What Are You Avoiding?

We all have something we’re avoiding. I’m not talking about the small stuff like avoiding taking out the trash. We avoid that because it’s not fun. Who wants to handle smelly garbage?

I’m talking about the bigger stuff. Like avoiding finishing that project your boss gave you or a self-imposed project for your business or personal life.

Why do we avoid it?

Often when we avoid something, there’s fear attached to it. If you find you don’t want to do something, peel back the layers to find out why you’re avoiding it. At the root you’ll more than likely find fear.

Let’s go back to the example of not finishing a project your boss wants done. Why don’t you want to do it? Fear of failure is the obvious answer. You’re afraid you won’t do a good job, you’ll be ridiculed, your co-worker will outshine you, whatever the case may be. That’s all fear.

Take a personal example. You’ve been saying you’re going to rip out the carpet and put in hardwood floors yourself. Why do you avoid it? You’re afraid (there’s that word again!) you won’t get it right, you’re not a professional, you’ll mess it up, it will take too long because you’re not a pro etc etc etc.

Remember What Fear is

What is fear again?

FEAR = False Events Appearing Real

That means it’s NOT real!

We make it real in our minds.

Even legitimate fears are still fears. What do I mean by that? Let’s go back to the DIY project. If you really want to do it yourself, but are afraid you can’t do it, google it. There are so many free resources these days it’s amazing. Youtube has tons of videos to walk you through just about anything. If that still doesn’t help you, find a Dummies series book. Ask a friend or neighbor who’s done it before. There are so many ways to get the knowledge. Fears often come from lack of knowledge. So, get it.  So much information is free!

What about the fear a co-worker will outshine you? What are you basing that on? Does that person have a track record of doing things better than you, better than everyone else? If that’s true, that’s another legitimate fear.

Take a Page from the Pros Playbook

Do what the sports pros do.

I’m not a big sports fan but even I know teams tape games. Then they review them to see not only what they could’ve done better, but where their opponents’ weaknesses are.

I’m not suggesting video your co-worker, but pay attention. Get the facts. Just like googling something,  get the information, get the skinny on your co-worker. What do they do that makes them better than you and the others? Look for their weaknesses. Everyone has some. Then game it out in a scenario where you become the winner. Based on what you’re observing about them, what can you do better?

Maybe You’re Tim the Tool Man

Sometimes, I realize, we just don’t have what it takes to do something. We could be like Tim the Tool Man who just can’t do DIY projects well. I have a neighbor like that. He blows up almost every lawnmower he’s had. He just isn’t cut out for DIY. Good thing for him his sons grew up and can take over. I haven’t heard of any lawnmowers blowing up lately so maybe they figured out their best solution – keep dad away from the power tools. That’s ok, sometimes we have to realize our limitations.

Sometimes our limitations are just that we don’t have enough interest. In my neighbor’s case could he have gotten better at using his equipment? Probably but maybe at the end of the day he didn’t really care that much about it. Some things bother some people more than others. Some people might be determined to get a grip on that “flaw” and make it work, but it didn’t seem to bother him. That’s ok, problem solved, he has his sons mowing the lawn and using the power tools now.

The same applies to our professional life. Sometimes we just aren’t cut out for the job or task we’re given. In that case your fear is trying to tell you that you’re really not that good at this. Sometimes our innate abilities can only go so far.  That’s ok. Change directions or accept it for what it is.

If that co-worker is always going to be better at that project than you no matter what you do, then maybe it’s time to accept it. As long as your boss is happy with your work, then who cares if the other guy outshines you? Sometimes second place is good enough. Second place is better than last place in my book. Even last place isn’t bad, it’s just an indicator letting you know you need to up your game or get a new game.

How to Beat the Fear

As I’ve mentioned in previous blog posts, fear isn’t a bad thing. It’s our alert system. It’s when it rules our life and clouds our decision that it becomes an issue. If you find you’re avoiding something, look for the fear. Then peel back the layers of the fear. Is it a legitimate fear? Are you really subpar at what you’re doing? Then get help, google it.

If it’s an illegitimate fear, such as your ego talking, examine it. Do you want to be better than your coworker because you want to disprove those comments your parents made in your childhood? You know the ones. That you’re stupid or incompetent or whatever they were. Those are beliefs and beliefs aren’t real.

As we’ve also discussed before, parents often say things that aren’t true because of their own state of mind. Maybe they were angry at the time or couldn’t handle the pressures of being a parent or their job or who knows what. The possibilities are endless. Bottom line is just because your parents described you as something does not make it true. Remember that, always.

To recap, then, whenever you’re avoiding something look for the fear. Then ask yourself if it’s real. If it’s real such as you lack the skills, get them. If it’s a worry stemming from an old belief, realize it’s not real. Once you can start to identify these things, you’ll find you avoid things a whole lot less. Well, maybe not taking out the trash, but that’s a different story! LOL

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