I remember that feeling so vividly.
Cruising on the bike… If I could just maintain my position, I’d gain all the distance on the run…
I was on fire.
And just like that I was flat out on the ground.
And the pain in my hip was unbelievable.
What had just happened?
Was my race over? After all those months of training? All those sessions? All that commitment?
Yes. It was.
Someone had tacked the course and my tire popped. Unbelievable
And on top of it I knew I was completely out of commission for a while.
My knee was tweaked too.
My GAWD. I had poured so much into this season. These races. This National Championship.
And just like that it was over. And not on my timeline.
Did you know that about me? What a huge failure that was for me?
And how afraid I was afterwards to get back on the bike (No pun intended) and put that kind of commitment into my training again for fear of it being taken away just like that again?
Fear twists your mind, doesn’t it? It simultaneously gets your body pumping while mentally bringing on wild thoughts you can’t control.
What if you could change your natural response to fear, though?
I mean, you’ll still experience being afraid… but what if you knew what to do in that moment other than cry, or sweat like crazy, or flip out?
Here’s why you need to learn how to manage it - when you're afraid of something, you don’t want to run because it most likely means you’re on the edge of a breakthrough.
If you push through.
Someone’s testing me, you're asking? YES. They are. And if you're strong enough to push through the door to the other side, you’ve passed the test.
Fear is usually this gatekeeper to greatness (you can put that on a mug if you want).
Which means being able to hack your way through a fear response is a killer tactic to have in your toolbox.
How we instinctively deal with fear is a subconscious reaction… being aware of it is a conscious choice. You get that, right?
You can clue into what’s happening, then choose to react differently in the moment if you train your brain on it.
I’m gonna let my nerd flag fly here for a sec and tell you that neurohacks are kinda my jam. I love researching them and learning about how to improve myself at this level. That’s what inspired this entire post, TBH.
I’m gonna share my top three ways to reprogram your brain when dealing with fear. Ready?
No. I am not talking about getting a car with a super awesome sunroof.
When we get afraid, or we’re stressed, multiple things happen physically and psychologically to our bodies. Our pupils get large. Our heart rate gets rapid. Breath gets short. Thoughts get jumbled.
And when we are in a state like that, our vision - figuratively and literally - narrows.
Think about the last time you were incredibly stressed out and how you could really only focus on one thing (the thing driving you crazy). And maybe at the same time you focused on physically doing one thing (obsessively cleaning a countertop for example, lol……).
This is tunnel vision. And tunnel vision prevents you from shifting your focus to the bigger picture.
That’s where “panoramic vision” comes into play. When you dial out your focus, it makes you have a faster, better and more precise reaction.
A great example of this is the end of the month in my biz. Every month as it winds down, I have to figure out where my biz is and whether I’ll be hitting my goals or not.
There are definitely some months where it cuts close… or looks like it won’t hit at all.
When that happens, I could choose to narrow my focus and flip out. Because of being afraid of not making enough money, or not hittinig my rank.
But, because I know how to manage my response, instead of take in the larger picture and am aware of specific steps I can take to keep moving toward my goals.
When you don’t intensely focus on one small thing, you actually open yourself up to bigger things.
And you literally rob fear of its power which is pretty great.
Get Your Breath On
Okay, if you really want to take panoramic vision to the next level, layer some breathing exercises on top of it.
Yeah yeah yeah we have all heard that - “take deep breaths when you’re stressed out!” but that’s not really what I’m talking about here.
I’m talking about focused, purposeful breathing that you do while visually taking in your surroundings. The breath part helps your blood oxygenate more, which will begin to calm your heart rate (and get rid of your sweaty pits, too. #bonus).
So while doing a big picture, visual sweep become mindful of your breathing. Do a few breaths in and out, then one big breath in that you hold for a few seconds and release. Repeat.
Then bask in your state of calm that’s enabling you to tackle the thing in front of you as you suddenly are able to come up with a plan in-the-moment to deal with it.
Hypnosis. If all else fails, you can try something like this. Hypnosis has a lot of benefits, so don’t laugh this one off because you think it’s woo.
Sometimes the unconventional thing is the thing that ends up working best.
When you allow yourself to be hypnotized by a hypnotherapist, they’ll help you root out subconsciously what’s been causing you so much fear.
Maybe something from childhood? Maybe something more recent that was traumatic for you? Whatever it is, the story will come to the surface.
And when it comes up, your hypnotherapist will help you rewrite it in your subconscious mind during the session. This is through the art of suggestion, and other spoken prompts.
Why this is so cool is that when you return to your mindful state, your subconscious brain will start doing the work of believing this new story about whatever it was that you had been afraid of.
Then the next time you might get triggered, you’ll know how to handle it. Pretty amazing, right?
You bet it is.
If you want to hear more about this, I interviewed a hypnotherapist for the Whole You podcast.
Say whah? Yeah, I did!
My friend, Elliot how he uses his method to coach super high performers (like professional athletes, high stakes poker players, for example) to overcome their fears through hypnotherapy.
Now, can you imagine what kind of superhuman you’d be if you did all three of these? Unstoppable.