Well, this is the big week.  Both the kiddos are going back to school, one in second grade and the other in third.  One is incredibly excited, the other terrified.  I went through my own flashback while buying an insane amount of school supplies (what happened to needing one folder and a pencil?).  I remember getting anxious and nervous before school started.  But what was I afraid of?  The same thing that scares us all:   False  Evidence  Appearing  Real  (F.E.A.R.)

How much time do you spend being fearful? I’m not talking about monsters in your closet scary, but how much time do you spend being scared of the unknown?  I know lots of people that are much more comfortable with old problems than new solutions.  It’s a question of discomfort.  Most people don’t like being uncomfortable and change makes us uncomfortable.  While some people embrace change and say, “If it’s not broken, break it!  We can make it work quicker and better!” others dread the idea of having to do things differently than they have done them before.

Whether it is organizational or personal change, it is still scary.  Here are 5 tips that work for kids or grown-ups!

1. Everyone is feeling the same way. It’s one thing to be nervous.  It’s another to look around and see everyone else seemingly having a great time.  (The same can be said for networking events.)  Here’s the kicker, everyone feels the same way!

2. A little fear is a good thing. I often get asked how I can get up in front of hundreds of people and speak without being nervous.  My comment is always, “What makes you think I’m not nervous?”  I’m speaking for 750 people tomorrow, and believe me, I’m nervous!  The trick isn’t to get rid of the nerves; it’s to channel the energy in the right direction.  We all need a little adrenaline boost every now and then.

3. It’s said that 95% of what we’re afraid of never even happens, and the other 5% are things we can’t control!  We spend an inordinate amount of energy focusing on the “what ifs”.  My husband will play the “what’s the worst that could happen” game with me.  Here’s an example of the way the conversation usually goes:

Me: I’m nervous I’ll mess up!
Hubby: So what if you do?
Me: I’ll look like a moron.
Hubby: So what if you do?
Me: I won’t get as much business as I’d like.
Hubby: So what if you don’t?

The conversation usually continues until I say something like, “We’ll be homeless, will have no food to eat, and our children will starve”.  It’s at this point he reminds me that I’m afraid of messing up while giving a presentation and that I’ve turned that into the end of the world.  While I might be catastrophizing, we all have a tendency to spend too much time focusing on the “what ifs”.

4. Look for the right things. Remember, we usually find what we’re looking for.  If you’re looking for all the reasons things will be awful, you are going to find them.  Instead, look for the POSITIVE! I cracked up a few weeks ago at a conference I was speaking at.  I had been talking about the power of attitude, and a woman came up to me afterwards and said, “I’m an eternal optimist, but nothing good ever comes of it!”

5. If you’re not uncomfortable, you’re not getting better.  I believe we are all here to grow, learn and be better.  If you’re always in your comfort zone, you never push yourself to get better (believe me, I struggle with this too).  If you always know all the answers and always feel comfortable, chances are, you are missing chances to take yourself to the next level.

As I was having this conversation with my children, and laying down beautiful words of wisdom, they looked at me and shared their brilliance.  With all the seriousness in the world, they looked at me and said, “So do we get candy or what?”

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