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Ruth Soukup – Do it Scared

What would you do if fear no longer stood in your way?

That’s the bold question that Ruth Sokup asks in her new book, Do It Scared: Finding the Courage to Face Your Fears, Overcome Adversity, and Create a Life You Love.  She starts with the 7 fear archetypes that you may fall into.  Procrastination is the one that more people have to overcome than any other, and maybe this describes you:

Also known as the Perfectionist, the Procrastinator looks for – and often finds – any number of perfectly legitimate reasons not to begin or not to try at all. (23)

So how do you overcome this fear?  It takes 3 steps:

Reframe

When you can start looking at life as a series of lessons rather than mistakes, it will give you more freedom to experiment rather than always striving to achieve perfection. (27)

Take Action

One simple but incredibly effective change you can make immediately is to start inserting more hard deadlines into your calendar–deadlines that have consequences if you don’t meet them.   It could be a self-inflicted penalty, or you could call in reinforcements from outside sources. (27)

Create Accountability

The key thing for a Procrastinator is to find an accountability partner who is not a fellow Procrastinator.  Only someone who has different strengths and a different fear archetype than you do can provide the alternative perspective you need.(28)

Ok, so we know we need to be less scared.  What’s the next step in finally achieving our goals?  Ruth says it’s time to make a Stretch Goal, a goal that seems ridiculous and unreachable:

We need goals that motivate us and make our chest tighten or get those butterflies going in our stomach.  Goals so big that they scare us a little but also invigorate us and get us more excited to jump out of bed in the morning. […] we need BIG goals to actually get BIG things done. (102)

I think something I really struggle with (back to procrastination) is always feeling like I need to wait for someone else to give me permission to take the next step in my life.  But, Ruth talks about what happens when we stop waiting for permission from others and start taking control:

while it may seem scary, this idea of taking complete and total responsibility over your life and your circumstances is incredibly freeing.  […] you are no longer a victim of your circumstances.  You are still in complete control of how you choose to respond. (125)

Making the decision to always own it, no matter what, and to take full responsibility for whatever life throws your way may just be the most courageous thing you do. (126)

I don’t know if you’ve ever looked at the parable of the talents in this context, but the servant who doesn’t try to invest his master’s money to make more gives this excuse in Matthew 25:25:

25 I was afraid I would lose your money, so I hid it in the earth. Look, here is your money back.’ 

26 “But the master replied, ‘You wicked and lazy servant! 

How does the master respond to this fear of failure?

26 “But the master replied, ‘You wicked and lazy servant!

Ruth talks about the idea in her book that there are no mistakes, only lessons:

We believe screwing up is the worst-case scenario.
But that’s not true.
There is a fate worse than failure-far worse. […]
It’s the pain of regret.(138-139)

Because while the fear of failure is very real, it’s clear that the temporary pain of making a mistake is nothing close to the lingering and haunting feeling that you could have been or done something more.
Mistakes only hurt for a little while, but regret can follow you for the rest of your life. (140)

Ok, so maybe you’re getting pumped up to finally get some things done! How do we find time in our life and still have the balance we need?

Well, Ruth bursts our bubble on that thought:

Because the truth is, if everything is important, nothing is important. If we are always trying to give equal weight to all the things, we will never give enough weight to the really important things. Not everything can and should be important all the time. […] Sometimes we should be failing in one area so we can succeed in another. Because the alternative is being perfectly balanced in our mediocrity. (147)

 

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