I have feared coming back to London after 3 weeks in Nicaragua. Every time I go travelling I come back with a feeling of sadness, a desire to book another flight, a tremendous amount of energy and a head full of ideas.
This time in preparation for the emotional jetlag, I did fear setting, an exercise devised by the one and only, my favourite baldy Mr. Tim Ferriss.
It actually worked the treat! Being able to identify where I am at, where I am going, the choices ahead and, more importantly, the beliefs that may be stopping me from moving forward, made the whole time zone debacle a very pleasant journey indeed.
I’m going into full Life Coach-mode here. So brace yourself and read on because this little insight will mend any anxiety you may have and will help you make that decision you have been putting off for a while.
My fear setting exercise title ended up being: Relinquishing Control. I was -trying to use past tense here- prone to impatience, because I thought that by controlling all outcomes, including other people’s actions, I could predict the future and protect myself from a fall.
Sure, there are certain difficulties you can sand down, prevent and smooth before the storm. That is one of the main objectives of fear setting. I truly believed I was a quirky tyrant due to my determination and knowing what I wanted. As it happens, when I started writing, I realised that I control to sooth and avoid pain.
So here is the deal. My fear wasn’t about coming back, that was the easy part. The concern was about the next adventure, the future, what’s coming, who is in charge, who is going to screw me over, who is going to add value, how much, how long would I have to wait, and am I truly doing this whole thing alone?
I got ready to get the task done, set myself up, got the unicorn pad out and the unicorn pen, and started. In no particular order, these are my recommendations.
First thing, you have to take the armour off. I know, I hate it too, but this exercise will work better if you are in your true vulnerable self. To get ready, I visualised the worst case scenario. It sucked but it was like getting into character.
Second step once you start, don’t stop. Ah ha! Because I tell you something, once you are honest and establish what you’re afraid of, you will not stop writing; the list of fears will grow and grow and grow. They are treacherous and will get you confused, better divide the fears in areas and don’t get them all mixed up.
Thirdly, don’t edit. Part of exploring the elements that make you anxious or that paralyse you is to be able to get a little ridiculous, because logic doesn’t come into play when we are scared.
Fourth and last, don’t make excuses. This exercise is for you and you only; it is a gift to get clarity, to make decisions, to be more insightful and to get to know yourself better. Just do it. Set a time for it and don’t get up until you’re done.
Once I got to the core of the true fear that was paralysing me I noticed that my angst had gone down by about 70%, which is absolutely mind blowing. I’m focusing on relinquish control, that’s homework for a while I think. There is an entire pad to go through of the other fears on the list. I’m purposely blurring the lens I see the worst case scenario and consciously distorting it to help me bother less about the imperfections.
I could never truly protect my heart from getting broken, there’s always going to be something when one is vulnerable, but at least I can be clear in what and how I focus on when I’m on a long haul flight.