Feel the Fear and Do it Anyway

When you have a goal in mind, when you want more for yourself, you make the decision to create change. There will always be a voice that tries to stop you.

It might say,

What will people say?

What will people think?

No one will support me.

My friends/family will think I’m an idiot.

I haven’t got time.

I don’t know where to start.

I feel uncomfortable.

A lot of things will come up that will try to stop you changing.

You might decide to go along and start anyway.

You gain momentum, make a decision and go for it.

And something doesn’t go to plan.

You get sick.

Your kids get sick.

Your day job gets busy.

You didn’t sleep well last night.

You have a wedding/party/event to go to.

Your routine, momentum slows down or halts.

Then you’re stuck.

The voice starts again.

You’re a failure.

You said you would do that and you didn’t.

Everyone else is now further ahead of me.

If I start now they’ll know I didn’t show up and think I’m a failure.

I can’t do this.

I’m scared.

I’m embarrassed. I don’t deserve a new life. I don’t deserve success.

My mother always told me…,

Blah blah blah

And then it’s a year later.

Two years later. Five.

And you are still in the same place.

But you’re feeling worse because you started something, it didn’t work out so now you’re really stuck and afraid.

It doesn’t have to be like that.

The way to start again is just decide you want it.

Recognise the fear, the voice telling you not to for what it is – a bully.

A bully who is scared to let you shine. Who is jealous of your light.

Make small changes.

Get out of bed a little earlier.

Have one less coffee.

Make one phone call.

Spend 30 minutes planning the assignment, and do one thing of action.

Be more present today.

Recognise the negative thought and flip it to a positive one.

What would your best friend say?

Be your best friend.

Be your own cheering squad.

Light your path and each day take a step further.

There will be days you take a few steps back. That’s ok.

As long as the next day you pick yourself up and continue to move forward.

You can do this.

If you feel like you would like assistance to move past the place you are currently stuck at, please consider life coaching.

I have 1:1 coaching packages with two options. A 1 session mentor session, and a 3 month coaching package (currently on sale for 30% off). Contact me for more details.

Stepping out despite social anxiety

I’ve felt awkward in almost all situations I’ve been in my whole life. Like I don’t fit in, like I’m just not quite the same as the people I’m with, and that because of that I feel like people don’t quite like me.

It’s a feeling possibly best described as misfiring, as in I’m present but that no one quite SEES ME. 

This has held me back in so many ways.

I’ve used drugs and alcohol at different stages of my life to mask the uncomfortableness and give me some sort of courage, alter ego even.

I’ve stayed in terrible relationships for far too long for fear of being alone, until staying is just too unbearable. 

I’ve hidden behind my son at many, many functions, to not be exposed.

I’ve used my job as a barrier between me and my client to avoid exposing my insecurities. 

I’ve cancelled going to many events last minute because the anxiety of going was too much to bare. 

Going to an event alone means summoning courage from deep down, going means knowing deep within my soul that I have to be there, and then I feel awkward as hell.

Most people probably don’t know any of this about me. Just like many people who live with social anxiety, I’ve become pretty good at being aloof, faking it so you can’t see the anxiousness under my facade. 

Stepping out into the social media world and building an online business is the hardest thing I’ve ever done.

I have nothing to hide behind (ok well there’s my computer & product) but what this platform requires of me is to show you ME.

Authenticity, integrity, truth, honesty, being real are traits I hold of most importance and so I felt to share this with you so you may see a bit of what’s under my posts, and I hope it can give some of you who feel this too the chance to exhale and know you are not alone.

The above is a post I shared to my social media channels yesterday. The responses I have received have been beautiful. So many women, some I have known personally, some I do not know have shared they also feel the same way.

IMG_6849I read a quote a friend shared on Instagram recently by Glennon Doyle which I felt was a beautiful reminder of how cliquey women can be, but it made me think it’s not usually about exclusion which our default may have us believe, but more I feel it is about the fear of ourselves stepping out of our comfort zone to reach to someone we don’t know.

Perhaps there is an awe, an intimidation even, of seeing a woman attending an event alone that we feel she is strong and confident and not a match for us while we are attempting to hold our mask firmly so it may not slip and show how fragile we really are underneath.

I’ve been that woman at an event alone, trying to blend and not be too obviously on my own. What I’ve noticed in those situations is often the lack of eye contact, or the looks up and down, or the small gesture of a smile as they turn away. As an introvert, it has taken all my strength at times to not just walk out, but instead to take a deep breath in and out, readjust my mask of confidence and stand strong.

Approaching a group or another person who is alone can summon up a lot of courage, there’s a whole lot of inner conversation going on – a battle between my mind of reason and my mind of fear. It is sheer determination and will that sees reason win… mostly.

As I’ve gotten older and the personal development study I have soaked in has grown, I have learned that other people’s reactions to you are a direct indication of where they are at with themselves, and that often – if we allow ourselves to go there – can be a mirror of how WE feel about ourselves. As we begin to love ourselves as our best friend and really do the work to dispel the negative thoughts and chatter going on in our minds these situations lessen, our confidence grows, or at least our thoughts no longer have the power to control us and hold us back.

So, and this is advice I am giving myself… do that thing you want to do, even if it means going alone; say hello to the woman on her own and include her in your circle – at any given moment you could be her; consciously and actively switch the language you are using with yourself to be what you would say to your best friend; and most importantly love yourself – for you are unique, you are beautiful, and you are not alone.

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10 books I recommend for a self confidence boost:

  • Mastering Your Mean Girl, Melissa Ambrosini
  • You Do You, Sarah Knight
  • The Power of Now, Eckhart Tolle
  • Daring Greatly, Brené Brown
  • Rise Sister Rise, Rebecca Campbell
  • A Return to Love, Marianne Williamson
  • You are Enough, Cassie Mendoza-Jones
  • Big Magic, Elizabeth Gilbert
  • Judgment Detox, Gabrielle Bernstein
  • Conversations with God, Neale Donald Walsh

My break-up with alcohol

Two years ago I had a fall out with alcohol. It was one of those break ups you have like the one with your first love that is painful, on-again off-again.

I’d just broken up with my fiancée two weeks earlier. I was weaning myself off anti-depressants, it was my first night out partying with friends. I lost control.

For the record- large amounts of alcohol and anti depressants don’t mix. They turn you into a monster.

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It didn’t end there either, my new found freedom led to a year of partying, letting off steam, ‘enjoying’ the freedom that comes from being a single 35 year old woman. Alcohol was the socially expected norm.

Until I realised my morning-after sorrow, regret, severe anxiety that could last for days was a result of the alcohol beating up my sensitive system. I was hopeless, unproductive, lethargic- I was a mess and I was hiding this from the world.

So I started to pull back. It took almost another year though to work through the mind-fuck that goes with beginning to choose not to drink.

It would seem everyone drinks and if you don’t, it can become an issue.

“Let’s catch up for a drink” (it’s never ‘a’ drink). Sunday afternoons = drinks, Lunch = ‘a’ wine. And when you decide you don’t want to drink alcohol people don’t know what to do with you.

If you’re choosing not to drink alcohol you better have a good excuse why.

I’ve said “no more”, and a friend will arrive back at the table with a drink for me regardless. I’ve said “Let’s catch up for a coffee” the response is “Let’s go to ‘X Bar for Happy Hour”. So when I started saying no enough the invites to hang out at all slowed until they pretty much stopped.

What I’ve learned is when you no longer want to drink alcohol your friends don’t know what to do with you.

I had this realisation on the back-end of being at an incredible retreat at the end of last year– People throw the word intoxication around like it’s nothing, like it’s just a state of beingjust like being happy, or sad is a state of being. Getting drunk or wasted has become a goal and is celebrated.

As a society we have become blasé to the meaning of intoxication.

According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary:

in·tox·i·ca·tion

: an abnormal state that is essentially a poisoning

: the condition of being drunk : inebriation

Let’s cover that again: an abnormal state that is essentially a poisoning.

Getting fucked up means far more than an idle term to describe a good time… it means you are filling your body with toxins so severely that your body cannot function well enough to be able to perform its’ basic duties e.g. speak properly, maintain clear thoughts and judgements, walk properly, operate a vehicle etc. etc.

And this is what equates to a good time?

Even more so this is what we teach our children being social and having a good time is all about.

Since this awakening, change in perspective- call it what you will… around the consumption of alcohol I’ve had, so many people have shared their alcohol stories with me.

It’s ruining relationships. It’s ruining peoples’ lives.
It’s destroying peoples’ bodies. It’s breaking up families.

Men are ostracised horrendously within social groups for not drinking. They are called all sorts of degrading and humiliating names that more often than not they drink to avoid the ‘shame’. Alcoholics are forced to explain their disease- which is no one’s business- to get people to back off- and then the stigma starts with that. Even if your reason is you are driving people will still say, “One won’t hurt..”.

I’m not sure why this is. Maybe deep down we all know drinking to excess is not good for us, so when one person bucks the trend it reminds us and we feel a little guilty? So to make the guilt go away we pressure (all in jest) the abstainee to get involved…?

Muhammad Ali

With such a growing awareness around health and exercise, about the food we put into our bodies, it just floors me the amount of ‘healthy’ people that are still choosing to poison their bodies by overindulging with alcohol.

At what point will we wake up to it’s true dangers and stop thinking we don’t have a problem?

Since I’ve pulled back from drinking I’ve been clearer, focussed and aware. I’m achieving things I never thought possible and opportunities are showing up for me in ways that blow my mind every day. I’m the happiest I have ever been.

Just some food for thought….

Much love,

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In light of all this I’ll be honest, on the very very rare occasion these days I may have a drink, maybe two – what I find though is my body can’t cope, and I really just can’t do it to myself anymore than that any more. 

 

The Value of Saying THANK YOU

 

How often we get caught up in life, the duties of day to day and forget to stop and take notice of what is going on around us. Or should I say WHO is around us.

I’m a big advocate for Gratitude, which is likely to be a common theme in my writing. Lately though I’ve been thinking a lot more about people, and how we can take our loved ones for granted so easily.

This could be our partner, our children, our parents, or our dearest friends… everyone in our life.

Our partner is always there. We both have responsibilities to keep the house running, work, cleaning, looking after kids and/or pets; that so often we forget to stop and SEE each other, connect to each other, appreciate and value each other.

We can get tired from all the “Have To Do’s”, pissed off with him for not picking up his goddamn undies off the floor and putting them in the basket, or her leaving makeup in the bathroom sink.

In my experience this is where resentment builds. It takes over and before long more of the little things they do that annoy you become your focus and they can’t do anything right.

But what if we took the focus off those things and redirected our energy towards things they do that support you?

Or better still, what if we asked ourselves –

How am I showing up for them?

What can I do to celebrate them that would make them feel loved and appreciated?

When we change our focus and turn the spotlight

on a person’s positive traits and good intentions,

and let go of the fact they do things differently to us,

things start to change.

You SEE them.

And when you acknowledge them, show gratitude and say thank you,

They begin to SEE you.

It’s the same with our children. We have so much responsibility for them, feeding them, ensuring they are clean, healthy, taken to school & extra activities, entertained- the list is never ending, but how often do we stop and thank them?

What would our life be like if we didn’t have them?

Ok, so we could be on a beach with a margarita in hand, but all jokes aside,

When was the last time you thanked your child for being them?

I know I surely don’t do it often enough. In fact my son (13.5) went through such an enormous growth spurt in the last 2 years, hormones were crazy- off the charts, I often joked at least one of us- if not both- may not come out of his teenage years alive!

This wasn’t good enough,something had to give. I changed my focus.

I started to pay attention to him, really tune in.

He is funny and smart, he tries hard to do the right thing, he has a fierceness that stands true to his beliefs, and he’s pretty fricken cool.

Once I stopped and really began paying attention to him and made more effort to thank him for the things he did for me – despite I may have had to ask 10 times initially {insert eye-roll}… When I drew attention to his positive qualities, praised him more – he calmed down, he began to be more appreciative of me, he started to TALK and SHARE and engage with me. He started to LISTEN. He started to say thank you to me.

And it did not cost a cent. There were no expensive bribes. It was just a matter of truly acknowledging him, showing him appreciation, paying attention, and revealing to him – “I see YOU”.

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The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman is a great resource if you don’t know how your partner or child best require love to be given to them. Each of us have our own love language, our own way we like to be loved, and if you are aware of your loved ones primary love language you have the opportunity to enhance your relationships ten-fold. Follow this link to do a quick quiz to discover your love language and have your loved one do the same.

I’ve put together a loved-ones-gratitude-worksheet that I hope you find useful for creating awareness for how you can best show gratitude to your loved ones.

Much love,

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If you would like to chat with me about this post, please connect with me by leaving a comment below or saying hello at hello@casandrasmith.com.au