There are two types of fear – life-threatening and life-changing. In both situations, it is the amygdala ( in our brain) that triggers the protection response to keep the body safe by releasing cortisol – fight, flight or freeze. Cortisol heightens our awareness of impending danger aka stress.
Life-threatening was useful during our caveman days living in the wild, as every day was a gamble with nature.
But is the amount of stress endured when a life-changing situation is occurring really helping us survive?
This week, I should have listened to my own advice, but neglected to do so and missed an opportunity.
Online meetings and virtual parties are becoming the new norm. This means change.
I received my first virtual party invitation.
What was my reaction to this new medium of interaction? My amygdala kicked in and protected me from this change – freeze. Do nothing. Don’t respond. It will pass. Enter small doses of cortisol aka stress.
The Whats App commentary was rampant prior to the event outlining the exciting times ahead. I read the comments and remained silent. I was reluctant to respond. Was it fear of the unknown?
“The girls are just being polite to invite me but it’ll be more fun for them without me as the sole “bloke”, and “I am not sure how this ‘virtual party’ will work” were the comments running through my head
I couldn’t help but look at the live commentary via Whats App. Interspersed between the various smiling girls and screen shoots of polls was, “Hey Luke, where are you? Send through your email so you can be part of the fun.” I was still frozen.
I was relieved the “party was over.
But the stress continued as now I regretted missing out. I realised I let the girls down!
Why? Why did I not attend? What was the problem? What did I miss out on? What really stopped me? What was the fear?
F.E.A.R of change really stands for False Evidence Appearing Real.
This is exactly what I did. At the initial invitation, I told myself a false story. I used false evidence to justify the change. To protect me from a potentially uncomfortable situation. I am fine at the face to face windup. Been there for 25 years. No problem. Bell of the ball. But not this new technology.
Victor Frankl author of “Mans Search for Meaning” said “Between stimulus and response is space”
I say “In that space, you insert – Think, Know, Act.”
On reflection the following morning this is what I came up with.
Think 1 – I haven’t participated in a Zoom party.
I have participated in three Zoom meetings during the week.
I have researched how to use Zoom.
It is no different than face to face.
Think 2 – I didn’t have time.
We were in lock down.
Think 3 – I wouldn’t know what to say.
Since when have I never had anything to say. I am a professional speaker.
I spent a season with them to understand their nuances to benefit the team through conversation.
Think 4 – I wouldn’t fit in.
The girls had said often how they appreciated my coaching – after every game and training session.
The girls appreciated my GAME DAY motivational texts.
The girls presented me with a framed photo of my favourite piece of nature (above) as an appreciation of my efforts.
Think 5 – I won’t enjoy it
Since when have I not enjoyed being with people.
Other people do it.
Relax, participate and don’t lead.
Just go with the flow.
Act – Respond to the invitation in the positive.
This is in the past now and I missed the opportunity.
This is what FEAR does if it goes unchecked. Missed opportunity to learn and grow.
How many opportunities have you lost to False Evidence Appearing Real?
FEAR of change can be all-consuming. However, it does not have to be.
By following Victor Frankl’s observation and inserting the THINK to KNOW and then ACT you will be surprised how you can manipulate the amygdala from protection to opportunity.
Think – Articulate the issue.
Know – Validate the evidence.
Act – Opportunity or stability.
But why bother with this self-indulgence you ask?
Basically, I want to turn this negative into a positive and help others in these times of massive change to face their FEAR and really analyse what it is that is increasing their stress and stopping their growth before the event and not after the event like me.