Do you have something you want to do, but just can’t seem to take any steps because you’re terrified? It could be a book you want to write or a business you want to start or anything that you want to do, but aren’t doing out of fear.
If you answered yes, you’re likely in the midst of the freeze response. The freeze response, where you stay really still until the danger passes so you won’t get hurt, is one of the methods that we use to protect ourselves from real or perceived danger.
Now this might work if you’re hiding from an animal in the woods, but it doesn’t really help you turn that business idea you’ve been throwing around into reality.
Freezing is a lousy way to deal with your fears.
Waiting around until your fear disappears usually just makes it worse.
You have to move forward to get what you want, fear and all. I’ve found 7 ways that help me stop freezing and get moving. Maybe they’ll help you too!
1. Coach yourself out loud
It may sound or feel silly in the moment, but talking aloud to yourself as though you were a team of one can be really effective. Just imagine that you were coaching a sports team and trying to motivate them before they went onto the field. What kinds of things would you say? “You can do it!” “Get out there and show me what you’ve got!” Be gentle or be stern. Use whatever words and tone work and feel motivating.
2. Look closer at what you’re choosing by freezing
Often we freeze because it seems like the safer of options, but that is because we are not looking at the situation closely enough. Deciding not to decide is still making a decision. What are you choosing by giving into the freeze? How would your life be a year from now if you keep freezing? Write it out and ask yourself “Is this what I want to choose?” You might find that the action that you considered so scary has more upsides than the downsides of staying frozen that you identified.
3. Call a friend to help
We can’t do it alone. Call a friend who you know to be supportive and ask them to help you move forward. You could ask them to help you brainstorm your first steps. Or ask them to check in with you the next day to hold you accountable for taking a step. You could even ask them to join you by moving forward with a dream of their own.
4. Do something completely unrelated to what you’re frozen about
Often when we freeze up, we expand our feelings about the freeze to other tasks. We use it as evidence that we can’t do anything worthwhile. Find something that you want to do, but don’t feel as much angst around, and do it. The only caveat is that the thing you choose to do should be active and creative, not passive (like television or web surfing). It should be something where you’d feel a sense of accomplishment afterwards. This will remind you that you are capable of accomplishing things even in times when you freeze up and it may give you some hints about what might work to get you going where you were once stuck.
5. Do something physical
Take a walk or jog. Put on some music and dance. Go swimming or bicycling. Do something to get out of your head and into your body. This works in part to distract you, but also to release endorphins in your body to help you feel better, more energized and less stressed which can help you approach your project from a more empowered place.
6. Reward yourself
Offer yourself an attractive reward for moving forward. Make it personal to you. If it helps, you can also include other people in your reward process. For example, buy yourself a treat and give it to a friend and tell them to give it away to someone else if you don’t complete a step by a certain time. You can also use the benefits of achieving your goal as a reward. Make a list of the good things you think might happen and read them each day to begin associating good feelings with your goal.
7. Build the belief that you can handle whatever happens
Often our fear is not about doing a thing, but rather that we won’t be able to handle what might happen during or after we do it. Look to your past for examples of how you were able to handle doing something you once feared. You are more capable than you think of handling whatever might happen down the line. If you can’t find an example in your own life, tap a friend to share theirs or do a search online for people who have dealt with the fear you have to get some inspiration. It they can do it, you can too.
I hope these 7 tips get you moving forward and out of the stuck zone. Share in the comments where you’re freezing up in your life or share what you’ve done to move forward during a time when you’ve been stuck.