Fuck focusing on hopes and dreams. Deal with fears. Use them as a stepping stone

All these articles about people telling you to set goals and work on them. They are right. You absolutely should visualize your goal, create manageable concrete steps to make it happen and get on it. What’s missing though is your starting point. What’s missing is making sure you are all equipped and ready, realistic, powered up, and made for success, not slipping away. Again, I agree with these articles; making a change is about having realistic goals, realistic assessment of where you are and a plan to get from A to B. What’s missing is the realistic assessment of what’s in our way. Especially, especially! if it’s us in the way.

What if. What if we are our biggest challenge? We can come up with plans and actions for others, for external things, but we might overlook us. We might think we know us, “we’re lazy, can’t keep up with a routine, feel sceptical about …”. But. Dig deeper. Dig deeper.

Before you set to your dreams and stumble and fail to make them happen, think about what’s in your way. It could be time, it could be money, it could be you not waking up early enough in the morning to have a 5km run before work. It could be you not doing something in the now. But. What about you sabotaging yourself getting to your future. What if you, your fear is the block. What if you are actually the one standing in your way? What if you, unconsciously, are preventing you from getting from A to B?

So. As any proper goal setting guide / life coach (I’m so available btw lol) would tell you, let’s start with B. But instead of the normies in the field and their steps to get there, let’s start with the visual. Picture B. Picture your end goal. Tell me what scares you when you think of it. Ever had B, or something close to it? What would B look like? All exciting and great and easy or scary and concerning? What is there waiting for you? If you take the steps to be there, what will it look like? With great accomplishment comes …responsibilities…assumptions…perceptions… in our heads and others, and in our heads about the heads of others.

And the way there? How’s your mind? Supportive? Questioning? Doubtful? Full of aggressive negativity? Either in an actively bad way harming your progress , or with good intentions blocking your way, blocking your future hurt. Whatever your mind’s reasoning we need to have a chat about why are we in our way; to scare, protect, block or sabotage.

So. Let’s have a chat with our mind. Have a conversation.  Write stuff down; What and where do you want to be? Why? And. When you will be what and where you want to be, what will hit you?

  • Been there or close by and got hurt somehow? How?
  • What can hurt you?
  • What can destroy you?
  • What do you need to deal with you don’t have to right now?

Is that what you think might happen? Do you know it will or is that an imaginary scenario in your head? Where’s the proof?

I myself want to be looked up to. I have very humble goals of being the smartest, most respected, prettiest, happiest, most successful person in the world. I love the idea, dream of it. But I’m also very aware of what it comes with; constant visibility and judgment. Each move, each win or mistake will be judged by multiple others, not just in my close circle of friends but with a broader audience. I will be in the spotlight. If I win, it’ll be great. But if I lose, if I make a mistake, I will be laughed at, judged by all.

It’s paralyzing. Strong. Massive. I’m safe for not doing it. I used to live for the change, not giving a s… about what others thought. The past 2-3 years I’ve lived in the convenance and safety of not making waves. I’ve gained tons of weight, lost my fighting spirit, got used to merely existing. I dream of one day being the prettiest, smartest, most respected again. But. That would require me to make a change. That would require me to expose myself to all the internal and external judgment again.

Should I or should I not. Make some waves or purely live by. I see value in both, I understand both. But. If you want to make a difference, it better be your choice for the right reasons, for the right reality. I get just wanting a calm life. I get wanting more. I want more. I do want to make a difference again, and, well, that will require me to face my fears and doubts. It will be scary as hell.

So. My choice. Your choice. Our life. Let fear dominate us, or address it, use it as a building block. Let fear make us stronger, better, smarter (you got it Kanye!), and readier. And I do mean readier. AND if that’s not a word it really should be. I don’t just mean really, I mean reallier.

If you want to make a change, face your fears. Face your mountains of fears. Climb on top of them, step on them. Use them as a view point of all you can be, of all that could and is there waiting for you. All that you can start with if and when you put your fears behind you.

They hate you. They judge you. They feel sorry for you – Do they, do they though? Let’s bully our internal bully

Let’s continue on our internal conversations with our internal counterparts. How great is it to have your internal non-cheerleader; someone to hope you fail, someone to set you up for failure, someone to be there for you when you do fail, to bring you down; “I told you so”. Your forever companion of negativity. So sad they are not on the guest list for 2022.

We’ve taken that as a fact, a given, that the voice exists, and that they know what’s up. Our world, life so far has been a series of actions from us and internal commentary from them. It goes a bit like this:

Voice: Ha ha. People judge you, they laugh at you

Me: You’re right *feeling ashamed*

We might have tried to fight them as an intermediate step, but ended with:

Voice: Ha ha. People judge you, they laugh at you

Me: I’m sure they don’t

Voice: They do though. How sad/bad is it that you just….

Me: You’re right *feeling ashamed*

Bring on the 2022 move! Let’s turn that commentary into a real debate and not let them push us around:

Voice: Ha ha. People judge you, they laugh at you

Me: Do they? For what?

Voice: Well you just… and it’s sad/bad because it is.

Me: It is what? Sad/bad because of?

Voice: It is. It just is. People will judge.

Me: Why would they even care though? If someone did that with me around, I wouldn’t care, wouldn’t think much of it

Voice: But. Sad/bad. Feel. You. Bad.

Me: Nah, bro. Fuck off. How sad/bad is it that you thought this would work on me. Ha ha.

Voice: *feeling ashamed*

Here’s what we’ll do. Internal voice making you feel bad; stop; ask it why? Stay with it, don’t accept just bad because. Make it explain itself. Stay, discuss, reflect; is it now bad, or was it pre-2022 bad. Is it actually bad at all? Does it now make sense to feel bad?

Don’t just go with the “what would others think” -scam. Think for yourself. Think about what others would actually think: do you think they would actually think what the voice claims they would? What would you think if it was you in their shoes and you in theirs? Would you think they should feel bad/sad/embarrassed? Would you care? Would you go to your friends and laugh about it? Would you make them feel bad about it? Would you remember it tomorrow, or two weeks from now, or a year from now, will it make it to your memoir?

And. How about taking a coffee shop view on that? You sitting there, having a coffee, and this happens to random people next to you? Would that matter to you? Would you care? Maybe for the moment, but after? Would that change something?

Let me give you some examples from my life. I even created an excel table for them, that always helps; I mean, who doesn’t love a good excel table. Makes it all sound scientific and shit.

What happened (facts)What I felt (feelings)What others could have thought and I should have (alternatives)My today’s take on that
2016: I was with my mum having a drink, waved at a waiter to get the bill, he understood that as a new drink order, he brought a drink, I had to correct him, he brought the billI felt ok, at first. But my mom was telling me, and for the next few months at least everyone she talked to “…even I knew she signalled new drink, how embarrassing”. So I felt like crap, with continuing reinforcement of feeling crap.The waiter? Doesn’t care. It happens.   I highly doubt the waiter went home and called up all his buddies with; “guess what happened at work today! Some stupid girl didn’t get the “can we pay” hand signal right. Let’s all laugh at her.”F you mom. That’s the story you tell from me paying for your trip to visit me? F you, you’re the one who should feel embarrassed.   And now that I think of it, the waiter didn’t even complain, certainly didn’t laugh, they turned away, took the drink back and brought the bill. It was not a big thing for them – my mom made it a big thing for me.
2018: Walked to the wrong meeting room interrupting a senior leaderThey must think I’m the dumbest of all, complete embarrassment, never to be spoken again, they will laugh at me my entire career – probably telling my manager I was a horrible hire and should be fired.The senior leader? Probably doesn’t care.

People make mistakes, and it’s not like no one else in the world has ever opened a wrong door. Who cares. I’ve been in meeting rooms where people have accidentally opened the door. They apologized, closed the door, we continued our meeting. Life went on. I certainly did not think much of it. It happens.
That manager was one of my biggest supporters. Guess one day of opening the wrong door did not outweigh 2 years of awesome work. Who would have known?
2020: Bought 2 bottles of wine from the same store on two different days during the same weekI can’t go to this store again (actually went to a different store for the next couple of weeks). The cashier must think I’m an alcoholic. They must feel so sorry for me. I bet when they see me coming they just go “oh no, this one again, how sad” and they talk about me with all their cashier colleagues.The cashier? Well, guess they could have just gone with “another customer”.  Or “can’t wait for my shift to be over”. Or “what will I have for dinner”. Or “really hope the cute new cashier smiles at me”. Or a million other things.  

While I guess this cashier could remember every single customer and their purchases, and keep track of them, maybe it’s not that realistic. They might be more interested in their own life than mine. Also, even if that cashier would remember me and me buying wine twice a week and judge me for it, should I care? Why would I care what a random person thinks of me. How would that change my life?
I for damn sure will go to that store again and buy whatever I like how many times a week I like and not feel bad about it.  
2021: Drunk texted a dude on tinder, ended up meeting him at a bar for drinks, then went to a club with him to dance, and then took him homeOn that night I felt awesome, it was a great night! But then the next few weeks came and everyday I had to deal with: “it’s so sad that you did that, getting drunk, sleeping with a stranger, I bet people from work saw you in the bar, what would they think, you’re supposed to be a senior leader and you’re there drinking and dancing, so embarrassing, everyone’s talking about it at work, they are laughing at you, they might even tell the news, it’s going to be in the local news, you’re so getting fired…”It was a Friday – people go to bars on Fridays. And what do people do in bars; they drink.  

I’m single. I danced with a single guy, I had drinks with a single guy, I hade a one night stand with a single guy.  

Who actually cares? Maybe super conservative people, but would those people be in a bar on a Friday? And how’s that actually related to my work? And what would this news article read as? “Single 30 something woman had drinks in a bar and left with a man”? Scandalous!  

Ffs.
Enough with this internal shaming! And putting additional spins on things! I’m done, so done. Kindly fuck off.    

Let’s make that our change in 2022; if and when these voices appear, make a conscious change. Have a chat with the voice, don’t just accept what comes out of its imaginary mouth, make it justify itself, watch it mumble and fail, bully it to death like it has bullied you. Tell it to fuck off.

We all have our cringe worthy moments, it’s normal. We might facepalm, feel bad and embarrassed. But what it should not do is stay with us, we should not take 50 times the damage because something internally is making it 50 times worse than it is. It should not stay with us for years and years and should definitely not have us second guess our worth or every move. Let’s not let those voices in in our 2022. Let’s stop them.

And to keep up with the scientific and shit nature of this post, neuroscience agrees; there’s a nifty trick for behavioral change, the if…then approach. IF something happens, THEN you will do x. It’s not just about saying we won’t let the voices bother us, it’s about having a clear counter-action for when they do. IF a voice is unreasonably making me feel like shit, THEN I will have a chat with them about it; so what? Should I actually care? Why? Would others think what? Why? Is that a bad thing? Do I care? What happens next? Will the world end? Oh nooooo, idiot voice, fuck off.

It won’t be easy, and it will take time. Keep on it. Here’s another scientific fact; it takes 18 to 254 days to form a new habit, to get rid of the old and form a new. So it might well be a full 2022 thing, but be patient, keep on it. I certainly will.