Tag Archives: fear

What Will You Risk For The First Time This Week?

I thought I was good at it.

Taking risks, I mean. I’ve certainly faced some fears (see my This Is Me page) and taking risks? Not a problem. Except this week…

The fear of an event is nearly always worse than the actuality, so I’ve read. I believe it’s true but I have to force myself to act on it sometimes.

I remember the waterfall in the Lake District.

We'll have to turn back

The roar of the torrent, the spray everywhere, the sheer height. I was overawed by it but somehow we had to cross over to the other side or else turn back.  I stood and stared, fear fluttering in my chest. 

As I stood there getting more and more scared, my attention was caught by a child in a red jacket, and his dog. He was running along, in front of his dad, clambering up the grassy path towards me, heading for the edge of the water fall. Then he disappeared from view and I assumed the path cotinued through the gorse bushes at the side.

I was still wondering whether we should turn back and take a different track, when there he was, on the other side of the waterfall, his red coat zig-zagging away and his dog following.

His dad was close by where I stood.

‘He’s crossed over! How on earth has he done it? Surely it’s too risky!’

He smiled.

‘We often come this way. If you go round the corner you’ll see the stepping stones! They’re slippery but it’s OK to cross if you take care!’

This week I’m taking a ‘risk’ with my blog.

I’ve decided to update this site and move on to the next stage of blogging.

Here’s how it’s going so far:

  • I decided I want to make the change.

Making the decision to make any change is often the easiest part. It’s only in your mind at this stage. No risk yet.

Writing it down can make it more real, so long as you don’t tell anyone, then you can still ‘turn round and go back’.

I did exactly this: I wrote down my plans to up-grade, but kept it to myself.

  • You seek support

If you’re scared to take the risk by yourself, look for someone to guide you.

Want to change career? Travel alone? Learn to ski? Write a novel? Talk to those who’ve’ been there, done it and got the t-shirt.’  I love this Danish Proverb: ‘He knows the water best who has waded in it.’

I did exactly this: One of my blogging friends, Arvind Devalia has indeed ‘been there, done it…’ and he is a consultant in this area. He will guide me through the whole process and I need have no fear.

  • What if?

Yes! I said it.

What if… I can’t manage the change?

OK, but what if I can, with Arvind’s expert help?

There’s always another way, just like the stepping stones that were hidden from our view that day. When we want to make a change or take a risk, it seems scary at first. But once you’ve thought it through, decided, and found support you’ll be so glad you did.

And, by the way, the view from the other side of the waterfall was stunning…

‘Take the first step in faith. You don’t have to see the whole staircase. Just take the first step.’

Martin Luther King, Jr.

Now it’s your turn.

What will you risk for the first time, this week ?

Header image by cursedthing, post image by 

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Filed under action, anxious, change, failure, fear, plans, positive, progress, risk, safe, success

I Have Something To Confess, How About You?

I hate cooking!

I sat down in my steaming hot kitchen, put my head in my hands and cried.

My face was flaming, there was ‘stuff’ on every work surface, recipe books were smeared with flour, the oven was working away, dishes were piled up, dirty pans that won’t go in the dish washer waited,  and I was in despair.

We were giving a ‘dinner party’ for  six guests (I know, not exactly a crowd) and I’d been running round in circles since early morning. I thought I’d been looking forward to it. I’d written my lists, done the shopping, even  laid the table. But the fact remained – I was in tears.

Apparently I’m not alone.  A recent press survey reported that many of us find the whole dinner party thing more stressful than seeing the bank manager or commuting to work!

So what’s the problem?

Here’s my Positive Spin.

  • I don’t like being ‘judged’.

There are so many cookery shows on TV and it looks so easy! They’re run by real chefs, all with years of training and experience,  owning  successful restaurants. Of course their meals are amazing. That’s what their diners expect! Of course I can’t match their expertise. But somehow, when I have friends around for dinner, because I’m not a natural cook, I feel judged.

  • I don’t want to ‘fail’.

I feel embarrassed if my roast potatoes aren’t perfect, my sauce has lumps (surely not!) or the steaks are over/undercooked. I worry that my menu won’t live up to expectations.

  • I feel out of my depth.

At the last dinner party I went to there were three desserts.  I just can’t compete!  What will they say if I only produce one! I don’t know how to make filo pastry by hand, unlike my talented friend. I’ve not mastered the art of home-made ice cream or perfect cheesecake.

And so it goes on.

So! What can I do about it?

  • I need to get ‘real’.

Sharing a meal is a way to get together and enjoy one another’s company. If cooking for a dinner party puts me out of my depth then I need to be very brave and say, ‘ We’d love to see you for dinner. I’m not too confident about cooking so we’d like to take you out instead.’

It doesn’t have to cost a fortune, there are plenty of great pubs in the UK that serve moderately priced meals and even more choices in the US.

  • I can cheat!

There’s an amazing array of food out there, ready cooked. Indian food is especially plentiful and not expensive. I’ve found fantastic savoury pies, casseroles and pasta dishes on sale in some butchers’ shops, along with fruit pies, crumbles and mousse. Sometimes I buy the main course but make the dessert. Or I make a really easy but tasty and interesting starter.

I always tell my friends that I cheated and they don’t turn a hair. At least, not so far as I can tell. It’s their company that’s the most important part of the evening.

  • I must live in the real world.

Everyone has skills. Everyone. Not everyone is an expert cook, home decorator,  dress-maker…. whatever. It’s time  to stop stressing about it and simply confess that I don’t enjoy trying to cook restaurant style food for guests. It’s silly to pretend otherwise.

There! That feels better…

How about you?

Is there anything you need to confess? Go on, you know you want to…

You’ll feel so much better if you do!

Header image by cursedthing, post pic by lisaclarke, on Flickr.

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Filed under action, adjust, anxious, change, confidence, expectation, failure, fear,, realistic, success

I Can Try To Solve Your Problem (With A Little Help From Your Friends)

This is your blog!

 And its aim is this:

I want to try to solve your particular problem.

Tell me your problem and I will give you my

Positive Spin.

 

 

Here are 10 areas I can help you with, as examples:

  1. How to find your confidence
  2. How to say ‘no’ and stick to it
  3. How to set and reach your goals
  4. How to deal with a difficult person
  5. How to conquer your fear of driving/heights/dating/water/any fear!
  6. How to give a talk for the first time when you’re very nervous
  7. How to speak up for yourself
  8. How to not be a doormat
  9. How to deal with a difficult aged parent
  10. How to find your self-esteem

Here are 10 ways Spinners can join in and help:

  1. discuss an issue
  2. provide interesting insight
  3. air opinions
  4. ask questions
  5. toss ideas around
  6. agree to disagree
  7. provide one another with food for thought
  8. be controversial
  9. view things from a different standpoint
  10. let off steam

I have a seriously long list of  ideas to write about,

but I  want to write about what helps you, specifically!

I need you to tell me what you would like me to focus on.

I will write about your suggested  topics – they will be my priority areas.

And all you Spinners can join in and make a noise!

Please don’t be shy…

Just tell me, in the comments, about a problem you’d like us to solve for you on this blog.

Lots of heads are better than one and, as they say, it’s good to talk…

Over to you…I can’t wait to begin!

 

Just in case you’re new here and you missed yesterday’s cakes,

I have a Guest Post over on weblogbetter today.

I hope you’ll pop over to read it during the next few days and  join in the comments.

And… if you missed the cakes, there’s one left- just for you!

 

Header image by cursedthing, post picture by Helga Weber, both on Flickr

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Filed under action, change, confidence, expectation, fear, goals, happiness, hope, persistence, plans, positive, progress, realistic, risk, success

99 Achievements You May Have Overlooked ( Not To Be Read All At Once)

from Turkuu

 

Going into space.    

Our achievements seem to pale into insignificance compared.  

Compared!   

Bad word.  

Every achievement stands alone.  

We can all list our achievements and believe they ‘don’t count,’ if we compare them with being a successful astronaut.  

The point is, there is no comparison. It’s impossible to compare.  

On Tuesday I asked a question about achievements and one of our Spinners commented that  

she had no achievements to be proud of,  

and that made me sad.  

As a result, I decided to compile this list of  

99 Achievements You May Have Overlooked (Not To Be Read All At Once)  

Each one has been achieved by a person I know, or know about,  and some of mine are in there too.  

1.   You create a cottage style garden, from scratch  

2.   You get out of bed in the morning when you’re severely depressed  

3.   You travel to London to work when you’re blind  

4.    You take up belly dancing again after a long break  

5.    You undergo chemo when you’re 6 years old  

6.    You undergo chemo when you’re 60 years old  

7.    You choose breast reconstruction  

8.    You choose not to have breast reconstruction  

9.    You pass your driving test after 13 attempts  

10.  You travel in a lift when you’re claustrophobic  

11.  You bring up your child alone   

12.  You are a carer for an elderly parent    

13.  You give up a well paid job to care for your sick child  

14.  You keep a ‘gnome’ on display in your garden, although you hate them, because it was a precious gift  

15.  You become a regular hospital visitor  

16.  You befriend a difficult neighbour  

17.  You teach your teenage son how to budget  

18.  You read Lord of the Rings without skipping any of it  

19.  You produce a Bat-Man fancy dress costume with 2 hours notice  

20.  You keep taking driving lessons although your hands leave damp patches on the steering wheel  

21.  You lose 8 pounds in weight in time for your son’s wedding  

22.  You help a child to make cup-cakes without losing your patience  

23.  You pay off your credit card  

24.  You cut up your store cards  

25.  You take a flight in a micro-lite, despite a fear of enclosed spaces  

26.  You go snorkelling despite a fear of deep water  

27.  You go up a long spiral staircase to the top of an ancient Italian tower despite an acute fear of heights  

28.  You leave your abusive partner after years of trying to do it  

29.  You climb a proper mountain for the first time  

30.  You give a talk to a large group of professionals in your field, despite your natural shyness  

31.  You go on holiday abroad by yourself after recovering from agarophobia  

32.  You walk a marathon with a friend for charity  

33.  You walk through a field of cows despite your fear of them  

34.  You go to adult swimming classes   

35.  You have an article accepted by a national magazine  

36.  You join a gym despite not liking exercise and go twice a week for 3 months  

37.  You pick up an enormous spider without showing your fear to your husband who’s petrified  

38.  You give up alcohol for a month to show you can  

39.  You drive on the motor way for the first time, despite your fears   

40.  You take control and sort out your difficult housing situation  

41.  You help an unemployed friend to update his CV and, as a result, he gets a job  

42.  You leave your comfort zone and fly abroad for the first time  

43.  You successfully learn to play golf so you can see more of your OH  

44.  You cure yourself of your chocolate addiction (well, almost)  

45.  You visit a friend in Intensive Care despite feeling very scared  

46.  You ask a child to teach you how to skateboard in the park  

47.  You painstakingly research your family history back to 1700  

48.  You go to the dentist for the first time for years  

49.  You sign up to a writing class and discover a hidden talent  

50.  You make jam for the first time and it sets!  

51.  You learn how to take excellent digital photos  

52.  You apply for a part-time job, now that the children are at school, and you love it  

53.  You go to assertiveness classes to help with bullying in the workplace  

54.  You receive one of the largest ‘office leaving collections’ ever  

55.  You are a ‘stubborn optimist’ (you know who you are!) despite being on dialysis for ten years  

56.  You are dyslexic and achieve your degree. You’re considering a Ph D to follow  

57.  You take a risk and get your ‘purple wallet’  

58.  You start a successful antique market stall with no previous experience  

59.  You complete your promotion exam for the prison service despite being severely dyslexic  

60.  You bravely decide to drop out of your uni course after a year of doubt and despair  

61.  You choose not to wear a wig when your hair falls out after chemo  

62.  You decide  to travel abroad by yourself so you go off to China with ‘Just You’ (for solo travellers)  

63.  You undergo a 30 minute MRI scan despite your claustrophobia  

64.   You adopt a mistreated cat from Cat Rescue  

65.  You perform Karaoke at your daughter’s party in front of a room full of strangers  

66.  You  sit with your father in hospital on his last day on this earth  

67.  You go horse riding for the first time since childhood   

68.  You achieve a 2.1 degree at 43 years old  

69.  You jump in the deep end and take Copyblogger’s 7 Link Challenge  

70.  You book up for piano lessons at 60  

71.   You write your autobiography and have it published  

72.   You travel to Canada to find your birth father  

73.   You hand in your notice for the job you’ve been unhappy in for ages  

74.   You take your cat to the vet knowing it’s his last journey  

75.  You finally learn how to make a decent cup of tea for your fussy MIL, despite never drinking tea yourself  

76.  You play the piano with your feet because you have no hands  

77.  You handle an enormous python, to prove you’re cured of s snake phobia  

78.  You stand up for yourself against a bullying boss  

79.  You sign up to take A-Level Art with your daughter at her college, and you get an ‘A’  

80.  You survive a stroke at 50 with great courage  

81.   You learn how to make Christmas pudding and it’s as good as his mum makes  

82.   You bravely remove the heads and tails from a plate of prawns to conquer your squeamishness  

83.   You decide to stop being a people pleaser and learn to say ‘no’ when you want to  

84.   You decide to take control of your children’s difficult behaviour and make a realistic plan to achieve it  

85.   You set aside a whole day every week to be you and stick to it  

86.   You make up your mind that you’re not just a housewife  

87.   You decide to stop harming yourself by pulling out your eyelashes. It’s not easy but you achieve it.  

88.   You join an internet dating site with confidence  

89.   You buy Dr Phil’s Book, Life Strategies, and start to follow his brilliant advice  

90.   You press publish on your very first blog post, despite the butterflies  

91.    You  hold down a job you enjoy despite 4 hours daily commuting  

92.    You speak up at a business meeting despite worrying that you’ll look foolish  

93.    You run a successful Parenting Course, overcoming your self-doubt  

94.    You spend nearly a year writing a book, finally seeing it published  

95.    You put your child’s needs before your own, always.  

96.    You walk through a flurry of bees on the lavender path,although you’re terrified of them  

97.    You go into the anaesthetic room with your daughter without showing her your fears  

98.    You decide to start a blog to show your readers that Positivity can be found all around us  

99.    You complete writing/reading this list!  Phew!  

Still believe you have no achievements?  

Right…  

When you have a few hours to spare, write your own list.  

I guarantee it will be a long one.  

Why not add your most important achievement, in the comments?  

  

Header image by abyreed, on Flickr 

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7 Things I Wish I Could Say To My 7 Year-Old Self (But I Wouldn’t Believe Me…)

    

Courtesy of Sunset Chaser on Flickr

 

  

‘Wait till you grow up! Life will be very different then!’ 

That’s what mum used to say.   

But I’ve got news for all you Spinners…   

She was wrong!   

I was always told I must ‘behave myself’, whatever that meant.   

When visitors came I had to be ‘on my best behaviour.’ And I tried, I really did.   

I had a sneaky feeling that all the fun things would disappear once I was ‘grown up’.   

Well…   

I’m here to tell you that they haven’t.   

  

Here are 7 things I wish I could say to my 7 year-old self (but I wouldn’t believe me…)  

1.   It’s OK to hang upside down on the railings and show your knickers.   

Just because someone tells you can’t do something doesn’t mean you won’t be able to do it.   

When you’ve made up your mind to do something – take a course, learn to drive, become a writer, just do it.  Follow your intuition. You’ll be glad you did.   

2.   It’s OK to believe in fairies.   

Your imagination is one of the most exciting gifts you can have. You can travel anywhere, see anything, make up stories, paint pictures, design and invent things and even believe in fairies.   

Whenever I see a  dandelion seed floating in the air I smile, because I’m seeing  a fairy.   

3.   It’s OK to believe that there’s a crock of gold at the end of a rainbow.   

Once you know what you’d like to achieve, today, in a few weeks, in a year, ‘go for it’. It will take hard work, disappointments, highs and lows but when you find your ‘crock of gold’ you’ll feel fantastic.   

And while you’re travelling, you have the beauty of the rainbow always there in front of you to look at.   

4.   It’s OK to adore Marmite sandwiches.   

Just because it’s not to everyone’s taste it doesn’t mean it’s not right for you.   

Choose your own pathway, especially when it’s not the same as other people’s.   

Develop your own tastes, in all aspects of life.   

The Marmite sandwiches in life are not wrong or right, simply different. And ‘different’ is good.   

5.   It’s OK to cry.   

When you’re a child mum might say, ‘ Wipe your tears. There’s no need to cry!’   

Yes! There is.   

Crying is good. It expresses emotions you can’t find the words for. You can cry when you’re happy, sorry, miserable, fed up, afraid, missing someone, excited, surprised.   

I cry most days – just a little.  Or more if I feel like it. No problem.   

6.   It’s OK to believe there’s a monster under your bed.   

 If you believe it’s there, then it’s there.   

It has a name too. It’s called fear and it has enormous eyes.   

But the good news is, that if you’re brave enough to look under your bed and stare the monster in the face, it disappears!   

It’s only while you’re imagining it that it exists.   

Face your fears, and guess what?   

They shrink before your eyes.   

7.   It’s OK to want a cuddle.    

Cuddles make you feel better, even when you’re all ‘grown up’.   

Cuddles come in all sorts of disguises.   

One is called ‘compliments.’  Tell someone they look gorgeous and you’ve given them an invisible cuddle. Another is when you ask for someone’s help or advice.   

Again, it’s an invisible cuddle.   

I’m glad that it’s OK to hang upside down, to believe in fairies, to seek the crock of gold, to adore Marmite sandwiches, to cry, to look for the monster under my bed and  to need cuddles.   

There’s no way I’m going to hide my inner child.   

How about you?   

What would you like to tell your 7-year-old self ?   

 And would you believe you?   

This post is entered for a series by abubakar jamil about the things we wish we’d known earlier in our lives.  The series can be seen at this site.  

    

Header image courtesy of abyreed on Flickr.

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Why You Must Make Friends With A Wolf

 He’s standing by the school wall.   

It’s his turn to be the wolf.   

This game is the latest craze and it goes like this:   

  1. He’s got his back to us. We can’t see his face but he’s ‘the big, bad wolf’ and he’s soooo scary. We imagine his hairy, angry face and his sharp teeth.
  2. We wait at the other end of the playground. A large group of six-year olds, giggling and laughing, slightly nervous. No-one wants to make the first move. Then…together… we chorus:  ‘What’s the time Mr Wolf?’
  3. Still with his back to us he growls, ‘7 o’clock!’
  4. We creep, just a few steps towards the ‘wolf’.
  5. We ask again, ‘What’s the time, Mr Wolf?’ and we wait, fingers crossed.
  6. ‘9 o’clock!’ comes the threatening answer.
  7. We creep a bit further. We feel a bit braver. Some of us creep up closer than others. Some of us aren’t quite ready to go too close.
  8. ‘What’s the time, Mr Wolf?’ we shout, pretending to be very brave.
  9. ‘Dinner time!’ he roars and turns around.He chases, we scream, we run and run, until one of us reaches the wall without getting caught and eaten.
  10. Everyone laughs with relief, leaving the wolf of our imagination behind, happy that we escaped.  And what about the one who reached the wall? He beams proudly as  he takes his place as the ‘wolf’ and the game begins again.

Fear is a strange emotion.   

Why are horror films so successful? Some people enjoy being afraid in a ‘safe’ environment, just like we did in the safety of the playground.   

What about the extreme fairground rides? Again, it’s a short lived fear and in a safe environment.   

And the ghost train?   

    

This is what I learnt from making friends with a Wolf –   

 1.   The playground wolf was as scary as we imagined him to be.   

      When we’re afraid, it’s very easy to let our imagination lead us where we’d rather not go.    

2.  The playground game won’t work if you don’t have the strength of the group around you.   

When  our fear in a group, we feel stronger. With support our fear shrinks.           

3.   The wolf’s growl reinforces our fear.   

Fear flutters as we allow ourselves to think about it.   

 4.   We creep towards the wolf.   

We take tiny steps to deal with the fear.   

5.   We creep, but some of us creep faster than others.   

When we deal with our fear, we must go at our own pace.    

6.   We hear the wolf’s voice again.   

The threat is still there.   

7.   We creep even closer, feeling just a bit braver.   

Our belief in our ability to face this is growing.   

8.   Some of us are ‘acting as if’ we’re not afraid.   

We whisper to ourselves, ‘Yes! I can do this!’ putting on our bravest face.  

9.   He turns around.   

We face the fear and, you’ve guessed it! It’s not so scary after all.   

10.  Relief all round!   

       When the ‘wolf’ finally faced us, we were ready and he didn’t look so scary…   

 Are you ready to face your fears?  

You know you want to… and wolves aren’t scary at all… are they?   

Altogether now…   

‘What’s the time, Mr Wolf!’  

 Do share your battle with fear.   

What frightens you at the moment?  

   

 

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Filed under action, anxiety, anxious, expectation, failure, fear, phobia, progress, realistic, risk, safe, success

How To Face Your Fears When You’re Too afraid To Try

‘I can’t…’

‘It’s all too much…’

‘I’ll never be able to…’

‘I’m so scared…’

Fear attacks us all.

It’s part of life.

Somehow it always seems far worse at night.

After writing about Night Fears yesterday, I’ve been thinking

and this is my Positive Spin on facing your fears.

Fear thrives in the dark.

It can be whatever it wants to be because we can’t see it.

It can take any form, any shape.

It can fill our minds with nightmarish imaginings and they multiply.

One fearful thought leads to another and before we know it we’re rigid, stuck, unable to face any of it.

Until…

we turn on the light.

As soon as we do that, fear cannot cope.

It shrinks, disappears, scuttles away into the corners where it thinks the light can’t go…

Light tells the truth.

It shows us how it is, not how we imagine it is. It makes everything clear, shows every detail. We can see the way we should go.

We’re no longer stuck.

In the darkness we say –

  • What if…
  • I can’t…
  • How can I…
  • I might not…
  • It might mean…

But when we ‘turn on the light’ we can say…

  • What’s the worst that can happen?
  • I can…
  • I might be able to…
  • Tell me more about…
  • All I need to do is…
  • Could you help me to…

 

Here’s my Positive Spin on the problem.

How to face your fears when you’re too afraid to try.

1.   Be clear about what fear is.

Fear is an emotional response to a perceived threat.

Notice the word perceived.

We all have different perceptions of fear.  I’m not afraid of clowns, others are!

What we need to do is reduce the perceived threat and the fear will reduce also.

2.      Take your head out of the sand.

Unless we accept that we’re afraid we can’t begin to face the fear.

Say it out loud. To the cat. To the dog.  You could even write it down.

3.   Turn on the light.

By this I mean, see it for what it actually is, not how you imagine it is. Stare your fear in the face. Decide to face it.

4.   Gather support.  Share the fear…shrink the fear.

There are many ways to do this –

  • google the problem,  
  • phone a friend/fellow sufferer,
  • talk to your GP/other half/mentor,
  • ask your family to help you.

5.   Take some action today, however small.

The longer we put it off the larger our fear grows.  You can say, ‘I don’t want to think about this right now. I’ll have another glass of wine…’

But tomorrow the fear will have morphed into a much larger fear.  It won’t simply ‘go away’. It’ll lurk in the dark corners of your mind.

With every ‘small’ action you will watch the fear start to shrink.

 As Dr Phil says,

‘If you want different you must do different.’

Dr Phil McGraw ‘Life Strategies.’

Last week I saw a challenge on Problogger.  As a newish blogger I immediately felt out of my depth, uncomfortable, incapable of taking the challenge. Others might be able to do it but not me.

Then, over on Jean’s Virgin Blogger Notes, I read her post about the challenge. Suddenly, I didn’t feel so alone. Gradually I began to face it, to at least try. The result was the post I wrote two days ago.

Jean read it and gave me the compliment of leaving a comment.

Wow!

I faced the fear, albeit a small one to some, but I perceived it as large.

I faced my fear when I was too afraid to try and learnt a great deal about myself in the process.

 It’s the same for you!

Whatever your fear is, small or large, just face it.

I know it works.

What fears have you faced?

What fears will you face, now that you’re not too afraid to try?

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