Are you swimming in the Fast Lane? How to stop playing it safe and start playing BIG!

Which lane are you swimming in- (1)I am a swimmer. I’m pretty fast, usually the fastest in the pool during the slower midday hours but I always swim in the medium lane. Why? Because life in the fast lane is actually fairly slow, in fact, everyone is swimming at a much slower pace than me.

I began to examine this a little more and realised that, generally, men swim in the fast lane and women swim in the medium lane but the medium lane swimmers are faster than the fast lane swimmers! I’ve come to the conclusion that on the whole, men are often much more confident in their abilities than women and are more willing to assert what they see as their rightful place in the fast lane. And rather than go toe to toe with them, women will retreat to the medium lane where it’s safer and more familiar.

We can use this as a metaphor for what happens outside the pool too. Men are raised to put their hand up, step forward, take on the challenge, even when they aren’t qualified or experienced enough to do it. But women don’t behave like this. We wait until we are picked, asked, or are certain we are really ready before we put ourselves out there. And this lack of confidence holds us back.

We need to stop playing it safe and start playing big – just like the boys!

Believe you can do it

One unhelpful thinking style that many of us have is the tendency to amplify the importance of other people’s opinions and minimise our own. We assume that others must know better and we diminish the knowledge, experience and intuition that informs our own opinions. It is valuable to incorporate other people’s ideas and feedback but the motivation to try something new should come from within.

The best way to find inspiration is to write a diary, take notes or document your ideas. You might not think you have anything interesting to say, but most changes occur after you’ve weighed up the pros and cons and come up with a plan.

What’s the worst that can happen?

Imagining the worst case scenario serves two purposes; firstly, when you actually consider the worst possible outcome from your actions it is rarely as scary as you think it will be. Secondly if you know the worst case scenario you can better plan for it which will help alleviate much of the anxiety around it. It’s not about being less afraid, it’s about doing it anyway.  Swimming in the fast lane is hardly going to kill you and if one of those annoyingly self-assured men swim up your bum, give him a swift kick to the Speedos. Seriously though, you don’t need to beat men at their own game, you need to redefine the rules of the game to include women. Use your emotional intelligence and compassion, especially your self-compassion, to dive in the deep end.

“Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage.” Anais Nin

Tame your inner critic

We all have an inner critic; that part of ourselves that keeps reminding us that we are not smart, strong, brave or talented enough to fulfil our dreams. How many times have you said to yourself you’re not ready to do something or you don’t think you’re good enough? Simply trying to ignore your inner critic will not help. According to Tara Mohr, author of Playing Big, you need to tame it:

“So here’s the thing: we do need to respond to the critic, but not by meeting it with its language. Just notice the critic, as an observer, and name it. “Oh, hey, that’s my inner critic talking.” Kindly say, “Thanks so much for your input! But I’ve got this one covered! You can relax.”Or get out of mental dialogue entirely. Get into action. Connect. Start doing the thing it’s chattering about. Respond by remembering that this is the same stuff your critic has been saying to you for years, that it has yet to be proven true, and that today, like every day is your opportunity to prove it false.”

Failure is an opportunity to learn

One of the barriers to taking risks is our need for achievement and this is particularly true for perfectionists. We do not want to do something if we don’t think it will be a success. But what would happen if you redefined success on your own terms? Instead of approaching your goals with a focus on achievement you could approach them with a growth or curious mindset; “I wonder what would happen if I did that?” or “I would love to know more about graphic design at the end of this project”. Define your own success based on your values rather than on what you believe to be society’s expectations.

Another way to look at it is that in competition sport and job interviews and various other pursuits in life, there can only be one winner, which means that there’s an awful lot of “losers” or people who miss out. It’s good to keep this in perspective so that you don’t think you’re the only one who’s suffered defeat. The more you trust your instincts, your experience and knowledge, the less likely you’ll find yourself worrying about failure or what other people think.

Be inspired by others

E GilbertLook to other women who have taken risks and who inspire you. These aren’t beautiful celebrities or successful entrepreneurs, they’re your mum, who raised three kids on a single income or your neighbour who’s been through a lot but continues to have a positive outlook on life. Actively listen, take notes and ask questions. What worked for these women and what didn’t? What do they do when they hit an obstacle or have a bad day? How do they manage emotions such as anger, frustration, fear and rejection.

Next time you hit the pool, try out the fast lane for size and tell those boys to eat your bubbles!

Time flies when you’re having fun (or not). How to reclaim your time and start living your life. Page 2

Be choosy

As mums we can often feel as if we have very little choice in how our day pans out. We are at the mercy of other people’s schedules; our children, the school, our bosses. This lack of control can make us feel helpless and without options. But the truth is you always have a choice. Sure, there are consequences to your choices but ultimately, you can control how you use your time.

There are certainly some obligations and responsibilities we cannot escape - children need to be fed, bills need to be paid, pets need to be walked. Rather than complain about these obligations you can make active decisions about them. Yes, I have to work but I hate my job so I’ll look for a new one. Yes, I have to make dinner each night but if my kids have spaghetti three days in a row I’m okay with that. We spend far too much time doing things we think we should and far too little doing what we want. When it is your choice you don’t see it as a negative.

Be thoughtful

You always have time for the things you think are important. If you aren’t making time for yourself and the things you love then what you’re saying is that these things are not important to you.

iStock_000015655939SmallHow do you separate the important from the inconsequential? Identify your core values and prioritise your time based on what is important to you. What matters most? Is it your kids? Your career? Your relationship with your partner? One of my core values is connection. So tasks that bring me closer to my core value of connection will always be a priority for me. Given the choice between unpacking the dishwasher and gossiping with my sister over the phone, my sister wins every time. When you focus on your core values the stuff that really doesn’t matter becomes very obvious (hint: it’s almost always housework!).

Checking in with your core values not only helps you decide what you want to do, it can also help you to decide what’s not so important. Whatever is on your To Do list did not get there by magic. You chose to write it down. You said yes to it. With your core values in mind ask yourself:

  • What can you stop doing?
  • Who can you start saying no to?
  • Where do you waste time?

Be prepared to ask for help

Chatting Over DrinksTo be blunt, mums suck at asking for help. But in order to create more time for yourself you need to get comfortable with asking for and accepting help. The saying “it takes a village” didn’t come from nowhere. The idea of a mother providing for all of a child’s needs is actually a very recent phenomenon and is unique to Western middle-class society. Enlist the support of other mums, dads, extended family, neighbours, child care. Share your quest for more “me time” and gather together a band of merry supporters.

If you don’t ask, the answer is always no. And you’ll be stuck at home on the couch with your well-earned cup of tea and seventeen minutes to drink it.

Time flies when you’re having fun (or not). How to reclaim your time and start living your life.

L042webThe number one complaint I hear from mums is “I just don’t have the time!” It doesn’t matter what we’re talking about -  exercising, relaxing, working or even sleeping, busy mums feel intensely ‘time poor’ almost all of the time.

At work we feel the pressure to complete more projects than our colleagues who don’t need to leave early to pick up the kids from school and at home we are ruled by our children’s needs and schedules, leaving us very few precious moments to enjoy our own pursuits. The little bit of life where we are just ourselves and not “Muuuuuuummmmmy!” or the person who keeps forgetting to submit her timesheet seems a lifetime ago. We are much more than just mums. We are whole people with interests, passions and adventures to plan and embark on.

iStock_000017271036SmallIt was recently reported that mothers in the UK get 17 minutes of “me time” per day. I can’t imagine that the Australian statistics are any different. But this 17 minutes was usually spent “catching up on the latest soaps, watching TV in bed, reading or enjoying a well-earned cup of tea”. Shoot. Me. Now. If a cup of tea is considered well earned, I'd love to know what these mums think of a massage, time to paint or a weekend away with the girls.

So how can busy mums who are under intense time pressures create more time to do the things they love every day? Well, there are plenty of time management techniques out there and some of them are valid. But they’re mostly based on the idea of squeezing more into your day, jamming it full of more of the stuff you think you should be doing in order to lead a more productive life. Overscheduling often ends up enslaving us in an endless pursuit of achievement. And achievement does not necessarily equal fulfilment. You may have completed everything on your To Do list but did you actually enjoy your day?

What if I told you that to have more time for the stuff you love (which I hope includes yourself) you actually need to be doing less; less of the stuff you hate, are not good at or don’t really care about. That to have more time you need to stop thinking of time as your boss and take ownership of it. If you’re anything like me you use time as a beating stick to punish yourself by constantly focusing on how little you got done in a day or how much there still is to do. We mark our success by how much we can achieve in 24 hour blocks.  Having a more realistic relationship with time is a whole new way of thinking and it will take some practice to master. Here are 4 ways to reclaim your time and do more of what you love every day.

Be Present

Eckhart TolleThe first step is to be more aware of the here and now. If we’re always worrying about the things we haven’t done or need to do, we’re not taking the time to enjoy what we’re currently doing. Stop thinking about what’s next and start focusing on what’s now. One way to do this is by single-tasking. Single-tasking is the act of doing one thing at a time with your full attention. It promotes greater productivity and accuracy and helps to alleviate anxiety and stress.

Even the most mundane moments  - cooking dinner, grocery shopping or dealing with customer complaints can be moments to savour. Look for the beauty in all that you do. Perhaps it is the smell of your washing powder or the song in the store or maybe it is the chance to connect with someone you have never met before.

When you focus only on what is happening right now any regrets of the past or worry about the future fades.

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Intensive Mothering: the ultimate in self-smothering – page 2

Realistic ideas about motherhood

L013webWhile some mothers feel pressured to measure up to idealised standards it appears that others are using their free will and resourcefulness to redefine motherhood for themselves in an act of resistance. A new legitimisation of the diversity of motherhood is emerging. Women are questioning the logic of Intensive Mothering.

According to a recent study published in the Journal of Marriage and Family, parental time involvement is less important for children’s wellbeing than a mother’s education, family structure or family income. In other words more time spent parenting doesn’t necessarily lead to better outcomes for kids. The study looked at both “available time,” when parents were in the same place with children, and “engaged time,” when parents were directly interacting with children. Increasing either kind of parenting time had no effect on a child’s wellbeing as measured by assessments of behavioural and emotional problems and academic performance.

We know that by constantly comparing ourselves to others, our self esteem takes a battering. For example, someone in your mother’s group says she reads three books to her child every night before bed and you beat yourself up because you only read one. You tell yourself you’re not as attentive a mother as your friend, but of course, your child is going to be just fine.

When we find ourselves in these situations, we need to ask some probing questions to determine whose expectations we are actually trying to meet.

Some questions that can help you develop critical awareness are:Mother Comforts Crying Baby Girl

  • Who benefits from these expectations?
  • How realistic are these expectations?
  • Can I be all of these things all of the time?
  • Do my expectations conflict with each other?
  • Am I describing who I want to be as a mother or who others want me to be?
  • If someone sees me differently to how I see myself what will happen?
  • Can I control what others think of me as a parent and the decisions I make?

Critical awareness provides us with the tools to really examine who benefits from our expectations (hint: it’s not us) and gain the confidence to stand proud in our parenting decisions.

Reading about motherhood can also be useful, as long as the literature is sound. Relying on blogs written by wonder mums or magazines that perpetuate the ideals of Intensive Mothering just fuel the mummy wars and parental guilt. Everyone presents themselves as an expert you should listen to, but at the end of the day, a happy and healthy child doesn’t require hours of developmental activities or the latest brain-boosting, skill-building 5-star rated toy. Cuddles and kisses come free.

Reading list

The Conflict: Woman and Mother – Elisabeth Badinter

The Mommy Myth: The Idealization of Motherhood and how it has Undermined Women – Susan Douglas and Meredith Michaels

The Feminine Mystique – Betty Friedan

The Cultural Contradictions of Motherhood – Sharon Hays

Motherhood and Feminism – Amber Kinser

Maternal Theory: Essential Readings – Andrea O’Reilly

Of Woman Born – Adrienne Rich

 

 

 

 

Intensive Mothering: the ultimate in self-smothering

Are you one of these mums …?Mothers are all slightly insane.

You take your three kids to the park every afternoon. You schedule weekly activities at the library and swimming pool. You spend Saturdays making homemade playdough, kicking a soccer ball and teaching piano chords. You pack a nutrient-rich lunch with sandwiches shaped like traffic lights. You help with homework, read stories every night, iron school uniforms and buy new sneakers before they have a chance to fall apart. You also squeeze a full time job into part time hours, volunteer in the school kitchen garden, exercise regularly, monitor your diet in order to look ‘yummy’, and have regular sex with your husband. You never lose your cool in front of, let alone at, your family.

If this is you… you’re a complete liar! Or you’ve got a nanny/cleaner/cook who does most of the work, or you’re one step away from being picked up by the men in white coats and driven to an undisclosed location where you’ll be stabilised on very strong medication for the next 6 months.

Ok, so that’s a bit over the top, but the point is we’re all trying to be this woman, this wonder mum. While our ideas of what makes a good mum may differ slightly from our peers, we share similar views on acceptable parenting, and the dominant ideology in white middle-class society is Intensive Mothering.

So what is it?

Sharon Hays defines Intensive Mothering as the onerous amount of time, energy and finances we spend on providing for our children’s emotional, physical and intellectual development. Heavily reliant on “expert advice”, we have made our kids the central focus of our lives, and if we’re not giving them our undivided love and attention at all times and providing them with endless opportunities and resources, we’re consequently not doing a very good job.

While not all women are intensive mothers, it appears to be the current standard by which we measure parenting. Intensive mothering is a white, Western phenomenon and excludes people from disadvantaged backgrounds and developing countries, where mums are encouraged to be wage earners over caregivers.

In middle class communities, stay-at-home mums who make children their primary focus are considered the best mothers. Yet despite the increasing numbers of women who work outside the home, we’re actually spending far more time with our children now than we did four decades ago during the idealised era of motherhood when mummy wore a frilly apron and kitten heels and baked apple pies all day long. Full disclosure - I am all for bringing back the kitten heels!

As women have brought more education and commitment to their careers, they have also instilled these qualities in their other job of having and raising children. From the labour room onward, women strive to over-deliver. Intensive Mothering requires sacrifice, dedication, strategising and long hours doing thankless tasks. In other words, it’s exactly like climbing the corporate ladder except there’s no glass ceiling or annual bonus. Unless you are these women.

How does it affect us as mothers?

There is no way to be a perfect mother,Idealised views of motherhood aim to set women against each other rather than unite them, as well as create unrealistic goals that are almost impossible to achieve. This is illustrated by the so-called mummy wars where stay-at-home mums are pitted against working mums in a battle of who’s doing the best job. This “war” is manufactured and serves only to distract parents from the real issues they face, such as inadequate childcare options, difficulties in re-entering the workforce and non family-friendly workplace policies. For stay-at-home mums in particular there has been significant internalisation of the mummy wars, with some taking great pains to separate themselves from working mothers, believing they need to be a fulltime caregiver in order to give their kids the best possible start in life.

The biggest problem in all of this is that we’ve turned motherhood into a difficult and complex task that is damaging our mental and physical health. The standards of parenting are ever changing, ill-defined and contradictory and they will remain that way for as long as we continue to buy into it. Unattainable ideals coupled with an inability to understand that we don’t have to listen to the “experts”, buy the most expensive baby products or pay undue attention to what other mums are doing, has had a significant impact on our mental health. Single mothers, working mothers, lesbian mothers and other women outside the proscribed “norm” are even more likely to suffer psychological harm.

 

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Find Your Fabulous Group Coaching

L017webJoin me for a free introductory group coaching session at Selby Community House. After the session you will have the opportunity to sign up for a 6 week group coaching program for just $90.

Find Your Fabulous: Group Coaching for Mums

  • Are you ready to take your life from good to great?
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Join, Lauren Wills, ACC, CPC, MSW, certified life coach, for a 6 week group life coaching course especially for busy mums like you. During the six weeks you will create new awareness, clarify your core values and goals, generate solutions to your most pressing problems and create an action plan to make real lasting changes in your life.

Group coaching is not only an affordable alternative to individual coaching, it provides a confidential, safe and nurturing community of other mums to learn, share and laugh with. Spaces are limited to 6 women per group to ensure you receive individual attention and get the most out of your group coaching experience. Childcare is available.

FREE introductory session, Friday 31st July, 9.30am - 11.00am

6 week group coaching program Fridays 9.30am - 11.00am, 7th August - 11th September

To enrol phone Selby Community House on 9754 2039 or email selby@selbyhouse.com.au

Selby Community House, 1 Minak Road, via Charles Street, Selby

Have you got the music in you? – Page 2

Soundtrack to your life

Have you ever been so touched by lyrics in a song that you feel like you could have written them yourself or that the songwriter must know you on some deep unseen level? I once had a boyfriend who told me that he felt like Ben Folds knew me better than he did. He was probably right! Lyrics are a bit like horoscopes, we read into them what we want to but that doesn’t diminish their value. Your interpretation of a song lyric can give you insight into your deepest thoughts and emotions, regardless of what the writer actually meant. Have we figured out what American Pie is really about yet? Use your journal to write down some of your favourite lines and riff on them for a bit. What comes up for you?

Sing!

Better than yogaI love to sing and not just to torture my children. You don’t have to be able to sing well to enjoy the many benefits (lucky for me!). The best thing about singing is that it forces you to breathe, really, properly breathe. Singing involves regular controlled breathing like meditation. You breathe out on the phrases and inhale in between. Serotonin is released which relaxes you and in turn benefits your heart, lungs and immune system. So go on, belt out some Barbra and get happy!

Share the joy

One way I love to use music is as a tension reliever, not for me, but for the kids. My kids fight like, well like brother and sister, and it drives me mad. When things are clearly tense between them I break out our dance party play list and we have an impromptu disco in the lounge room which resets everyone’s controls. Now, my kids haven’t quite figured out what a dork their mother is, but if yours are teenagers or have hit that “God, you’re so embarrassing Mum” stage you may want to try cranking up some of their favourite tunes and then go about your business. The shock of you playing death metal will either make them laugh or retreat to their room, either way they will stop annoying you. Seriously though, music is a fantastic way to connect with your kids over something they love.

One good thing about musicMusic therapy whether formal or informal can provide physical, emotional and psychological benefits for all of us. By incorporating a little music into your day you can reduce stress, improve your mood and connect with your kids.  Of course the dancing is optional!

Have you got the music in you?

When I’m really stressed, I jump around the lounge room to The Rolling Stones. I belt out the chorus of Honky Tonk Woman with every fibre of my being and by the time Mick and I have finished, I feel completely invigorated. Apologies for oversharing but this slightly embarrassing pastime of mine has lead me to question the role music plays in my own emotional well-being.

My personal version of music therapy is not exactly a science, but for many people suffering from chronic pain, disability or mental illness properly administered music therapy is helping them to connect with their emotions and other people in a way they never have before. There are two types of music therapy; active music therapy, where the participant or a group of participants play musical instruments or sing along with the therapist, and passive music therapy, where the participants listen to live or pre-recorded music. Music therapists assess the emotional, physical and social functioning of their clients, using musical improvisation and appreciation, lyric discussion and analysis and song writing and performance.

Music is what feelings sound like (1)Research suggests that music therapy is appropriate for a variety of populations such as the elderly, psychiatric patients, adolescents, cardiac and neurological patients, cancer patients, and people with disabilities.  Many of these populations have limited verbal abilities so music represents an alternative to language based therapies such as psychotherapy and cognitive behavioural therapy.  Even people with sound verbal skills may find it difficult to identify and express emotions to a therapist. Music can help them to have more awareness of what is going on for them.

Music is what feelings sound like

Music therapy works on an emotional rather than intellectual level. For many of us our thoughts are so busy, we’ve lost touch with how we’re really feeling. Using music in your everyday life may allow you to reconnect with the emotional part of yourself. Start with some of the suggestions below.:

Mood playlist

Mood playlistDevelop a playlist based on mood. Choose songs that elicit particular emotions when you hear them. You can choose songs that will motivate you (think beyond Eye of the Tiger!), cheer you up, energise or calm you. Playlists that provoke big emotional responses are also a great way to get in touch with what you are feeling. If a song makes you cry, there might be an emotion that needs some attention.

Musical memories

Like photographs, some songs just remind us of experiences and people from our past. Your wedding song, that song you played on repeat when you broke up with your first boyfriend (hello Whitney!) or the song you used to sing at karaoke with your friends. Researchers at the University of Southampton found that listening to nostalgic songs raises self-esteem and promotes optimism which better prepares people for psychological adversity. So break out your old vinyl or CDs and reminisce.

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What’s stopping you? How to conquer self-doubt. Page 2

Playing to your strengths

When I work with clients to overcome self-doubt I find that a strengths-based approach is most successful for getting over the initial hurdles. Instead of looking at all the things you don’t have, as self-doubt does, a strengths-based approach seeks to determine all the skills, resources, systems and knowledge you do have to get the job done. Ask yourself:

  • What skills and resources do I have to tackle this particular challenge or goal? Nothing is insignificant – typing speed, ability to prioritise, patience, friendliness or a pleasant speaking voice are all skills that may help you achieve your goals.
  • When have I been successful at something like this before? When did I think I couldn’t do something but I did it anyway? What helped me get over my doubts then? What can I do differently this time? What can I do the same? Set up visual, auditory or written reminders of your successes.
  • Who can support me during this time? Ask others what your strengths are, collaborate with people you respect, ask for guidance from a mentor. Know who your biggest fans are and hang out with those people. Who inspires you? Find online apps like Truth Bomb to help keep you motivated and curious.

Write down your goals and the ways in which you can use your strengths to help you get over your ambivalence. For example, you may be hesitant about starting your own business. But then you remember a friend who has successfully gone out on their own who may be able to mentor you. You also know that you are organised and methodical and have a marketing degree. You do some online research into small business and talk to as many people as you can. The evidence starts to mount up.Just keep swimming

When you are clear that you have what it takes, it’s time for action. When in doubt always choose action. It doesn’t really matter what you do, just keep moving, you can always choose a different path later on but you need to start somewhere. By setting small goals that you can achieve quickly and easily you will build self-trust through accountability – you are doing what you said you would do. And each milestone will add to the pile of evidence about your capability. Stay present, work where you are right now. Build on your successes and remind yourself that progress is a positive outcome.

When you step outside your comfort zone self-doubt is inevitable. Everyone from Bill Gates to Angelina Jolie has expressed self-doubt in their abilities and confidence. By learning to recognise just how capable you are and beginning to trust yourself you will achieve things you never felt possible. Start small and keep reminding yourself of how satisfied you’ll feel when you’ve learned how to say “I’m a good person” in French.

What’s stopping you? How to conquer self-doubt.

Do you have big plans for the future? Maybe a change of career, losing ten kilos, or signing up for those French lessons you’ve been talking about for years. What is stopping you from starting something new or accomplishing your goals? If you’ re anything like me, you think about what you want to do and then you talk yourself out of it. “I’m not good enough. I can’t do it. I’ll look stupid. Everyone else is so much better than me.” Sound familiar?

Self-doubt can manifest in many ways. You may minimise or hide your true self to avoid rejection or only express yourself when you are assured of a positive response. Self-doubt disconnects us from important parts of ourselves. It leads to a chronic need for reassurance and acceptance from others. We all have times where we feel we can’t make a decision without input from every friend, family member and salesperson we meet. This represents a lack of self-trust, a gap we are looking for others to fill. But perhaps the biggest problem with self-doubt is that it leads to inaction.

Doubt kills more dreams

It’s a scary world out there

Self-doubt is a particular problem for women, especially when we are about to take on a new challenge or step out of our comfort zone. We often experience fear which we translate into self-doubt. If I was ready/good enough/meant to do this I wouldn’t feel so scared. We constantly compare our backstage with other people’s front of house.Tara Mohr, women’s leadership expert and author of Playing Big: Find Your Voice, Your Mission, Your Message, distinguishes between two types of fear – pachad and yirah – Yiddish terms taken from the Old Testament.

Pachad represents an imagined fear, it is often irrational and out of touch with reality. Fear of public speaking is often a pachad fear, we think that people will laugh at us or walk out if we stumble over our words or make a mistake but in reality this is highly unlikely. Yirah on the other hand represents the fear we experience when we have more energy than ever before, when we are taking up more space, when we are about to take a leap of faith. It is the fear we have before riding a rollercoaster or going on an overseas trip for the first time. It is exhilarating and liberating. Where pachad contracts, yirah expands.

It is important to know the difference between these two types of fear. If we simply label them as fear we can convince ourselves that we aren’t ready and self-doubt will creep in. To help distinguish between the two types of fear, Mohr recommends you ask yourself:

  • What part of this fear is pachad? What are the imagined outcomes? Write them down.
  • What part of this fear is yirah? Is it my calling? Savour those parts.

Listening to your fears

You cannot stop self-doubt creeping in, you can however manage it. One of the first things to accept is that self-doubt is protective.The amygdala, the part of your brain that processes fear, has been triggered and is trying to keep you safe from danger; primarily the danger of social exclusion. Evolutionarily speaking we live in groups for protection and exclusion from this group means death. This sounds extreme but it’s a good reminder to take it easy on your self-doubt as it is, in its own way, trying to help you.

If we don’t give emotions the proper attention they deserve, they tend to gain strength. Take the time to acknowledge your fears. If you’re in control of your emotions, you won’t be blindsided by them later down the track. One way to acknowledge what you are currently feeling is through a self-compassion meditation by Dr. Kristen Neff. Once you have given a voice to your self-doubt, try and understand what it is seeking to protect you from. Is it pachad or yirah? Is it realistic self-doubt? Are you taking on too much right now or is perfectionism taking hold? If it is realistic self-doubt, revisit your goals until you feel yirah rather than pachad.

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