Are you afraid to fail, succeed or both?
These twin siblings walk together, arm in arm, and it can be really hard to separate them or even tell them apart. When we’re afraid to fail, we usually feel paralyzed and unable to take the necessary steps to achieve success. Succeeding can’t happen without failing; ergo, being afraid to fail often translates into being afraid to succeed.
What’s behind these fears? If we dig deeply enough, sooner or later we come to realize that most of our surface fears stem from three major core fears: Not being good enough; being unworthy; and being afraid of living and getting hurt in the process. If we believe we are unworthy or not good enough, and if we’re afraid to live, we end up attracting people, events, circumstances, etc, that will reinforce those fears… As we believe, so it is.
As everyone else, I’ve had my share of failing. One of the most significant failure experiences happened in 2010. As a consequence of the 2008 economic crisis, among other factors, my business partner and I had to close our graphic design and publishing business. Since I had unwisely connected my personal credit to the business, I had to declare bankruptcy and lost my home in the process. I had to start over in my 40’s, and everything I had believed in or counted on didn’t make sense any longer. I was feeling lost, confused, depressed and very angry. After a period of grieving and a short stretch working for the U.S. Census, I came to the realization that I needed to start reinventing myself.
Since 2002, I had been learning about and experimenting with different forms of holistic practices as a side activity. I really enjoyed that work, so I decided to pursue the integrative arts as a career. The research I conducted about federally accredited holistic healthcare programs led me to SWIHA - Southwest Institute of Healing Arts in Tempe, AZ as the best choice for my purposes. In 2011, when I enrolled in the SWIHA AOS degree program in Holistic Health Care, I had the choice to specialize in nutrition or hypnotherapy; I chose the latter, which led me to a fulfilling career in hypno-coaching. I obtained my AOS degree in Holistic Healthcare in 2013, became certified as a Master Hypnotherapist by the ABH and as a Certified Hypnotherapist by the IMDHA, and founded The Healers Home (formerly The Ragi Center for Self-Awareness), through which I practice Clinical Hypnotherapy, Life Coaching and other holistic modalities. In addition, I teach SWIHA online classes and offer corporate workshop series and presentations about hypnotherapy for the local community. Currently, I’m co-authoring a book with my mentor and former teacher about implementing a volunteer-based guided imagery program at a hospital or health care facility.
As I often share as part of resistance coaching for the classes I teach online, failure paves the road to success. However, there's a big difference between failing and feeling like a failure. As my wise friend Judi L. once shared during an online group meeting, “failure only exists in our minds—mistakes are essential to set us in different directions and on different paths. We can't let fear of making mistakes prevent us from moving forward. When we fail or make the wrong choice, we're meant to learn from those experiences and take the next leap. Everything is pushing us to our higher purpose.”
Learning how to make mistakes and fail with humility, without beating ourselves up, is one of the most courageous, empowering and self-loving choices we can make in life.
Failing is especially good for business. As a matter of fact, the current trend is to fail fast to get that part of the process out of the way and fail mindfully to acquire the necessary knowledge and successfully apply the lessons (please check out some of the awesome videos from The Failure Institute; link under References). Also, sharing our struggles is one of the most effective ways to connect with and engage our audience.
How to Address Fear?
To help you further on your own journey of bringing fear to light, I recommend hypno-coaching to work through resistance and fears. A good script to begin with is Wall of Fear, by Linda Bennett, with focus on the fears of not being good enough and/or being unworthy. A good follow-up script would be Removing the Armor for releasing limitations, also by Linda Bennett.
In addition to hypno-coaching, there are many effective exercises and tools to help deal with fear:
- Asking yourself: “What’s the worst that can happen?” Our wild imaginations can create some far-off doomsday scenarios, making it easier to laugh at and dismiss our fears.
- Visualizing the process of making mistakes and failing as if you were watching an old black-and-white comedy-capers-style silent movie (or another funny, cartoonish story style) is another effective way to make light of our failings… and related fears.
- Self-parenting through soothing, confident-building self-talk. Be the parent that you wish you’d had!
- Repeating positive affirmations and powerful mantras.
- Doing mirror work, which also involves using affirmations and mantras.
- Writing your eulogy: What do you want to be remembered for? What does a meaningful life with no regrets mean to you?
- Testing your fears: Ask yourself powerful questions, or ask a professional therapist work with you.
- Mel Robbins shares effective tips to trick the brain into action (please see two of her videos under References). As per Becca Briley’s fitting comment about the 5 Second Rule brain trick during our live talk, "Instead of RETRACTION, we choose IN-ACTION" (please see link under References).
- Activities like rock climbing or singing karaoke can reveal your fear patterns and help you work through them. For instance, when I started indoor rock-climbing a few months ago , I noticed that, whenever I had a successful climbing session, I’d start making excuses about why I probably wouldn’t be able to do so well next time… I recognized it as a defensive mechanism through which I’d justify myself in advance for possible failures. Once I was aware of this pattern, I would catch myself every time I’d be thinking of such excuses and take action by responsibly challenging myself and learning to be ok with not-so-good climbing days.
- Asking for help and support is an important part of this process, too. No one does it alone! In addition to friends and family support (or if you can’t count on friends and family), look for other sources, such as local and online groups and orgs that support the work you do (or the work you would like to get involved in).
What other tools are you familiar with?
FINAL THOUGHT: Life can be much better if we stop constantly listening to our inner critic and being so hard on ourselves and others. Life already has enough challenges without us having to make it any harder… In short: It would behoove us to just lighten the “freak” up a little.
© Gisele Marasca-Vargas; 03/09/23
"Faith Over Fear" Image by Alex Shute at Unsplash
Image of me rock climbing (taken by my husband)
The Failure Institute - Videos
Mel Robbins: 5 Second Rule
How to Stop Screwing Yourself Over - Mel Robbins
SWIHA Lean Into Your Success Facebook group - March 8, 2023 Live Talk hosted by Becca Briley, with Gisele Marasca-Vargas
...Or How to Become One
Hi, my name is Gisele... and I’m a functional whiner.
What’s a functional whiner, you may ask? It’s someone who uses whining as a tool for venting, but still manages to roll up their sleeves and do what needs to be done.
Some people are brought up to believe that they should be strong, they should toughen up, and they shouldn’t complain about stuff. Those with that kind of upbringing end up by internalizing their feelings and emotions, and often blow up in anger or get sick a lot.
On the other end of the spectrum, others grow up being enabled to whine about everything and everyone, and regard themselves as constant victims. They can’t seem to complete anything they start or achieve much in life.
Ideally, we should work towards finding a balance between practicing resilience when faced with life’s challenges and allowing ourselves to express what we feel during our weak moments. That includes being able to whine a bit.
Whining can help unclutter the brain and clear the space for imagination and innovation, including finding creative solutions for life’s problems.
One of my main mottos is: “It ain’t worth doing if you can’t whine about it.” However, I live by important whining rules that help create that balance between safely expressing myself and still being able to achieve my goals. Hence, the Functional Whiner.
The Functional Whiner Rules for Proper Whining Etiquette:
1) Choose the right ears to whine to. Try not to whine to the same person all the time; even if that person is someone whom you really can count on, such as your spouse or partner, another family member or your best friend. Spread the “joy” around! Sometimes, your journal can be your ears.
I also suggest trying the morning pages exercise mentioned by Julia Cameron on her book The Artist’s Way. This exercise, also known as brain drain or mind dump, is an effective tool for uncluttering the brain and sparking creativity.
2) Limit your allowed “whine” time. After all, you have to leave room on your schedule for the rest of... you know, life. If left unchecked, whining can surround you with an aura of negativity, consume you, and take over your life.
3) Whine... but always follow a whining session with a positive action step. In other words: Whine about what you have to do... and then do it, anyway. That’s called whining with a purpose!
4) Don’t whine-shame yourself (or others) and don’t accept whine-shaming. You gotta do what you gotta do to get yourself motivated and ready for action. If whining is one of your tools of choice, own it! As long as you use it well and don’t abuse the privilege, whining can actually help you move forward. But remember, if you dish it out, you also have to be able to take it.
5) Don’t over-whine; especially if you’ve already worn out all your available ears, and even your journal would refuse to open its pages to your woes, if it had a choice. At a certain point, it will be time for less whining and more action.
6) Don’t get caught up on the blame game during your whining session. Although you can certainly mention the perceived or real injustices and offenses from others in passing during your whining session, this exercise isn’t supposed to be about anything or anyone else but yourself and your own need to express your take on the unfairness of life. The main purpose here is to let it all go and move on after you’re done whining; so it wouldn’t help to get stuck in the blaming and finger-pointing part, right?
7) Select-whine (or Serenity-whine). As the Serenity Prayer goes, everyone has to learn to accept things they can’t change, build the courage to change what they can, and understand how to tell the difference. Obviously, it’s best to whine about things you can change, as you can use whining as a spring board to take some positive action steps about the things you do have control over.
8) Use whining as a tool, not an excuse. Venting off helps. Doing it to the point that you see yourself as the eternal victim and get paralyzed or lost in the whining phase, doesn’t.
9) Hire a professional you can whine to. The most attentive and helpful ears are usually the ones you pay for! You’re much more likely to receive useful advice, effective tools and guidance about your next positive steps from qualified professionals.
10) Whine not? Ideally, try to build up to the point where whining isn’t needed any longer. Even when properly used as a helpful tool, whining still takes a lot of time and energy that could be better used somewhere else...
Until then, whine away! Just start doing it more functionally and join the Functional Whiner club!
FYI, I still use whining as a tool... Something else to continue working on... ;)
© Gisele Marasca-Vargas; 05/14/22
Photo by Gundula Vogel on Pixabay
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A Simple Perspective Change…
As this year comes to an end, most of us are realizing that we’ve fallen short of accomplishing all of the goals we had set for the year; therefore, the pressure of making changes for the New Year starts to build up, which often prompts us to make new resolution lists. This year, however, I've decided to try something different: Working on a change of perspective, rather than a long (and ominous) resolution list.
Have you ever watched the movie How Do You Know? This delightful rom-com features excellent actors, including Jack Nicholson; but the best thing about it is the fact that it has some really good quotes. Here’s one of my favorites:
“So I was just wondering if there was one general thing that you've found over the years to be generally true in a general way that would help anyone in any situation?” (Lisa, Reese Witherspoon’s character)
“That's a great question; yes, I would say figure out what you want and learn how to ask for it.” (Psychiatrist, Tony Shalhoub’s character)
From the same movie, here’s what George (Paul Rudd’s character) says to Lisa, after using the awesome story of how Play-Doh was created as an example:
“We’re all just one small adjustment away from making our lives work.”
For this New Year, I’ll be working on figuring out what I really want, learning to get better at how I ask for it, and being open to all those small adjustments that can make life work :)
Happy New Year!
© Gisele Marasca-Vargas; 12/28/21
Photo by Hello I'm Nik on Unsplash
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…But Being Defined by Labels Can Become a Deficiency
Never before have we had access to so much information about… well, pretty much everything. That can be helpful and useful in many ways, if we have the discernment to sift through the overload of available information and determined what’s accurate, what’s inaccurate, what’s distorted by the sponsors behind the information being disseminated, and so forth. If we do manage to come out on the other side of the maze, there’s plenty of reliable information we can access on our own or through reputable healthcare professionals to help answer our questions.
Due to the outspread availability of information, it has also become easier to label conditions, even when those labels mean that current knowledge doesn’t have all the answers and healthcare professionals don’t really have a clue about what’s going on or how to cure it. Still, there are plenty of labels that get thrown around in relation to diseases and illnesses with internal, external and unknown causes that doctors can’t quite define or understand, from autoimmune to brain-related/neurological conditions such as RA, Fibromyalgia, Autism and Alzheimer’s, to name just a few.
On one hand, it’s important to know as much as possible about health issues and conditions that may limit our lives in any way. Knowledge is power; it can enable us to manage such issues and maintain a healthier, more fulfilling lifestyle.
On the other hand, being defined by such labels can become a deficiency if that instills fear in us, preventing us from living life to the best of our abilities. It can become a deficiency if we accept these labels without question and feel limited to the point where they are used as excuses to stop growing, to justify the belief that we’re not capable of pushing ourselves out of our comfort zone, trying to overcome our circumstances and doing better every day. Labeling can lead to resignation that makes us forget the power of the mind and spirit.
As someone who deals with frequent anxiety and even the occasional panic attack due to OCPD, and who has discovered as an adult that I might be on the lower end of the neurodivergent spectrum (in addition to having physical issues such as herniated disks and hip repair surgery), I understand how difficult it can be to deal with and manage a limiting condition. Because I don’t want to take medication, managing myself takes a combination of alternative therapies (hypnotherapy, aromatherapy, flower essences, essential oils, etc), along with regular meditation, breathing techniques, etc. Exercising and practicing yoga also help; so do writing and coloring book therapy. In other words, proper self care is vital; that includes establishing priorities and strong boundaries that involve plenty of quiet time, while not neglecting to stay connected with loved ones. I also developed the habit of deliberately shifting my thinking when I start obsessing and feeling anxious about something; I try to focus on the ultimate goal, set my intention and simply say to myself: "I give this to God (or my guides, Angels, Source, Universe, etc)." That opens the space to receive clear guidance and be able to follow it, even when it’s unsettling. Not beating myself up for not being perfect is also key!
Of course, each individual has different needs and needs to find their own ways to cope or recover; but here are some additional tools that have been effective for myself, my clients and others who have tried them:
- Rather than reminding myself of why I can't do something, I make sure to constantly re-frame that thought by teaching myself how I can do anything I set my intention to accomplish.
- Hypno-coaching can help jump-start healing on a subconscious level by using scripts such as Gateway to Healing by Linda Bennett and Self-Health by A. Chips.
- The Emotion Code is a simple technique to help release trapped negative emotions from the body: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3g7pRNLJKh4
- Mel Robbins' 5 Second Rule and other similar techniques are effective shortcuts to trick the brain into doing what I want it to do: htthttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nI2VQ-ZsNr0
- The morning pages exercise (also known as brain drain or mind dump) is a powerful method of uncluttering the brain and opening the space for creative solutions to life’s puzzle:
Here's Everything I Learned From Doing Morning Pages Every Day
FINAL WORD: We are all works in progress, doing the best we know how at any given moment. Whatever challenges we deal with on the physical, mental emotional and spiritual levels, we are the only ones with the power to define ourselves; and that in itself is an organic, ever-changing process. Let’s not get stuck on a label!
© Gisele Marasca-Vargas; 09/28/21
Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash
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