I’ve always found it difficult to get clear in my mind what I wanted in life. I kinda sorta knew. I could write an essay about it, I could talk about it at length, but I always end up drifting away from the point and could never seem to distil it down to a clear and elegant statement. It always seemed to be…well…all over the place, in my mind!
Since I am basically an optimist, I always turned away from the idea of dwelling on my fears and on the stuff that I didn’t want to happen – I guess due to a subconscious fear that I might inadvertently manifest them.
But when I came across Tim Ferris talking about Fear-Setting in a podcast one day it just clicked with me. He went on to do a Ted Talk about it later.
I’ve since come to understand that acknowledging our inner fears is a very practical and successful way to integrate them properly into our psyche. It’s not the same thing as facing our fears, it’s different. It’s a process of defining what it is that we don’t want in life, or how we don’t want our life to turn out – you could say – what we don’t want to be remembered for after we die.
This helps to focus the mind on what we do want, it helps us clarify our vision and once we do this the chase begins in earnest as we set about building the life we really want.
It’s a powerful idea.
I’ve come to recognise that many of the people who become my clients – ie people who are working hard to restore their fertility so they can have a baby – do not in fact have a clear vision of what they really want, and I now believe this is often a significant part of their fertility problem.
It can be a mix of not being clear about their future in general or it might be about the idea of having a baby specifically. To help with this I take them through a process designed to empower them with a compelling vision of their future selves.
Sometimes the best way to accomplish this is to help them face the darkness, which is inside us all, but which for them is most often related to a future without kids. Fear setting helps people name what they don’t want, which in turn helps to clarify what they really do want and once they get clarity, they have a much easier time of it on the program. They have their Why, you could say, and once you have your Why you can bear any How!
I’ve had some very moving moments with clients who go through this process.
Two that stick out in memory are:
A guy who used fear setting to see himself in the future as a person just working in an office and coming home to an empty and tidy house, then his wife would come home, they would eat dinner, go for a walk and then watch tv.
To one person this sounds like an idyllic life, but to him it felt empty and it scared him.
He used this random image to help him see what he didn’t want. From there he created an idea of what he did want – which was a beautiful image of him, his wife their son and daughter out camping in the Grand Canyon, watching wildlife with binoculars and roasting marshmallows on an open fire having a laugh in a most relaxed and connected way.
The other moment was a woman who imagined herself going to her sisters houses and bringing birthday presents to their kids, but never having kids of her own to get presents for. Again, not a bad image, even a very desirable image for a lot of people, but not for her. To her it was frightening, and doing the exercise helped her acknowledge this with honesty.
What was her preferred image?? I loved this one…It was holding her new born baby up above her head playing with her, when all of a sudden baby pukes milk straight into moms’ mouth!!
Whatever does it for you!