When you have set yourself a goal that stretches you in some way, there are 3 guys that will suddenly come by and pay you a visit. They are called Fear, Doubt and Shame.
You will set your goal, do your planning and be super excited. Then suddenly you start having thoughts like “What will people say?”, “Can I really do this?”. “What if I fail?” “What if I am not good enough?” and so on. This happens to everyone who sets a goal that challenges them in some way.
Fear, Doubt and Shame are the biggest dream stealers in the world!
If you listen to what they say, you lose your motivation, your excitement and your ability to achieve your dream or goal. You will fail before you even try.
There is a good reason these guys show up. Our brain is wired to keep us safe. It is happy when we don’t change anything. This was good advice back in the days of Mammoths and saber-tooth tigers. It would have kept us alive and away from potential danger. These days it is not so helpful. Any time we start changing things our brain sends Fear, Doubt and Shame to convince us to go back to the way things were because that is safe. This is why it is hard to change habits, or accept, and complete new challenges.
So how can you stop Fear, Doubt and Shame from stealing your dreams?
When you do your goal planning, leave a page that is headed up “Fear, Doubt and Shame”. Then for the first week after you have set your goal, write down any of these “Fear, Doubt and Shame” thoughts that come into your mind. Just the act writing them down may be enough to help you realize that they are only your mind trying to be safe and you don’t have to pay them any attention. If any of these thoughts continue to bother you, analyse them and see if they are real. For example; if you think “What will people say?” ask yourself questions such as;
- Who are the “people” I am worried about? Friends, family, strangers, co-workers?
- Why would they say anything other than “That’s a great goal. How can I help you with that?”.
- If they do say something negative, why would it be important to me? Should it be important to me?
If the Fear, Doubt and Shame questions continue to bother you, rather than giving up on your goal, get some help from a life coach, counsellor or psychologist, and keep your dream alive.
With practise you will start expecting Fear, Doubt and Shame to turn up any time you set a goal. You will greet them as old friends who are there with the intention of keeping you safe. Then you will move right along with your steps towards your goal and pay them little or no attention.
Acknowledgement: While setting and achieving goals over the years, I had become aware of these 3 dream stealers, but it was Brooke Costello who gave them a name in a podcast she did in 2016.
By Lynda Timperley BTCH, Dip psych, cert Life coach.