“Only those who risk going too far can possibly find out how far
they can go”. T.S Eliot
When you were growing up, were you ever told, “Better safe than
sorry”? If so, you may have innocently internalized this thought and
unconsciously allowed it to stop you from taking risks and enjoying
Every day, life gives us opportunities to either step forward into growth and
expansion or to retreat into the illusion of safety. Of course, anything that is
new to us can feel threatening and discomforting at first, but whether you
progress to a state of paralyzing fear or shift into the confidence to take that
life-changing opportunity depends on your inner dialogue.
For instance, when my book was newly published, I was invited to do my
first live TV interview. When I started to feel anxiety over this, I gave myself
some slack with this thought: “Of course you’re going to feel unsettled
doing something unfamiliar, but it will get easier with time”. I reminded
myself that even the most seasoned TV personalities were nervous the first
time they appeared on TV. I told myself this truth: “If they can do it, so can
As I teach my clients to do, I practice being aware of the thoughts that in the
moment are causing me anxiety, worry or fear and intentionally changing
these thoughts.. Once you tune in to the thoughts that are creating your
anxious mood, you are in the drivers seat to change your mood. Shifting
your thoughts is a habit which, when practiced, gets easier and easier. As
your emotional paralysis melts away, you set yourself free to explore new
life events and opportunities.
Here are examples of common anxious thoughts new life situations can
provoke and counteracting, calming thoughts :
Nervous Thought: What if I screw up?
Confident Thought: I’ll do great.
Nervous Thought: But what if I don’t do great?
Confident Thought: I can cope with any outcome. Life goes on and I’ll
have other opportunities at which to excel.
Nervous Thought: This is too hard. There’re a million other things I’d
rather be doing right now.
Confident Thought: I’m choosing this experience. There’s nothing I’d
rather be doing than what I’m doing right now.
Nervous Thought: Why did I ever agree to this?
Confident Thought: This is a great opportunity to expand my life horizons
and happiness. I’m grateful for this opportunity.
Nervous Thought: I’m scared!
Confident Thought: I’m excited!
During my TV interview, although I still felt initially nervous, I was calm
enough to do well. In fact, by the time the interview was wrapping up, I was
actually enjoying it. Now I had a positive emotional memory to forever
access and mentally rehearse whenever I was asked to do another TV
interview in the future.
What is scaring you today? An upcoming public speaking engagement?
An exam? Buying a house for the first time? A job interview? A difficult
task? An audition? Be aware of how your thoughts about the event are
scaring you and keeping you from stepping boldly into growth. Shift
your thoughts. You deserve the best life ever! Go for it!