Real Talk on Fear and Driver’s Seat Conversations

by Karen Kondor

“May your choices reflect your HOPES, not your FEARS.”
~ Nelson Mandela

With all due respect to Mr Mandela, I would change this to read, “May your choices reflect your GOALS, not your fears.”

HOPING means you feel a lack of control. Setting GOALS and choosing actions, habits, and behaviors that reflect those intentions puts you in the driver’s seat.

On a regular basis, I talk my clients away from throwing in the towel on their goals. A recent email check in reply went something like this:

When you get a flat tire on your bike, do you pull out a knife, slash the other tire, throw your bike to the road hoping some car will flatten it, and then never ride again? Nope. You go, “Dammit, a flat tire. OK, let’s walk it home, fix the tire, and live to ride another day.”

If you do that with your bike, why not do that in other areas of your life? It takes time to create new, sustainable habits, and deal with the negative committee in your head. That committee will tell you repeatedly that you’re doing things wrong, you’ll never make it, why do you care so much about your health, and WTF - everyone else is eating and drinking whatever whenever, so you might as well, too. It takes consistency and dedication to remind that committee to sit down and shut up, because YOU KNOW BETTER THAN THEY DO.

Clients often tell me that they don’t know why they don’t track their food for several days, or don’t stick to a drink limit they set for themselves. I argue that they DO know why; they just aren’t willing to admit the reason(s) to themselves. Admitting it involves having a hard (or more than one) conversation with oneself, with the end result being hard work, dedication, and changed habits and behaviors. OR, they are worried that people around them will question what they are doing, and think less of them for not participating in their lifestyle. All of that is bound up in one word: FEAR. Letting fear guide you also takes you out of the driver’s seat, allowing outside factors to control your life.

The thing is, if you want to see change, something’s gotta change. You know what you need to do for YOU (nobody else), and why. If the people around you question you or think less of you, then one if two things is happening (or a combination of both):

  1. The people around you are afraid that they are looking into a mirror on their own life. Instead of saying, “Yeah, I need to make some changes, too,” they project their fears onto you, and it looks like they don’t support you. Don’t worry about the haters; they are angry because the truth you speak contradicts the lie they live.
  2. The people around you are not your people, and the herd needs to be thinned. Unfortunately, when you go through a transformation, it looks selfish to outsiders, because they don’t see that you’re trying to save your own life. When you show signs of success, they retreat more, because they feel they can’t keep up with you (even though you didn’t ask them to keep up with you), and they are afraid you’re judging them (even though you’re not). Your why must be greater than their needs and wants. By having people in your life who don’t support you, you are allowing them to enable you into not living the life you want. AND, you aren’t making room for people who ARE your people, and who will support you and your efforts.

As difficult as working on your health and wellness is, often the bigger hurdle is the mindset piece around the process. Until you have the hard conversations with yourself about why you eat what you do, when you do, how you do, and with whom you do, focusing on your health and wellness will continue to be more challenging than it needs to be.

Stop letting fear run your life, and jump into the driver’s seat. You know what you want and need, and why. Get to it.


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