If you have never had a stroke, then be thankful.  Elaine Starling, my guest on the SkillBites Show, had a stroke that transformed her life.  A former marketing pro, Elaine Starling received a complete download from The Divine about why we’re here, how it all works, what we’re supposed to do while we’re here, how we can live our optimal life, and what happens next after this life.

Elaine shared several of the lessons she learned during that period:

  1. If you feel something is holding you back, or you feel stuck while everyone else seems to be making a ton of progress, your struggle is actually a sign that we need to learn the skill of changing fear into focus.  Successful people know how to leverage their fears and direct attention so they can quickly attain specific goals.  
  2. People get trapped in old fear patterns that distract them from moving forward.  Everyone already has everything they need to accomplish what they want to accomplish right now, no matter what your situation is.   The only thing that stops us from playing a bigger game is fear. 
  3. The atoms in our bodies are made up of mostly empty space that isn’t really empty.  It’s full of what I call Divine Energy.  So there’s this tiny little 1% part of us – the mind/ego – that loves to think it’s in charge.  The mind just wants to protect us by giving us a sense of control.  The mind loves structure, logic, if-this-then-that, steps, strategies – anything that helps the mind calculate the odds in our favor.  But the mind is just that tiny little 1% doing the very best it can.  When the mind feels a lack of control, we experience Fear.  Fear is the mind having a temper tantrum because it’s just 1% and it’s struggling.  Fear is a reminder that we have access to the other 99% Divine Energy part of us that is way more powerful!  It’s like a traffic light reminding us to connect to Divine Energy for the answers we need.
  4. Fear is NOT a bad thing.  The true purpose of Fear is to get us to FOCUS.  Too often, we’re so wrapped up in the fear that we just keep slamming through our day, going from meeting to meeting, trying to stay ahead of it instead of harnessing the power of fear to propel us forward faster.

It gets complicated by your environment.  Experts estimate that the average person is bombarded by roughly 9,000 messages every day – and most of these messages are emotionally charged warnings and danger signals designed to capture your attention.  Marketers are experts at tapping into your automatic fear response to prompt you to take action.  Hey – we all know that you won’t get a date if your teeth aren’t white enough!

Turning fear into focus allows us to take control of our lives again and dramatically increase our productivity!  That’s why it’s such an important skill to master.  We’re far more effective and happier when we recognize when we’re feeling fear and then we know exactly how to shift into productive FOCUS.

  1. There are five steps to change fear into focus.  

a. Step One:  Acknowledge   It starts by acknowledging how we’re feeling; the emotions that are present that tell us we’re experiencing fear right now.  We notice when we feel distracted, overwhelmed, frustrated, or angry about something.

b. Step Two:  Attention  Notice where we are focusing our attention.  Are we looking at the Problem or at our Progress?

The knee-jerk human response to every situation is to look for danger – to focus on the problem.  The challenge is that focus is fractal.  The term, fractal, means that the more we look at something, the more detail we see and the deeper dive we take.  So when we focus on the problem, suddenly we start to see dozens of challenges, issues, mistakes, lost opportunities, if onlies and all the rest!  It’s a downward spiral.

The key is to pay Attention to your PROGRESS.  

c. Step Three: Appreciation  Gratitude is a really amazing thing!  Imagine you took the time to write down examples of the progress you’ve made so far on your project.  As you look at your list, you can feel a deep wave of gratitude for your skills, abilities, determination, commitment, and contribution.  Really savor the WONDER of how amazing your life is – how beautiful this process that allows you to give of yourself and realize such amazing returns in personal growth, connecting with others, and realizing your goals.  Soak in the Appreciation for all you’ve accomplished so far.

d. Step Four:  Anticipate  As you’re feeling this sense of appreciation and gratitude, write a script for yourself about how poised, personable, perceptive, powerful, and persuasive you will feel as you continue your work on this project.  I call this a Success Script.

Just imagine that things are going PERFECTLY for you in every meeting, on every phone call, with every email, with every step you take – you’re smiling, laughing and having a great time, you’re in a state of flow.  Everything feels easy, engaging and effective!  Write it down as if all of that is happening for you right NOW.  

Psychologists call this “Priming.”  Our non-conscious mind will believe whatever we tell it is true and it will look for things that match our beliefs.  So we can read a success script before starting an activity and just marvel at the serendipity that occurs – you meet just the right people, you make a great impression, you discover a valuable insight – a distinction that no one else noticed, you make an important contribution…  

e. The Fifth Step: Inspired Action.  Ask yourself, “What is one little thing you can do in the next hour to move yourself a little bit closer to your goal?”  Give yourself two minutes to write down everything you can think of.  Include things like:

  • Who you know that has already solved this problem and how you could connect with them;
  • What tools and resources might be helpful, and where you can find them;  
  • How you can find the support you need and who you could ask to help you with specific tasks within your project

Then prioritize your list.  Do the first action item on your list.  That’s it.  Just taking that ONE SIMPLE ACTION shifts us into a Progress Focus.  Keep going on your list and celebrate your success immediately!  Elaine offered listeners from the SkillBites community her Checklist on Turning Fear into Focus.  This can be downloaded for free at https://theabundancejourney.com/fear.gift.