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Wobbly Ladders and Flipping Fears!

Updated: Dec 22, 2020

Those of you who are subscribed my weekly Mindset Made Simple Tip normally sent on Mondays may notice that this week's tip has temporarily become a Tuesday Tip!

Why you ask? Well…the threat of COVID has finally hit the Jones household. As we await the results of my son’s test, we are back to virtual learning…Mommy’s favorite 😊!

It could be worse! All of the things that have flooded my head in the past 72 hours could actually come true. But the truth is, they probably won’t! However, telling my 79-year-old dad that the boy that spent the night with him the night before may have COVID made my heart flutter with FEAR!

Yep…back to FEAR! We are being pushed and pulled by it all around us right now. Not just by the thoughts of our at-risk parents becoming a number in a pandemic, but by the chance that we spread it to those we love, and they spread it to those they love.

Then you have the political ads that try to scare us into a world of socialism or nationalism…both sides use fear, regardless of what side you fall on!

EVEN SO, in the midst of all of this, we do have some control on how our fears affect our actions, reactions and results!

These tools may not change our trepidation leading to an election, but they can help us move past things that hold us back from reaching our potential…or in my case, helping those we love.

As if we could not have hired someone to do this, I offered to paint the windows in my dad’s house. Fortunately, the house is brick, so there really isn’t much to pain. Unfortunately (for me, at least), it does have two stories and a walk-out basement, so that means and extension ladder is needed in the process.

For most humans, this is no big deal. But for those humans who are have a dislike for heights, this is uncomfortable to say the least.

BUT…I volunteered. I love to help my dad. He can’t do it anymore and my sister and brother-in-law live in Florida (and I am not sure they would be any help anyway), so it’s all me!

Now what?

Yep…I have a bit of FEAR. In fact, my legs are wobbly and all I can think is, I wish I had a brother!

So…I connect the extension ladder. I hoist it up to upper window #1. I climb up the “very wobbly ladder” (my son’s words). And I find hornets and bees to meet me. EVEN BETTER!

Then I think, I teach this stuff. I know the research. I know how to manage fear. Let’s go, Jones! Get it together!

I walk down the ladder and here is what comes next….

I reflect on what I tell athletes about FEAR. It is False Evidence Appearing Real. Great…big help!

I NEXT THINK about how I can use the tools I know so well to picture WHAT I WANT TO HAPPEN instead of WHAT I FEAR WILL HAPPEN!

How many people really fall off of a ladder? Sure, it happens, but how often? There is the DISPUTATION we talked about last week.

So I tried that on for size! Ok…now I am thinking in facts instead of emotion.

NEXT, I started thinking about how I wanted to look on the ladder.

I want to be relaxed and nimble. I want to be loose so I can reach the top of the window frame. I want to have my legs avoid rigor mortis, so I can move freely while painting. Relaxed muscles are quick muscles and I want to work fast!

Ok…relax. I pictured myself being a fluid ladder climber and painter.

I was in control! That was my step #2.

Most importantly, I thought about how I would feel when the job was done.

Here is what really made the difference!!!!!

I pictured myself walking down off of the ladder and my dad looking up at the windows with a smile. He would tell me, that should do it for another 10 yea

rs, and in my fake conversation with myself, I was thinking…no way will I be doing this in 10 years 😊.

I thought about how much my mom appreciated anytime I did the slightest thing for them. I was thinking about how proud she would be that we are taking care of my dad for her.

All of the sudden, this became something I had to do, not something I FEARED.

It worked!

I did it!

The windows look good…from a distance, at least. My dad was happy. I felt accomplished and good. And the job is done for another decade!

So, I use my FEAR of heights and my sappy emotions to demonstrate a simple way your athletes can flip their fears.

Think ahead about the good that can come from moving through the FEAR and completing the task that scares us. When we plan for good, we usually find good.

Clearly, it isn’t this simple for some things, but for most things that hinder, paralyze or throw us off or our game, planning ahead for a great outcome, thinking about what we WANT TO FEEL instead of HOW WE FEEL or WHAT WE FEAR can move us to the next right move!

So, encourage your athletes…and yourself…to PLAN AHEAD FOR GOOD!

We will never obliterate FEAR from our lives. In fact, we shouldn’t. But we can control it if we so choose.

Remember, in FEAR and so many other things…PLAN AHEAD FOR GOOD!

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I’d love your comments or ideas for other threads!

Until then…PLAN AHEAD FOR GOOD! I bet you’ll find it!


Man on ladder


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