Have you encountered the power of FEAR lately? Have you found yourself struggling to not let it take hold of your mindset or your responses? There’s no doubt that the current circumstances give us plenty of practice in not partnering with fear. And, we’ve heard countless inspiring podcasts, sermons and pep talks – all urging us to not give in. But until you actually encounter fear that brings you to a point of decision, it’s all theory. In practice, do you know how to stop fear from dominating you? It turns out, the key is in setting your focus. Let’s talk more about the common focus problem of fear and how to fix it.
It Only Takes a Few Seconds
It happened just a few weeks ago. As I sat in the middle of a family funeral, I saw a text flash across my screen that I had potentially been exposed to Covid-19. It was a potential thing. A thousand thoughts flashed through my mind. Did I expose the more vulnerable members of my family? I feel fine. Or wait, is that tickle in my nose something other than allergies? My chest feels a little tight. What if I get sick and can’t fly home? What if my kids have to quarantine?
It was amazing to see just how fast my mindset began to focus on all the potential negative outcomes! My emotions, namely fear and all its negative cousins (anxiety, worry, panic, etc.) instantly waged war on my logic. Common sense made a beeline for the door — all in just seconds. My senses were scanning all aspects of my physical being and over-analyzing the slightest twinge or hint that something was “off.” By the time the services were over, my primary focus wasn’t on my grief. I was too busy worrying about potentially bad things that had not happened yet and, likely, eight days after my potential exposure, were not going to happen.
In hindsight, I was focused on potential problems rather than actual facts. I had a focus problem that needed to be fixed.
Don’t get me wrong. I am acting responsibly to consider the actions I should take to protect others around me. But to let any of the panic I felt leak out onto others would have been irresponsible without some facts to back it up.
Your Focus Problem Is Contagious
Here are some important facts about focus:
- Whatever you focus on, you fuel. So, if negative emotions (like fear) and potential negative outcomes have captured your mental energies, they will only grow in magnitude and influence over you. Is that what you really want?
- You go where you focus. The object of your focus influences your choices. This means that ultimately, you are led by your focus. A negative focus results in negative outcomes because your choices line up with that focus. What outcomes do you want? Problems or solutions? Hopeful expectations or fearful dread?
- Focus problems are contagious. Whether it’s in the employee meeting, the classroom, or at the dinner table, the nature of your focus directly affects those around you. I’ve heard it referred to as an “idea pathogen.” And much like a virus, the thoughts you choose to entertain and focus on do influence others to focus on the same. What kind of influence do you want to exert on others?
Faced With a Clear Choice
Ultimately, I had a clear choice in front of me and it ended up making a real difference to the rest of my time with family. I could either succumb to the assumption that I was going to be sick and go ahead and act sick, feel sick, expect to get sick, etc. This would essentially ruin the rest of my time to grieve with and feel thankful for my time with family. Alternatively, I could take the necessary precautions with those around me. I could expect that I was not sick (because I had no actual symptoms) and finish out the appropriate window since I was last exposed. More importantly, I could get on with some very needed time with those I love – rational thinking and common sense fully intact.
So, I realized it was my choice. I could choose to focus on the fear of getting very sick. Or I could realistically hope I wasn’t going to be majorly affected by this potential exposure. It’s your choice, too. If you can learn to set your positive focus early and often, you can keep fear from literally running away with your thoughts, feelings, and actions. It’s 100% normal for all of us to be tempted to fear. But escaping the stranglehold fear can place on you is also 100% doable.
The Fear Fix
The fear fix starts with understanding that by design, we each need to take a different route to fix our focus on things worthy of our focus. There’s no cookie-cutter approach to a legit positive focus. This may even explain why many people can respond so quickly to certain forms of help, yet others don’t feel like that “help” was helpful at all. Your inner design (your InnerKinetics®) plays a major role in what you need to do to set a positive mental focus.
If you’re ready to fix your focus problem and learn more, start here:
Do you know your InnerKinetics? Take this quick assessment, and learn more about the design that is at work within you 24/7. Then follow one of these links to get more detail.
- InnerKinetics of Being “SP”
- InnerKinetics of Being “SJ”
- The InnerKinetics of Being “NT”
- The InnerKinetics of Being “NF”
And please, come back next week. We’ll give you a custom-made, fear-annihilating fix for your focus problem. It comes down to one winner and one loser. Who wins (you or your fear) is entirely up to you.