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Is Fear Ruling Your Life?

Joanne was laid off from a good job in the recession, through no fault of her own. The company had to downsize, and she was one of the unlucky employees that were let go. After several years at a dead end job, she found another good one and enjoyed her work. But she stayed awake at night, afraid she'd get fired again.

All her reviews were excellent, the economy was decent, and the company's profits were up, so there was no reason to be concerned. But she couldn't shake the fear. Her lack of sleep undermined her productivity, efficiency and affected her demeanor. The worry was also with her during the day and eroded her ability to enjoy her work. Her depressed attitude soured her relationship with her coworkers.

Even though she had no reason to be concerned, Joanne's mind acted as if her past experience was going to reoccur. It didn't matter that the truth was. The mind can't tell the difference between the imagination and reality. Your subconscious responds to both equally. People tend to mistake the shadow for substance. "Your perception is your reality," as the saying goes.

As long as you keep focusing on what you fear will happen, your mind will behave as if it's actually taking place. That causes you to make different decisions than you'd make if you were focused on a different possibility. Those choices incite different behaviors. Because of that, you have a greater likelihood of your fear becoming true. When it does, you've simply fulfilled your own prophecy by providing the elements for it to unfold.

When you're in a state of fear, you're hypervigilant. You overreact to the smallest event, looking for evidence that will confirm your belief. This wastes your time and energy. Winston Churchill said, "You will never reach your destination if you stop and throw stones at every dog that barks." Unless the dog is an immediate danger to you, just keep on going.

Joanne overheard a coworker say that the company was moving people around, and assumed it meant her division. She got upset and even more morose. Because she figured "What's the use," she was late handing in a report, which didn't please her supervisor. A couple of days later, she realized she'd misunderstood her coworkers. They'd been talking about another department, and the transfers were promotions because the company was hiring a couple more people.

Instead of borrowing trouble, take a step back and look at things more objectively. Don't let the situation spiral out of control. Ask yourself, "Is there any tangible evidence that what I fear is about to happen?" If not, then believe that all is well and go on about your business.

Everything in life is a choice. You can choose to stop worrying, and use that energy to do something productive. It's not easy, but it can be done. Think the situation through and imagine what the best result could be. Whenever the concern surfaces, substitute the new idea of how it could turn out for your benefit.

After a couple of years, Joanne finally got comfortable with the idea that she wasn't going to be laid off. She perked up and her work improved. Unfortunately, all that time of borrowing trouble cost her sleep, advancement in her career, and her coworkers' trust. Eventually, she mended her relationships with her coworkers, showed her unrestrained abilities to her supervisor and got a raise.

You can choose to let worry rule you, control your life and destroy your future. Or you can take back your power and make different decisions, ones that could ensure that you receive what you want, not what you donít want. Itís your choice and under your control.

Copyright © 2009-2023 Linda Ann Stewart
All Rights Reserved

As a focus coach, hypnotherapist, and speaker, Linda-Ann Stewart motivates women to focus and transform their business through deliberate actions that break through distraction and overwhelm to greater success, freedom, wellbeing and prosperity. Watch her FREE training video on Set Your Course to Success: 4 steps to strategically achieve your goals with confidence and ease. Register for the video and accompanying action planning guide at You can contact her at or 928-600-0452.


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