Have you ever noticed that we get to the end of a year and immediately race ahead to the next year, making goals and adding things to our plate? Our culture is hooked on New Year’s resolutions and improving ourselves. So we have to help each other Pause. Reflect. and Celebrate. Let’s focus on Look how far we’ve come, rather than Look how much we haven’t gotten done! Remember: we can’t keep adding goals without letting go of things that aren’t working for us, first.
That’s why we’ve started a new tradition among our family and friends. It’s called, Let ‘Em Burn.
On New Year’s Eve, we each write down three specific habits of mind that we want to leave behind us. Things like the fear that I’m not doing enough, the fear that everyone is getting ahead and I’m way behind, and the fear that it’s too late to change directions now. The kids write things like the fear that I’m too awkward, the fear that I don’t know what I want to do when I grow up, and the fear that Mom will make me read these out loud. (I don’t.) Then we burn the paper. The kids get their pyro fix and I get in a lot of trouble with the fire department.
We do this because we place so many limitations on ourselves. And in my personal experience, we are capable of far more than we think. The other side of fear is freedom and joy.
The thing is, we can’t just burn fears and make them go away. What we can do when we burn them is loosen their grip on us. This works because of these three steps:
1) Identify and name them all as “Fear” or “Chucky” or any name that works for you. It’s amazing how writing down what Fear actually says is all it takes to realize that it’s not true or even based on fact. We can then choose to listen and believe those words, or not.
2) Talk back to Fear. Thank it for trying to protect us. It doesn’t work to yell at Fear to Go Away! Try using a reassuring tone with genuine gratitude; it works to calm Fear down. The voice stops being so loud and frightening. It never goes away, but it’s not so bad.
3) Move forward anyway. There’s no such thing as being completely ready. Feel the Fear then choose to be brave and take one tiny step forward. Then another. Then another. We can cover a lot of treacherous ground that way. And we are better for it. Or at least a lot more interesting.
So. Pause. Reflect. Celebrate. Then strike a match and Let “Em Burn!
There is strength in talking back to Fear.
There is power in letting go.
And there is joy in choosing to be brave over perfect.
Happy 2020 brave ones!
I’m baaack coaching and speaking again! I’d love to help you thrive and burn off the limitations holding you back in life. I’ve also crafted a 45-min keynote on how people and organizations can thrive in turbulent times. Do you know an organization or conference that needs this message? Get in touch with me.