As a University of Southern Queensland alumna, the university’s recent advertising slogan struck a chord with me: Unleash Your Fearless. These three words really capture what we need to do in order to take advantage of opportunities in life and make a positive change to our situation. For many of us, fear is what stops us from making a change and taking up opportunities. What have you wanted to do in life but just didn’t?
We might say to ourselves things like:
- I don’t have the money for that.
- I’m too old.
- I’m not fit enough.
- I can’t right now.
- I don’t have the time.
- I’m not good at that.
- I have no one to go with.
- Other people are more deserving, I should be happy without it.
How can you be sure unless you try?
Would you say these things to a friend who just told you they were going to try something new? Probably not (and if you do you need to assess what that is really saying about yourself and whether you’re being a supportive friend or a buzz killer!). Treat yourself as you would treat a friend – give yourself the benefit of the doubt and the chance to embrace change!
Beware of negative self-talk. It’s very limiting and arrives out of fear. Fear has a very important place in protecting us from getting hurt or from danger. It’s a very useful mechanism when in a seriously life-threatening situation and preventing risky choices. If you routinely find your mind relaying limiting self-talk, you need to think about where these attitudes and beliefs stem from because most daily choices are not life-threatening nor is the alternative you oppose necessarily a poor choice. You may have learned limiting beliefs from your upbringing or you may have had a bad experience that shaped your thoughts and now leads you to apply this perspective to every situation. What you need to keep in mind is that your old mindset served a purpose once, and served you very well. As a grown woman your situation may have changed now and you’re in a position to control what you do.
For example, your position might be that “I don’t have enough money for that.” Once upon a time, when you were a child in a low income family of four, your parents likely didn’t have money for that. But now you’re older, the circumstances have changed. You’re in charge. Make a decision to do it anyway and watch how your mind starts to find ways to make it happen. Yes, you might be anxious and can’t see how it will ever happen but you will start to see opportunities. It may mean you have to look at what your priorities are, where your time goes, what makes you feel good or what restricts you. You may even find that you have to set yourself smaller goals to reach your big dream. Whatever you need to do, go for it! Be in charge and make your life what you want it to be. Find a new catch phrase like “I can take advantage of opportunities” or “Unleash your fearless” to replace the old position you took. You attract what you focus on. So change your focus and start finding opportunities instead of finding reasons why you can’t.