While taking an early evening walk at the bluffs recently, my husband and I walked up on four young deer snacking on a bush full of berries. They really didn’t appear to be in a hurry to move away from us as we approached, but all four eventually sauntered towards the woods.
As we stayed on the trail and watched them, they stopped and curiously looked at us. Clearly, they had not had enough experiences with humans to know to be afraid, but still they were cautious.
Then, one of the fawns who couldn’t resist the delicious berries he had been munching on, crept ever-so-slowly back to the bush that was only a few feet away from where we stood.
Eventually the other three ventured a little closer to the berries too, but they were much more guarded. We stood in wonderment as they continued to snack and just took in their cuteness.
However, when my husband moved his arm ever-so-slightly, the three cautious fawns jumped up and darted into the woods.
The other fawn, who was really enjoying his berries, startled when his friends took off, but stayed put.
He looked into the woods where his herd had fled, then at us, then at the berries, not sure what to do. Obviously, his heart was with those berries and he was sizing us up, trying to make a decision.
It was like he was thinking, “Awww, these folks don’t look that bad to me. C’mon back you guys! These berries are tasty!”
Of course, I really don’t know what he was thinking, so that’s my best guess. We stood very still hoping he would continue his snack.
However, after a few short seconds, he decided to heed the warnings of his pack and he fled.
It was interesting to see how the behavior of the three fawns affected the other more courageous (or should I say, hungry) one. Especially because he really didn’t appear to be afraid of us, until the rest of his clan decided that it was time to high tail it out of there. (Sorry, I couldn’t resist!)
I’ve been thinking about this experience and about how many times we humans are affected by the fears of others. I see this happen all of the time with my clients when they start to take bold steps towards their desires.
This can often spark fear in their well-meaning friends and family members, who then project their feelings all over them.
Their warnings can sound something like: “Do you know how many small businesses fail?” Or, “What if you lose the weight and then gain it all back again?” Or, “I’ve heard the crime rate there is very high. Are you sure you want to travel alone?”
It’s interesting to watch this play out. Typically, my clients who are super excited about their aspirations, suddenly become fearful and want to flee back to their comfort zone.
As a coach, I make sure we discuss the possibility of this scenario happening quite early on, so my clients are able to recognize what is going on and approach their fears from a place of inquisitiveness.
What is actually happening here?
What thoughts am I thinking and where did they originate?
Are these facts, my thoughts or someone else’s opinion?
I’m wondering, has this ever happened to you? Have you ever been pumped about a new goal, and then someone cautions you about all of the possible negative outcomes that could occur by moving forward?
If someone else’s story has paralyzed you with indecision, remember fear is just an emotion that was triggered by a thought.
Feeling afraid to move forward is NOT an indicator that something has gone wrong.
It just means that you need to adjust your story. Consider what thoughts about going for it inspire you, and what thoughts freak you out.
You have a choice about what you focus on, and what you believe.
Create a mantra that inspires you, and write it, post it everywhere and say it all day long.
You have this one and only precious life. The only thing to be afraid of is hunkering down in your comfort zone and wasting your gifts, talents and opportunities.
Go get those berries! They are delicious!