Saturday, September 29, 2018

Don't Fear This, Fear That!

When we commit to doing something outside our comfort zone, when we no longer allow excuses to excuse us from what we really want in life, an unwanted visitor always shows up at our door—FEAR.

Think about it. How many times have you been excited about something, maybe even signed on the bottom line, but then laid awake at night feeling overwhelmed and anxious about what you committed to? When the tension becomes too much, you decide that it's easier to renege and be satisfied with status quo, except that you're not satisfied. Instead you continue to live with a dull ache knowing that there is something more you expected from life—something more you have to give.  

You may look at other people who are pursuing their dreams—living life bigger—and think they don't experience fear. You're probably wrong. When it comes to fear, no one gets a pass. So if you wish to live life fully, plan on fear coming along for the journey. In other words, expect fear to show up. Give your fear a name. Talk to your fear. And then tell your fear to get out of the way of living your one and only life with gusto.
To help you get started, I created a "Don't Fear This, Fear That!" list. Not all fears are the same. In fact, we often fear the wrong things. We misinterpret tension and uncertainty as fear when actually these feelings mean we're onto something that can make a positive difference in our lives.  

According to Seth Godin, author of What to do When it's Your Turn, and it's Always Your Turn, "Great work is the result of seeking out tension, not avoiding it. Great work doesn't require reassurance, in fact, it avoids it." Let's get ready to do some great work!

1.     Don't fear greatness, fear mediocrity. At the end of your life when asked, "How was it?" do you want to respond "mediocre?" If not, then begin to do something about it today. Let the fear of mediocrity fuel your dream and pursuit of something more.

2.     Don’t fear life getting bigger, fear life getting smaller. Where are you thinking big? I often have people tell me they plan to downsize in retirement. This may be appropriate when we’re talking about stuff—material belongings, but it should never apply to our life expectations and dreams. These are the wrong things to make small. Think big. Act bold. It’s too late to play it safe.

3.     Don't fear failure, fear regrets. Live a life where in the end you'll be able to say, "I'm glad I did," not "I wish I had." In the end, you'll have more regrets for the things you didn't go after than the areas where you fell short of success.

4.     Don't fear stepping outside your comfort zone, fear being stuck.  There is power in taking just one step, even if it seems insignificant. According to Mallika Chopra, author of Living With Intent, "Every step reaffirms your intent, then empowers and helps create more energy for living the life you want." Lean into your dream. Do one thing today that will bring you one step closer. Keep walking—don't back down. As Elizabeth Gilbert says in her book, Big Magic, "You cannot afford to back down. The life you are negotiating to save, after all, is your own."

5.     Don't fear fear, fear fearless. I'm not suggesting that you should fearlessly make changes in your life that may leave a destructive wake. There is a reason that fear bangs on the door when you think about trying something new or making a decision that involves risk. The challenge is to know when to open the door and welcome fear. ‘’

So what is your response? If you give in to fear, then fear has won the day and it will return again and again. Don't let fear win. Instead, begin with baby steps. Enlist a coach or accountability partner if that will help you move forward. Don't let yourself down. Retirement is the perfect time to live the life you were created to live.

Copyright 2018. Patrice Jenkins. All rights reserved.

Friday, September 14, 2018

Turning 60

Ten years ago I said, “When I’m 60 I will stop chemically coloring my hair and let it go naturally gray.” This week I turned 60. Now that the day is here, I’ve decided to hold out for another decade. Why not? 

Nothing is different between my last day of being 59 and the first day at 60, except for being one day older. While this is true, without much thought, it’s easy to let one year flow into the next. Before I know it, I’ll look back and ask, “Where did the time go?”

So that this doesn’t happen, authors Chip Heath and Dan Heath, in their book The Power of Moments, encourage us to use naturally defining moments to “recognize where the prose of life needs punctuation.” By pronouncing 60 a defining moment, I’m bringing shape to time. (Click here to read about a Midlife Whoa!)

With this mindset, the past few months I’ve asked, “What do I want for my 60-year-old self?” I’ve considered my level of life satisfaction in several domains, including relationships, health and wellness, personal and spiritual growth, physical environment, and fun and recreation. I’m asking, “Are there mistakes I’m making now that will keep me from being who I want to be ten years from now?”

The Heath authors write, “If we recognize how important these natural defining moments are, we can shape them—make them more memorable and meaningful.” That is my goal—to intentionally create a defining decade. Maybe then I’ll be ready to “go gray” at 70.

Copyright 2018. Patrice Jenkins. All Rights Reserved.