Shola’s Note: Hey Solutionists! In my effort to introduce you to some amazing people who are working hard to make this world a more positive place, I have another treat for you! On this month’s Solutionist Spotlight, I have the honor of presenting Dr. Meghan Elkins–she’s an optometrist, a CrossFit enthusiast, and she’s the head lady in charge over at the Choose Your Happy Blog. So, without further ado, here’s Meghan!
Fear can be paralyzing.
After being offered the chance to guest post on The Positivity Solution, the first thought I had after my initial excitement was one of fear. Many ideas were running through my mind, but I couldn’t pick a single one because I was scared that they wouldn’t be good enough.
Am I enough? Are my words enough? Can I reach anyone with my thoughts? What could I write that hasn’t already been covered here? Will it be too short? Did I make a mistake by saying “yes”?
I even read Shola’s Conversation With Fear, and even though I could rationalize how silly my fears were, I still had those negative thoughts.
I have been in that place of self-doubt before. This place limits our dreams if we let them, and inaction tends to become the rule. I was afraid of failing, of letting others down, of letting myself down. I had to stop being afraid and just move away from negative thinking. I had to confidently walk toward happiness.
A Choice: Happiness or Fear
If happiness is a choice, then fear could be a choice, too. Is it possible that individuals can actually be afraid of being happy?
I know many people who revel in unpleasantness. They blow off plans with friends and then whine that nobody wants to hang out anymore. The line between venting and complaining doesn’t even exist. They might not even care if they hurt someone’s feelings.
I lived that life for a long time.
I want to stop being afraid that the transformation I seek is too hard for me to achieve. I want to let my happiness grow from my heart, spreading through my being, reaching out to all those around me. I want to merge positivity with happy choices.
Here are four easy steps that help me overcome my fears in the face of opportunities, and they might help you catch a glimpse of optimism for your endeavors, too.
1. Take Three. Deep. Breaths.
“The Mother” from How I Met Your Mother runs into a panicked Robin in a wedding dress. The Mother simply tells Robin when she is overwhelmed she recommends three deep breaths before making a big decision. Such a simple step, Three. Deep. Breaths. is a way for us to check our thoughts before they go down the negativity rabbit hole to self-doubt and despair.
We can be afraid that things won’t work out the way we envision. Panic mode starts and anxiety increases with each passing negative thought. We dream of the things that could give us happiness and the things we would like to accomplish, but our fears prevent the realization of that happiness. The Three. Deep. Breaths. just might save your dreams.
2. Focus on What Could Go Right
Someone on the other side of the country could be in need of a reminder that he doesn’t have to be unhappy. A guest post could revolutionize the lives of thousands of people! Okay, let’s be real here… at least someone other than my mom might read my post.
But that guy? I could be his reminder.
Sure, a guest post might flop. Or moving for a job means leaving your friends. Fixate on what could go wrong and you are bound to fail. You want motivation? Focus on the benefits. I promise that it is a lot more fun thinking about the pluses.
3. Believe It Could Go Right
You might get lucky a few times and have things work out in your favor if you only focus on the positive aspects. But if you believe in yourself and your decisions the odds of success increases.
Babe Ruth called his shot and knocked that ball into center field. Does that mean I can walk to the local baseball field and hit a home run just because I think I can? Maybe if it was the little league field! The Great Bambino believed in himself and found success.
Please note I am not trying to suggest that something will go right if you take the above suggestion; I am simply asking you to believe it could.
4. Take the First Baby Step
Perhaps we should all step up to the plate of opportunity and call our shots? Inaction in life is being forever stuck in the on-deck circle. We cannot hit a homerun until we step inside the batters box, though!
After we have taken our Three. Deep. Breaths., identified what could go right, and begun to believe in our success, all that’s left is getting started.
Our fear of failure defeated, we allow ourselves the chance to go for our happiness. We choose to fight against self-doubt, negativity, and failure. Happiness is a short, confident walk around the corner!
Do You Need a Reminder?
Fear can be paralyzing, yes, but you can choose to defeat it over time. You do not have to be unhappy; you have a choice. Your choice to refocus your thinking to what could go right continues the cascade to happiness.
And remember, you will be okay if your opportunities don’t succeed. Who cares if you fail? At least you tried.
Go and realize your dreams. Breathe, focus, believe, and do!
Meghan Elkins is the primary author of Choose Your Happy Blog. Her big girl job is saving vision two eyeballs at a time. You can find her outside of the eye clinic at CrossFit, running a marathon, or eating cookies. Connect with her via Twitter (@chooseyourhappy) and on the Choose Your Happy Blog’s Facebook page.