Did you know, there are just 3 things that hold us back from achieving success: –

  1. Not knowing what to do
  2. Self-limiting beliefs (beliefs that we hold in our subconscious that run our programmes)
  3. Fear 

The biggest of all is FEAR and I’m not talking about the natural fear that is produced when coming up against something that will endanger your life. I’m talking about the fear of the unknown. The fear that we might fail and be laughed at, pitied or scorned. The fear of rejection. All of these types of fears lead to missed opportunities and/or procrastination which in turn affects our ability to succeed.

There are things that you can do to overcome fear – especially the type of paralysing fear that interferes with most our lives at some point.

One really effective technique that I learned when I studied NLP is called the SWISH technique. 

For it to be effective, you need to understand 2 things:-

  1. Fear and excitement are the same emotion / feeling in your body – it’s your thought around the feeling that determines whether you allow it to propel you or paralyse yo 
  2. You can change your thoughts with relative ease (think about how many times you change your mind about the outfit you’re going to wear or meal you’re going to order!)

This process does require some pre-planning – but then I recommend each of us takes time to plan our weeks at the beginning of each week to improve productivity and focus.

As you plan your week you will likely come across tasks that you need to do that sit outside your comfort zone; conversations you need to have with people that you don’t feel comfortable with; situations you will encounter that will be new to you. Depending on your background/personality/position these will either fill you with fear or excitement.

Wherever you feel fear or any signs of discomfort, follow the steps below (even though they seem strange) and see how much easier it is to complete your task.

  1. Recognise what’s going on in your head at the thought of this task – what do you fear happening? Follow it through to the end game. For example if you have a speech to make in front of others – are you frightened the speech will go wrong? Will you be laughed at? Will this affect your credibility for ever in your job? Get a clear image in your mind of your fear. The bigger and brighter the better. Once you can recall your image with ease put it to one side.
  2. Then consider the opposite coming true. You deliver an amazing speech, everyone comes up and congratulates you afterwards, as a result you get asked to do more talks, your boss puts you forward for promotion +++. Again get a clear image of the positive outcome of your speech. Add a sound track; see yourself in the picture; feel the emotion – relief, excitement, pride – everything you will feel once you’ve nailed it.
  3. Once you can recall both images with ease, take the first image – the Fear image and make it even bigger and brighter. Put it right in front of you as if you are in the front row of a large screen cinema and it is playing out in front of you.
  4. Recall the image that you prefer and grey it out. Turn the sound down, make it black and white, reduce it to the size of a postage stamp and move it to once corner of the big screen.
  5. With the fear image on the big screen and the preferred image in the corner, count 1, 2, 3 and say SWISH. And, on the SWISH visualise the fear image being sucked away into another corner and as its sucked away it reduces in size, the colour and sound fades and instantly in its place is the preferred image – in full size and colour. Increase the sound so that your feelings are heightened.
  6. You will most likely need to repeat this exercise 3 or 4 times in advance, breaking state by reciting your phone number backwards in between in each time.
  7. When it comes to delivering the task it is likely your old fear image will be the first thing that comes to mind – but that’s OK – our brains are designed to protect us from harm and will try and stop us doing something new where we can’t predict the outcome. But when that happens – just before you have to deliver your task take a deep breath, make the decision to choose excitement over fear and state loudly ‘ready, steady, SWISH’ and as you say the word SWISH see your old image being sucked away and immediately replaced with the positive outcome, in all its colour and glory and step straight into the action you have to take

If you are not used to visualising, then you may need to practice this – especially the SWISH point – but when you get it, it’s so, so, effective, and once you become a master you won’t even need to pre-plan, you can use this for events that are thrust on you at the last minute.

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