Did you notice I didn't give Fear it's own series post? Fear is the real F word. Fear is the ultimate preventer (preventer was not a word until now. Spell check is yelling at me).
I didn't give fear its own post because Fear is the result of Doubt, Guilt, and Judgment. Fear is the pie; and doubt, guilt, and judgment are the slices that make up the pie. But I want to pause a minute so that we can identify your pie flavor... Just to make sure we are being thorough with what might be in your way of your absolute best life...
Can you answer this question for me?
What am I most afraid of if I were to live the life I wish I could?
Don't just jump at the first answer that comes to you. Really think on this one. Sometimes our true fears are masquerading as something else. Disclaimer: answering this question might require some deep work within yourself and could likely benefit from the guidance and help of a therapist or other helping professional. For the sake of helping you on a more basic level, I'm asking it anyway... in the hopes that by fully owning the real fears that lie beneath your hesitancy or inaction, you might start to think about what would be required to move through your fear.
So what really is your biggest fear? Is it money? Is it failure? Is it success? Is it what you'd tell other people? Is it fear of not being good enough? Does your fear have to do with an identity you're holding on to? Does it have to do with how deserving or worthy you believe you are? How about fear of not having enough or meeting your basic needs? Fear of being loved? Or simply liked?
Does it have to do with any (or a few) of the above?
I know, it's a lot. But its so important. Because if the first 3 series posts didn't get you tackling what's in your way, we had to make one last ditch effort to make it clear before we can move on to....
Permission is what you need to give yourself in order to move forward.
Woah. When was the last time you really gave yourself permission? We live our lives with all the "shouldn'ts" and "must-nots" and rules inhabiting our brain space, that overcoming these messages requires actual permission granting.
"Will the fear go away though?" you ask. If you've done the work of the previous posts in this series, some of it may have eased for you, or at least now might have risen to a place of conscious attention and active work. And that's huge. But I'm going to put it out there that often we must continue to move forward with the understanding and acceptance that fear is an inevitable and simultaneous feeling of allowing yourself to do a behavior or make a choice that is different and new.
By granting yourself permission, you are allowing yourself to move forward DESPITE any remaining guilt, doubt, or judgment. Permission is forgiveness. Permission is risk. Permission is letting go and daring to DO despite all of the little worries that are screaming in your head. Because you can't wait for each of those to heal or be gone to begin to take steps toward your best life. Sometimes you've just got to start going your way even if you're still struggling with one. It will take eventually have to take care of itself in the process of you living the life you want and deserve.
Shall we give ourselves permission today?
Write this statement:
I am going to ____(insert lean-in desire)_________ because __(insert all of the reasons you've cultivated to do it)___. I vow to each day wake up and fulfill my promise to myself to consciously replace my thoughts of fear, doubt, judgment, and guilt with permission. I allow myself, and I begin now.
Today, I will begin with this step: ___(write one actionable thing you will do today toward your lean-in desire)________.
You can even keep a daily appointment book where each day you write your action item. At the start of a day you can write one intention; or at the end of the day you can look back and record anything you did toward your goal. If you can do BOTH, then that's going to be even more powerful!
Perhaps it's setting a date with your partner to look over the financial feasibility of a job shift. Perhaps its sending in the RSVP card with a NO that's been hanging on your fridge. Perhaps its signing up for a webinar on the subject you've been toying with in your mind now for way too long. You've got the picture.
So what will you do now!? We are what we put our energy vision, and focus toward. I've so greatly enjoyed this journey with you of exploration and possibilities. Please visit and re-visit these posts and the accompanying questions/prompts as often as you need to to keep moving toward living how you imagine. I truly and wholeheartedly believe that you deserve it.
Missed the previous Lean-In Posts? Find them here:
1) The 'Lean In' Series: Lean In Hard to Your Life
2) Lean In to Your Life Part 1: Banishing Doubt
3) Lean In to Your Life Part 2: Diminish Guilt
4) Lean In to Your Life Part 3: Overcome Judgment
Lauren L. Drago, MSEd, LMHC, LPC is the founder of Lauren Drago Therapy in Old Saybrook, CT and in greater CT, NY & PA. She specializes in working with smart, insightful and capable women to overcome stress, anxiety, loss of identity, self-limiting beliefs, perfectionism, marriage strain, and the pressure of "trying to do it all." Lauren has a passion for helping others to achieve the happy, fulfilling, productive, and meaningful life they deserve by changing how they experience and understand their world. She believes that every woman can and should live out her personal definition of her own best life. Follow Lauren on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. Call (860) 339-6515 for your free initial 15-minute consultation.