goes with anxiety. When we fail to address our anxiety, our anxiety intensifies.
I’ve often used the idea of being trapped in a room. As you fail to address fear/anxiety, the walls get one inch closer, and closer, and closer. Before you know it, you’re boxed into a room just big enough for you to stand.
When we address the fear/anxiety, we’re pushing back the walls, which widens the possible outcomes.
So, how do we overcome our anxieties, fears, and limiting beliefs?
- Acknowledge them. By acknowledging and writing them down, you take just little bit of their power away. When you don’t address them, they are passively chipping away at your confidence.
- Analysis them. Look inside and assess whether they’re true or not. Ask those around you the same. They’re likely false narratives that come from your past or present insecurities.
- Quit catastrophizing. When we allow ourselves to be controlled by negative emotions, we often think of the worst-case scenarios. Call those scenarios out and think about them. How realistic are they? I’ve found myself laughing at the stupidity of the things I come up with.
- Turn them around. Think of the positive. What is true? Repeat these truths to yourself over and over again.
- Act. Without action, the beliefs won’t change. Take a tiny step towards overcoming whatever it is you’re battling. If you’re afraid to cold call, make one call. If you’re anxious about a tough conversation, text the person that you want to talk (so you can’t back out). If you’re telling yourself you’re short-tempered, come up with a reaction plan for the next time the temper sneaks up.
Preparation is your friend. Mentally fight the narratives, plan how you’ll respond the next time, and share your plan with a friend.
When it comes to business, anxiety, fears, and limiting beliefs are killing your business.
“I can’t make cold calls”
“I don’t understand numbers”
“I’m just not a good supervisor”
When we label ourselves with a negative label, that label almost always finds a way to become true. I don’t think that’s a coincidence.
So, as you go about your week this week, take note of these emotions as they swell up.
Then, at the end of the week, look at the list and find common trends.
Next, turn them around. What’s the positive spin?
And finally, do something about it. Come up with a plan.
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