In my last post, I talked about overcoming fear by expanding our comfort zones and using our past experiences to give us strength in the present moment. I talked about how fear can be seen as a step in the process and a very astute reader noted “sometimes fear is also at step 5, 18 and 53! But the next step is always worth it.”
That is so true! And this got me thinking a bit deeper about what it takes to actually make it through the fear in that process. There is a part of me that really wants it to be as simple as the now famous Nike slogan…Just Do It! And like the iconic swoosh on the shoe, the “it” is fleeting and fast and DONE! Or like the witches in Disney’s Cinderella as they transform pumpkins into carriages and mice into horses…Bibbidi-bobbidi-boo!
Oh, how wonderful that would be. Give me a pair of good walking shoes (size 8 with an extra wide toe box thank you very much!) and a wand and watch out world! I’d bibbidi-bobbidi-boo the hell out of my fears.
And yet the word process says it all. It’s not a zap or a bobbidi-boo or a swoosh that gets the job done. It’s a way forward that is uniquely suited to the goal you’ve set for yourself. The internet says, process is defined as a series of actions or steps taken in order to achieve a particular end. So when I think about the step in the process for overcoming fear, two critical resources come to mind…support and accountability.
Getting myself from “I’m never going to drive in Manila” to ”Look at me, I’m driving in Manila!” took both of these resources.
SUPPORT There’s a romance to going it alone. We love the one-person-winning-against-all-odds stories. The movie is titled Rocky, not Rocky and Adrian and His Trainer Mickey. And yet could Rocky have done what he did without Adrian and his trainer Mickey? I don’t think so. I say, seek support early and often in the process. My husband was a great supporter with my driving. He knew I wanted to drive and he was there to give me encouragement and to physically be in the truck with me the first few times I ventured out. I also let my Bright Line Eating mastermind group know that I was thinking about driving and got some perspectives and encouragement from them.
ACCOUNTABILITY To get this right, it’s useful if you have a little bit of self-knowledge in your back pocket. Writer and podcaster Gretchen Rubin has a great quiz that helps you identify how you respond to internal and external expectations and it places you within a framework she has created called the Four Tendencies. Internal expectations are the ones you put on yourself and external are the ones that others put upon you. Knowing this about yourself can help you figure out how to create accountability that works for you.
On her framework, I’m an Obliger which means I meet outer expectations, but struggle to meet expectations that I impose on myself. That explains why I’ll get up at 5:00AM to meet a friend for a walk, but struggle to publish out this blog post each week despite the fact that I really want to do it. So for me to simply set a goal of “driving in Manila” with an expectation that my own wish and desire to achieve it would make it happen might have been a bit iffy. To really ensure that I accomplished this, I needed to create some forms of outer expectation that I felt accountable to. I did this by picking a start-driving-date and putting it on my calendar and by telling my husband about this date. Two external accountability agents (my calendar and my husband) knew about my goal.
Now don’t get me wrong, there is still that moment when you gotta bibbidi-bobbidi-boo and “Just do it!” but that moment is easier to arrive at and has less stress and anxiety when you get support and create the right accountability environment for who you are and how you operate. I would love to see a t-shirt with “Get Support & Create Accountability” emblazoned on the front with “Early and Often” on the back. It’s not very catchy, but it’s what works!
Pop Culture Note: Even the bibbidi-bobbidi-boo of Disney’s Cinderella is more complicated when you look a little closer. Disney has a way of making everything magical and clean and happily ever after, but that’s really just marketing getting their hands on the Brothers Grimm version of the story. I never much took to the pretty princess version of stories and always preferred the grittier, darker origin tales that came out of folktales of the past. That might also explain why my son likes Mysteries of the Museum and Forensic Files on television over traditional kids programming.