As a business mentor and speaker I get to meet the most amazing people. Entrepreneurs who are creating their dream lifestyles, creative people who have taken their gifts to the world in passionate ways and people who are changing the world (whether its on a global scale or in their own neighborhoods).
But I also meet people who are so full of fear that they are afraid of making mistakes, afraid to make decisions and afraid to ask questions.
This fear paralyzes them.
They stay stuck.
They wonder why people around them are successful and they aren’t.
They feel frustrated.
They think they need more training or skills so they sign up for course after course to learn more and more – but then they never implement what they learn because they are afraid of doing something wrong or making a mistake.
They are afraid of what others will think or say about them.
After observing this for the 30 years I’ve been in business, I have realized that for most people this fear all began when they were children. Now, I don’t wish to bash parents – hey I’m a mom to three grown kids and trust me – I have made some MASSIVE parenting blunders too. But, as parents our job is to raise confident and inquisitive children.
I encourage those of you raising children now to listen to your own language. When your child brings home a good grade and says, “aren’t you proud of me?” what is your response? Instead of just saying “yes”, how about saying, “I am, but more importantly aren’t YOU proud of yourself?” This simple change encourages your child to be their own cheerleader. They learn that THEIR opinion matters. They develop confidence in themselves.
Do you allow your child to make choices on small things when they are young, so when they grow up they can make choices on the big things? Why not lay out two outfits for your child to wear and let them choose one to wear to school or to play with friends. Better yet, let them choose their own outfit completely. Yes, I know the pants may not match the shirt and they may want to wear only one outfit for a period of time. But, in the grand scheme of life why is this a problem?
Are YOU worried about what other parents will think?
How about what YOU think?
Think about the lesson you are teaching your child. You are giving them confidence in their own decision making abilities. The sooner they learn this, the better. As they gain confidence in making small decisions they will be able to make the big decisions in life much more easily.
When your child comes to you with a problem like, “I got a D in English and I’m going to fail.” Instead of getting angry with them, why not sit down and say, “I think there are a couple of solutions you can come up with to avoid failing. Let’s figure them out.” Then you create a plan that might include hiring a tutor, speaking with the teacher, arranging extra work, seeing if your child can take a make up exam.
By teaching your child that there are always solutions you teach them to be curious and thoughtful about finding them. We need more problem solvers in this world and fewer people who give up at the first sign of a problem.
So, what do you do if you are a grown up who was raised on, “you’ll never amount to anything”, “you’re stupid”, “no – you do it my way and that’s it” or worse?
First, you MUST change your way of thinking – that is the ONLY thing that will change the direction of your life. Make a list of affirmations and post them where you’ll see them.
- I can make good decisions.
- I am a problem solver.
- I know how to find the answers I need.
- I am brave enough to overcome my obstacles.
You are the ONLY person who can change how you view the world and how you respond to the situations life throws at you. But if you keep dealing with things the same way you always have, nothing will change.
Be bold – find role models – use positive self talk – make a plan for how you want your life to be – dream big and be passionate about your future. Kick your fears to the curb! It will take time, but it is doable.
You CAN do this!