Posts Tagged ‘fear of failure’

Spotting a UOF

Tuesday, March 11th, 2008

(For my English usage blog, click here.)

No, this title isn’t a typo. I am not writing about UFOs. A UOF, unlike a UFO, has had millions of confirmed sightings and can be easily spotted. It is the Uh Oh Factor: the fears, self-judgments, and limiting beliefs that stop us dead in our tracks, generally right before or right after we take a risk.

You know how your mind works: You apply for a job and you pump yourself up for the interview, telling yourself that you are the right person—perhaps the most qualified candidate—and that they’d be fools to pass you up. You remind yourself of how well you have performed in your current position and how undervalued you have been, which is why you deserve that new position.

But then you no sooner submit your résumé and that little voice starts whispering in your ear, “What if I don’t get the job? What if it means I have to travel more? What if I don’t like my new boss? What if I don’t like my new colleagues? What if they don’t like me? What if I have to work longer hours?” And the worst what if of all is the one with the F word, “What if I fail?” (This mindset works similarly with dating.)

All of our what ifs create the Uh Oh Factor: the negative thinking that reminds us of each of our character flaws, every painfully embarrassing moment from our past, every fear that’s woken us up at 2:00 A.M. bathed in sweat. This Uh Oh Factor (UOF), untended to, can instantly overpower our tenuous hold on our still-delicate affirmations.

The volume of our UOF will only go up if we try to ignore it. In short order, we will hear the voices within shouting, “You’re so full of yourself. Who were you to think you could land this job? You’re a fraud, a phony. They’ll see right through you.” Try to push these negative thoughts away and it’s like playing Whack-A-Mole: you have to be on high alert looking for where and how they’re going to pop up again if you’re going to defeat them.

So what can you do when the UOF begins to override your confidence? As Ram Dass, a wonderfully funny Buddhist teacher says, you can practice thinking of your Uh Oh thoughts—those neurotic fears, self-judgments, and limiting beliefs—as little schmos. Then, instead of trying to bar them from entry, which is futile anyway, invite them in for tea.

Imagine this scene: Three little schmos, looking like Snow White’s dwarves, come knocking at your door. Instead of hiding in the coat closet, you welcome them in, escorting them to the dining room table. Without any need for small talk, you say to the one on your right, “I recognize you. You’re the schmo who tells me I’m not good enough.” Then you turn to your left. “And you’re the schmo who catalogues the imperfections of my body.” Now you look across the table at another one who is returning your grin and say, “And you, you’re the schmo who reminds me of all my mistakes.” Then, with an inclusive sweep of your arm, you announce, “Thank you all for having tea with me.” You look at your watch and then continue, “But tea time is over because, after all, I am a busy person.” You see your little schmos to the door, although they are reluctant to go because you’ve been such a good listener. When they ask if they can come back, you let them know that they needn’t worry; certainly you’ll hear them next time they come knocking. You wave to them as they retreat and then close the door with a sigh of relief.

What you do next is remember to feel grateful that you have learned how to say hello and goodbye to your little schmos. Then you restate your affirmations, call on your support system to remind you of your best qualities, demonstrate behaviors that make you feel good about the person you see in the mirror, and take a leap of faith that these practices will not only keep you sane but will provide you with the courage to take the next risk that your spirit urges you towards.

Announcements

Create Your Abundant Life With Jane
at Club Med in Cancun!
June 21-28, 2008
Enjoy the beautiful beach, delicious food, and luxurious setting while experiencing enriching programs by renowned self-help leaders, including a NEW program that I am offering:
Create Your Abundant Life NOW!
How do you know if you have limiting beliefs around abundance?
Just ask yourself:

Do I believe that abundance is that which already exists?
Do I believe that money is love?
If you can’t answer both questions with a resounding YES!, then don’t waste any more of your life suffering in lack.

Here’s another test of your abundance quotient:
Do you feel that you don’t have enough:
• Time
• Money
• Energy
• Love
• Intimacy
• Fun
• Self-esteem
• Inspiration, or
• Direction
There is a Buddhist saying that no enemy can harm us as much as our own worst thoughts. Three kinds of negative thoughts stop us from manifesting abundance:
• Fear
• Self-judgments
• Limiting beliefs

Any one of them can sabotage us, keep us stuck in a rut, stress us out, cause us confusion, or make us want to give up.
You will experience cutting-edge strategies and intriguing processes so that you will begin immediately to manifest your spirit’s deepest desires.
Price: Get your Friend of Jane discount $1999 (regular price $2600)/$1000 for children under 18, which includes lodging, meals, airport transportation, and all programs. Check out this beautiful, newly renovated Club Med for yourself.
Contact Teresa Williamson at teresa@tangodiva.com for more information and to register. Put in your Subject Line: Club Med w/Jane

About Jane Straus
Jane is a trusted life coach, dynamic keynote speaker, and the author of Enough Is Enough! Stop Enduring and Start Living Your Extraordinary Life. With humor and grace, Jane offers her clients and seminar participants insights and exercises to ensure that the next chapter of their lives is about thriving as the unique individuals they have always been and the extraordinary ones they are still becoming. She serves clients worldwide and invites you to visit her site, www.stopenduring.com. Here you will find excerpts from her book, more articles, TV and radio interviews, and clips from her presentations.

She is also the author of The Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation, www.grammarbook.com, an award-winning online resource and workbook with easy-to-understand rules, real-world examples, and fun quizzes. Contact Jane at Jane@JaneStraus.com.

Down with Stress/Up with Thriving

Saturday, February 2nd, 2008

Click here to read my English usage blogs.

This is a modified version of a talk I gave at the KCBS Health Fair in San Francisco on February 2, 2008. My panel’s room was set up for 30 people and 150 showed up. The technicians scrambled to set up speakers in the hallway so the overflowing crowd could hear.

Down with Stress/Up with Thriving

I have a need for full confession here—call it my Jewish guilt—before I go on to give you advice about how to lower your stress and thrive more. At 23 years of age I had a stroke. At 48 I had a brain tumor. So although I’m not the poster child for handling stress or always being tuned in to the subtle and not-so-subtle messages of my mind/body/spirit, I have spent a good portion of my 27 years as a life coach seeking correlations between health and happiness for my clients as well as for myself.

First of all, stress is a catchall phrase and not so useful when we’re looking to thrive and create a more extraordinary life. Instead, I recommend asking yourself whether you are Enduring or Persevering. Both may feel stressful. But Enduring leads to the blahs and worse while Persevering leads to thriving. Here are just some of the symptoms of Endurance: anxiety, addiction, boredom, cynicism, depression, hopelessness, helplessness, illness, “Is that all there is?” lack of energy, procrastination, resentment, ruts, and “Why me, Lord?” If you are suffering from any of these symptoms, then I encourage you to consider that you are in some Endurance.

So how do we end up in Endurance and how do we get out of it? Most of us have an underlying belief, conscious or unconscious, in what I call The Big Lie. The Big Lie is that we think that we are not fully worthy. If we don’t believe we are fully worthy of thriving or having an extraordinary, abundant life, we will sabotage ourselves using three universal techniques:
• Stoking our fears
• Whipping ourselves with our self-judgments
• Gathering evidence for our limiting beliefs.

Example: Have you ever had a bad hair day? If so, then you know exactly what I’m talking about. You wake up in the morning feeling ugly. That’s your self-judgment. So what do you do? Instead of picking out your nicest or sexiest outfit, you dress to be invisible. Why? Because you fear being noticed for how ugly you think you look. Then you leave home, go to work, and what happens? No one notices you. No one compliments you. And what does this do? It confirms your limiting belief that you are not attractive. This is just one example of the wisdom of the Buddhist saying that no enemy can harm us as much as our own worst thoughts.

Here is my personal example of a bad hair day: I was 48 years old and had not yet written my book, Enough Is Enough! Why? I had stoked my fear that I would be rejected by publishers and the public. I had self-judgments that I wasn’t a good enough writer, even though I had written and sold over 100,000 copies of my Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation and had edited for friends and colleagues for 30 years. And I had plenty of evidence that there were enough self-help books out there glutting the market already and that mine would get lost in the pile. What stoking my fear, whipping up my self-judgments, and gathering evidence for my limiting beliefs did was to keep me in endurance by perpetuating The Big Lie that I wasn’t worthy. My personal favorite symptoms of Endurance were boredom and resentment.

Then I was diagnosed with a brain tumor. That, as we say, was my wake-up call. I asked myself, “If I don’t make it through the surgery, will I have any regrets?” The answer was a resounding yes. I had seven weeks between diagnosis and surgery, during which time I bargained with the Universe. Here was the deal I asked for: Let me live and come out of surgery coherent and I’ll write the book. I’ll even be willing to believe that I’m worthy of doing so. Gratefully, the Universe must have acquiesced so I started writing. Now writing a book is no stroll in the park, especially if you really care about your topic and audience. But the difference was that, once I decided to say boo back to my fears, stopped reminding myself of all my self-judgments, and began to question the authority of my limiting beliefs, I found that I was no longer Enduring; I was Persevering.

Writing the book was still stressful. I had to write late at night because I still had my commitment to my clients as well as to my young daughter and loving husband. I had an editor who sent back my work full of red ink on a daily basis. But it was different. Perseverance is energizing. It is a commitment to the process, regardless of any particular outcome. I found that I was willing to write the book not knowing if it would ever be published or read by another human being.

I think that the secret to thriving that also lowers your stress level is to counter The Big Lie by listening to your Spirit’s longings. Your spirit knows what really matters and it knows when you’re enduring rather than persevering.

So here are five things you can do right now to thrive more:
1. Make amends for past misdeeds and forgive yourself daily so that you can feel worthy of thriving.
2. Say boo back to at least one fear. Courage is not the absence of fear; it is the commitment to persevere through it.
3. Allow yourself to be wrong about your self-judgments and limiting beliefs. Being right just keeps you enduring in survival mode.
4. Listen more closely to your spirit’s longings.
5. Model your behaviors after those you admire. Or, as one bumper sticker says, “Become the person your dog thinks you are.”

Announcements

On the Couch—A Unique Opportunity With Jane
Can You Really Find Insight/Resolution/Relief/Renewal in 15 minutes or less? Yes!
Sit with Jane for just a few minutes and she will help you:
get out of a rut
• release old pain
• make a life-changing decision
• discover your passion
• find clarity
• forgive yourself and others
• experience compassion
• thrive

Location: Nomadic Outfitters, 2426 California St. (at Fillmore), S.F., (415) 345-8338
Date/Time: Tuesday, February 12, 2008, 4:00 – 5:30 p.m.
Price: Free! No appointment necessary. Drop in and talk with Jane, listen to others share, and/or shop. All donations go to hospice.

Handle Stress to Boost Immunity presented by Jane at the KCBS Health Fair in San Francisco with Keynote Speaker Dr. Mehmet Oz
I was honored to be invited as a panelist, along with Melina Jampolis, M.D., host of Fit TV’s Diet Doctor and author of The No Time to Lose Diet; and Dr. Jacob Leone, Naturopathic & Integrative Medicine Practitioner, to discuss Boosting Immunity: Nutrition, Supplements, and Stress. I promise to have the contents of my presentation available for you on my Web site shortly.

About Jane Straus
Jane is a trusted life coach, dynamic keynote speaker, and the author of Enough Is Enough! Stop Enduring and Start Living Your Extraordinary Life. With humor and grace, Jane offers her clients and seminar participants insights and exercises to ensure that the next chapter of their lives is about thriving as the unique individuals they have always been and the extraordinary ones they are still becoming. She serves clients worldwide and invites you to visit her site, www.stopenduring.com. Here you will find excerpts from her book, more articles, TV and radio interviews, and clips from her presentations.

She is also the author of The Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation, www.grammarbook.com, an award-winning online resource and workbook with easy-to-understand rules, real-world examples, and fun quizzes. Contact Jane at Jane@JaneStraus.com.

The Key to Keeping Your New Year’s Resolutions

Saturday, December 1st, 2007
 
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To read my English usage blogs, visit Grammarbook.com.

Dear Jane,
I want to make some New Year’s resolutions but I don’t want to set myself up for failure, which I’ve done in the past. How can I make sure that I succeed this time?

Most of us use New Year’s resolutions as a way to try to boost our self-esteem. We think that if we lose weight, exercise, or pay off our credit card debt, we’ll feel better about ourselves. This seems logical but it’s actually backwards thinking. Why?

Most of us don’t believe that we are worthy of treating ourselves better. That’s why we start and then drop so many of our resolutions. After all, if we believed we were truly worthy, we’d already be doing these things on our list, right? If this rings true for you, then your first step is to practice affirming your worthiness on a daily basis.

If you like freshly roasted coffee, treat yourself. If you have socks with holes in them, throw them out. Clean out your closet of clothes that no longer fit or that don’t make you feel attractive. Wash your car if that makes you feel better about yourself. Eat foods that are both healthy and delicious. If you don’t like the picture on your driver’s license, go to the DMV looking just the way you’d like and get a new picture taken. You don’t have to wait until your license is expiring. Don’t start the New Year depriving yourself. Let go of anything and everything that doesn’t bolster your worthiness. In my book, Enough Is Enough!, I write that changing, even tweaking, behaviors is a great way to change your mind and begin thriving.

When you feel better about yourself because you’ve been treating yourself with more respect and compassion, you’re ready (and more trustworthy) to make a list of New Year’s resolutions. My recommendation is to start with only one resolution at a time and focus on that. Here’s why: In Enough Is Enough!, I write about choosing to live in Classroom Earth vs. Courtroom Earth. In Courtroom Earth, we are our own judge, jury, and executioner. We are our own worst adversary, finding ourselves guilty for every infraction of our self-imposed laws. Courtroom Earth doesn’t affirm your worthiness. So get out of the courtroom and walk into Classroom Earth. Here is where you get to learn, practice, make mistakes, and try again, reinforcing, not undermining, your self-esteem and worthiness.

When you’ve committed to one new activity or behavior long enough, it will become a habit. You will be able to stick to an exercise regimen, lose weight, learn that foreign language, pay off your credit card debt, or keep any New Year’s resolution by treating yourself as the worthy being you are.

And speaking of worthiness, our neighbors in New Orleans, still suffering from the aftermath of Katrina and from governmental neglect, are grateful for everything we, as individuals, do for them. My visit there to help, which was just as much a gift to me, gave me some ideas and contacts:

*Kim Nance at James Weldon Johnson Elementary School could use the support of mental health professionals and health professionals: (504) 861-7718. The children, many of them living with strangers, neighbors, or distant relatives are suffering from post-traumatic stress and depression as are their caregivers. Also, the school could really use textbooks.

*Acupuncturists, chiropractors, dentists, massage therapists—just show up. The word will spread quickly that you’re there and are offering services.

*Ask one of your local schools to become a “sister school.”

*Buy your holiday gifts from local merchants. Many of them have Web sites. Janet’s jewelry store is Mon Coeur: www.moncoeurneworleans.com. Janet gives a tremendous amount to the community through her business, so your support helps many others get back on their feet. Besides, her jewelry is beautiful.

*Support Habitat for Humanity, which is helping to build a lovely enclave for displaced musicians.

*Bring your children there so they have an opportunity to pitch in.

*Regardless of your religious beliefs, support the church organizations still handing out food and providing shelter.

*Send this blog to everyone on your e-mail list. There is such power in numbers.

Our politics and opinions about the city’s future don’t matter. What matters is the care of each other’s hearts and spirits and that is easier to provide than what we have been taught to believe. This was my lesson from New Orleans. I’m going back. Care to join me?

ANNOUNCEMENT

Jane on TV January 10, 2008
I will be interviewed on NBC 11’s The Bay Area Today on January 10. I will be talking about New Year’s resolutions. Expect a fresh take on the subject. More details to follow.

About Jane
Jane Straus is a trusted life coach, dynamic keynote speaker, and the author of Enough Is Enough! Stop Enduring and Start Living Your Extraordinary Life. With humor and grace, Jane offers her clients and seminar participants insights and exercises to ensure that the next chapter of their lives is about thriving as the unique individuals they have always been and the extraordinary ones they are still becoming. She serves clients worldwide and invites you to visit her site, StopEnduring.com. Here you will find excerpts from her book, more articles, TV and radio interviews, and clips from her presentations.
She is also the author of The Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation, Grammarbook.com, an award-winning online resource and workbook with easy-to-understand rules, real-world examples, and fun quizzes.
Contact Jane at Jane@JaneStraus.com.

How to Overcome Procrastination

Friday, January 19th, 2007
 
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Why can’t I ever finish anything? Why do I procrastinate so much?

Most of us think we are simply lazy when we procrastinate. But the truth is that the cause of most procrastination isn’t laziness; it’s fear. We may be afraid that the task at hand is overwhelming or we may be afraid of failing at it. These are the two biggest fears that tend to keep us in approach/avoidance mode.

Here are five key ways to get past your resistance and get “it” done, whatever the “it” is:

1. Chunk it down. Find small ways to work on a project for a limited amount of time. Sharpen some pencils. Clean up your desk. Read some background material. Write one paragraph. Make one phone call. Look up one piece of information. Eat one healthy meal instead of snacking on junk food.
2. Reward yourself immediately for accomplishing something towards your goal. If you only reward yourself for completing something that feels huge, you are setting yourself up for feeling like a failure all along the way. Make sure your reward isn’t counterproductive. For example, if you want to become fit or lose weight, don’t reward yourself with chocolate cake. Instead, take time off for a walk or to watch a movie.
3. Set a new goal that is reasonable, attainable, and rewardable. Now you’re ready for the next step. If you committed to 15 minutes in Step 1, commit to 30 minutes this time. You may find that your ability to stick with a project increases as you get more invested in it.
4. Make a commitment to someone else that you will do what you say you want to do. Committing to others is a way of ensuring that we are answerable for our promises. Most of us find it easier to keep commitments to others than to ourselves.
5. Create an affirmation. It can be something like, “I now keep my commitments.” I now achieve my goals.” “I finish what I start.” “I no longer let fear stop me.” Affirmations are positive thoughts you are willing to begin believing for your highest good.

Commit to this five-step plan and you will have achieved what you set out to do and build your self-esteem in the process.

For more on living your extraordinary life in every way, please visit Jane Straus’s web site, www.stopenduring.com. Read her articles, watch video excerpts of her seminars, listen to her free teleseminars, schedule a private coaching session, book Jane for a keynote, and order Enough Is Enough! Stop Enduring and Start Living Your Extraordinary Life.

When Fear Holds You Back

Monday, January 1st, 2007
 
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Dear Jane,
I’m re-taking a short seminar and then starting my own business. But something is holding me back. I know it’s fear, but so what!

Good for you for recognizing that it’s fear and for not making excuses, which means you are ready to say “boo” back to fear. Here are a few suggestions you’ll find in my book, Enough is Enough!, in the chapter “Break the Spell of Fear: Make Fear Your Ally”:

1. Imagine your worst fear and blow it up even bigger. Now ask yourself if you could live with those consequences. If the answer is yes, you will probably feel the fear decrease instantly.
2. Whatever you are afraid of—failure, success, abandonment, loneliness, financial insecurity—imagine that you never even start what you have set out to do. Imagine you are at the end of your life lying in bed. Are you saying to yourself, “I’m so proud that I played it safe, that I never took the risk.” Or are you saying to yourself, “I wish I had taken the risk regardless of the outcome.” If the answer is the latter, don’t let fear control you. It will only lead to regret.
3. Decide ahead of time that, no matter what happens, you will hold your head up high for having had the courage to turn your dream into a reality.
4. Make a commitment to someone else that you will move forward with your plans. Sometimes committing to others helps keep us on track.
5. Talk to others in your line of work who have been through what you are facing. Their support and suggestions will be very meaningful.

About Jane
Jane Straus is a trusted life coach, dynamic keynote speaker, and the author of Enough Is Enough! Stop Enduring and Start Living Your Extraordinary Life. With humor and grace, Jane offers her clients and seminar participants insights and exercises to ensure that the next chapter of their lives is about thriving as the unique individuals they have always been and the extraordinary ones they are still becoming. She serves clients worldwide and invites you to visit her site, StopEnduring.com. Here you will find excerpts from her book, more articles, TV and radio interviews, and clips from her presentations.
She is also the author of The Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation, Grammarbook.com, an award-winning online resource and workbook with easy-to-understand rules, real-world examples, and fun quizzes.
Contact Jane at Jane@JaneStraus.com.

Overcoming Your Fear of Public Speaking

Thursday, December 14th, 2006

Dear Jane,
How can I overcome my fear of public speaking?

Did you know that a survey showed that Americans fear public speaking more than they fear death? Since people who are afraid to speak in public believe they may die from stage fright, it’s a double whammy.

So first, take comfort in knowing you share a fear with most of the human race. This fear is often based on a fear of making a fool of ourselves, of being embarrassed, humiliated, or criticized. Underlying that may be a belief that we are not worthy of respect for voicing our thoughts. So the first step is to respect your own voice, your own thoughts, your own being regardless of others. This is no easy task but it is good practice whether you are ever in front of people or not. You can start by acknowledging your qualities. Make a list of them. Before you go up “on stage,” look at that list to remind yourself of who you really are. This may help you detach from the fearful outcome you dread.

There are other strategies you can try too. For instance, you can imagine your audience naked or in the bathroom. This brings them down a notch or two. You can also visualize success instead of imagining the worst-case scenario. Another trick that many nervous speakers use (I’ll include myself here) is to set up a presentation in an interactive way so you don’t have to speak “in a vacuum.” I am comforted by knowing what people are thinking and feeling during my presentation. So you can pose a question for your audience or tell them in advance that you encourage them to raise their hands to interrupt you.

The last suggestion I’ll give here is that you practice. Like any other skill, the less you resist it and the more you do it, the more comfortable you will become. You will also admire yourself more for saying “boo” back to your fear, which I talk about in Enough Is Enough (Chapter 5)!

Finally, remember to hang out in Classroom Earth, not Courtroom Earth (Chapter 2), which means that you no longer act as the judge, jury, and executioner of yourself. Classroom Earth is where you get to learn, practice, and make mistakes in a supportive environment.

Now speak up!

About Jane
Jane Straus is a trusted life coach, dynamic keynote speaker, and the author of Enough Is Enough! Stop Enduring and Start Living Your Extraordinary Life. With humor and grace, Jane offers her clients and seminar participants insights and exercises to ensure that the next chapter of their lives is about thriving as the unique individuals they have always been and the extraordinary ones they are still becoming. She serves clients worldwide and invites you to visit her site, StopEnduring.com. Here you will find excerpts from her book, more articles, TV and radio interviews, and clips from her presentations.
She is also the author of The Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation, Grammarbook.com, an award-winning online resource and workbook with easy-to-understand rules, real-world examples, and fun quizzes.
Contact Jane at Jane@JaneStraus.com.