Faith may be something you’ve told your clients to hang on to, but how often have you used the same advice in your career? It’s easy when the world is whizzing by, when our minds are cluttered with a million things to do, and it seems like nothing is going according to plan, to allow our fearful minds to take over. Unfortunately, painting these terrible pictures causes us to perceive the world based on that fear. How many times have you experienced a situation in which you dreaded every moment leading up to it, only to find it really wasn’t as bad as you thought it was going to be?
It’s our brain’s job to protect us, keep us safe, and avoid pain – but when we stop being present and mindful, we allow this fear-driven approach to make decisions that may quickly lead us down a road we never intended to travel.
Fear Can Slither In
Whether it be running a practice, taking on a difficult case or any important decision in our life, it’s easy to let fear and the fear of failure take over our decision-making process. We become attached to the outcome, we try to take control and make decisions based on avoiding pain and seeking pleasure, rather than relying on our faith in the outcome, and understanding what’s meant to be will be.
Yes, we have influence on the outcome, we can prepare to our best ability and serve our clients, our staff and ourselves by showing up, taking accountability and committing to the process. However, in the end, we have no control over the outcome. This may feel uncomfortable to embrace, in fact, our mind will immediately reject the idea based on fear, and it’s attempt to protect us. When we allow this, there is a price for this so-called protection, usually along the lines of exhaustion and losing a sense of who we really are and what we want out of life.
It can be quite liberating once we embrace our faith; whether it be faith in the universe, God, people, justice or in the outcome. Many of us have embraced being overachievers, or a million other ways to try and one-up the control factor, but it will eventually drain us – and still it will never provide full control over the outcome.
Implementing a release of the outcome in your approach can be challenging, it is a skill like any other that takes time to master. Here are some ways to help embrace letting go, ultimately decreasing stress and anxiety levels:
Evaluate the stories the mind is creating and how true they really are. Our subconscious has a way of painting the worst-case scenario in a very palpable way. Instead, try flipping it and ask, “What’s the positive that might come out of the situation? What if it did all work out?”
Show up and Let – Go! Make a list of what you can control about the situation and do your best to execute. Acknowledge, the rest is fate. Embrace faith that it will work out.
Approaching difficult and uncomfortable conversations really fires the old gremlin of fear up – we think of every worst-case scenario of how that person may interpret what we say or misinterpret our intentions, or vice-versa. We assume the worst in their words and actions. Try keeping an open mind and asking open-ended questions to avoid a presumptuous tone.
Find peace in knowing that we can’t control the outcome. There will always be variables and people who influence the world in ways that we can never change, and that’s OK!
The next time that dreaded voice of fear is speaking up to guide an important decision, or preparing to approach a challenging conversation, remember to evaluate what is within your control, evaluate how truthful the stories are that your mind is making up, and let the rest go. Keep faith that whatever will be, will be. Much easier said than done, but with a little practice and awareness, our lives can dramatically change when making decisions and behaving in a conscious and freeing way, rather than living in a fear-driven and confining trap. Lesley Poladsky