So if a dog bites you ONCE, will you never trust a dog again?
Well, sometimes that’s exactly what happens.
Let’s pretend you’re two years old and a big spotted dog bites you. That’s quite scary and traumatic for a little toddler. Without fully being aware, that little person creates a belief system and might conclude that all big spotted dogs must surely bite.
As they grow up, they adjust their lifestyle to exclude big spotted dogs. It sounds harmless, right? What’s the big deal? It’s not that they’re saying all dogs bite, they’re just saying big spotted ones do. They start to internally negotiate – “I like white dogs, brown dogs, black dogs. I will love all dogs of every colour and size. I will even love little spotted dogs – but not big spotted dogs.”
Sometimes we choose to believe in something without challenging it, without really asking ourselves where did this belief come from? And why are we hanging on to this belief so strongly? We create internal negotiations with ourselves.
The dictionary defines ‘negotiate’ as: find a way over or through (an obstacle or difficult path)
“I will like dogs, but just not big spotted dogs. [Does that work for you?] Yes, that sounds reasonable to me. That means I can still love dogs, and I’m technically not missing out on that much.”
Why do we make a life decision because of having one bad experience? Why do we choose to play it safe to avoid potential pain?
Let’s take it closer to home:
- Why might you be afraid you won’t be able to retire?
- Why might you be afraid you’ll never pay off your debt?
- Why might you be afraid of finding love?
- Why might you be afraid you’ll never find your purpose?
- Why might you be afraid you’ll never lose 20 pounds?
- Why might you be afraid you’ll forever be stuck in a job that exhausts you?
- Why might you be afraid of public speaking?
- Why might you be afraid to ask for that raise?
- Why might you be afraid to make a decision regardless of other people’s opinions?
- Why might you be afraid to not finish (or start) writing your book?
Where does that fear come from? How does that fear help you? What benefits do you get from keeping that fear?
Whatever the fear is, whatever the ‘big spotted dog’, it’s not true. We can’t base life decisions on one story. One encounter. One moment.
I’m not dismissing or discarding the difficult story you experienced. What I’m saying is, a story doesn’t define you; it’s a season in time. A story is something we experience that can influence our identity, but does not define our identity.
A story creates wisdom, not fear. Please, don’t assume, don’t jump to conclusions and don’t cance out something entirely because of a fear based memory.
So, what’s really going on? There’s a story in your history’s pages where this seed of fear was planted. The fear grew up alongside all your other wonderful qualities, hiding amidst the greatness. That one fear is irrelevant to your success. Challenge your fear, remove it and carry on.
Fear based stories jolt our confidence and provoke doubt.
What I have learned over the past years is this: confidence is the secret ingredient to every goal and every desire and every hope you have.
Do not base your life around a fear-based story. Base it in your confidence.
“Karen, you don’t understand, it was really hard times.”
I believe you. I believe that it was very scary and very difficult. And, that’s ok. I respect the impact the story had on your life. Are you willing to let it go? And replace it with confidence in what you hope for? If that fear-based belief is not getting you to where you want to go, then would you consider challenging your beliefs? If I told you that when take ‘all that fear energy’ and invest it in confidence, it will propel you forward in empowering ways, would you consider it?
Love from me to you,
Human Catalyst | Business Coach-Consultant