A professional challenge inspired by Frozen
Are you an ice queen? No, I don’t mean behaving like a royal ****. I’m talking about fear.
As I was watching Frozen with my daughter, it struck me that we could all learn a thing or two from Elsa. What could you accomplish this year if you weren’t afraid? How would you push your own comfort zone?
This year, I challenge you to own your fear and pursue a goal with reckless abandon.
Not convinced? Neither was Elsa… at first. Let me break it down for you, and, to quote Karen Thompson Walker, help you "translate your fears into preparation and action."
Let it Go - aka Dream Big
Sounds cheesy, I know, but it’s hard to conquer fear if your heart isn’t in it. Imagine the best, most self-confident version of yourself. What would that inner warrior do? Is there something you’ve admired in others around you, that you just wish you had the guts and skill to do?
I’m guessing the thought of putting yourself out there makes you queasy. Get over it! Visualize yourself achieving that goal after months of effort and pushing your comfort zone. Silence your inner critic and forget the fear for a moment. How do you feel reaching this goal? What does this dream really mean to you? I’d wager this goal gives you more confidence, pride and feeling of accomplishment than anything your boss handed down. It’s okay to believe in yourself. Own it - it’s your dream!
Make a Plan
"I have learned over the years that when one’s mind is made up, this diminishes fear; knowing what must be done does away with fear." -- Rosa Parks
Now that was a smart lady. She knew how to dream big and go for it. If the end goal seems like too big of a stretch, break it down into milestones that incrementally move you outside of your comfort zone over time. If you don’t make a plan, as Isaac Lidsky puts it, fear will lull you into inactivity. So have a little faith that you’ll gain confidence and momentum as you achieve each milestone.
Assemble your Dream Team
Cheerleaders who can be a sounding board and keep you accountable? Heck, yes. These are the folks that will help you with specific aspects you’re struggling with, and make sure you don’t chicken out. Define how you’ll work with them as you put your plan into action, so they know to follow up with you if you miss a check-in. Where would Elsa be without Anna? Alone in an ice castle.
Give yourself Permission to Make Mistakes
If you’re really pushing yourself, chances are it won’t be easy, and you’re bound to make mistakes. That’s OK - you can’t grow without it. A mistake is nothing compared with achieving your goal. In the words of Sheryl Sandberg, "Trying to do it all and expecting that it all can be done exactly right is a recipe for disappointment. Perfection is the enemy."
Instead, face the worst-case scenario upfront, mitigate it with your plan, then go for it! Just as Elsa learned to control her magic and love herself, you’ll recover from your mistakes, too. They’ll enable you to grow into the person you imagined.
It may sound silly, but pushing your comfort zone means faking confidence until you don’t have to fake it anymore. Like any new skill, it takes practice. I’ll let you in on a little secret… I do this all the time. Most people won’t realize it’s an act, and before you know it, it won’t be an act anymore. Not only is this okay, it is necessary. If you’re unconvinced, consider this quote from Sandberg, "Feeling confident, or pretending that you feel confident - is necessary to reach for opportunities. Opportunities are rarely offered, they’re seized."
Seize the opportunity. Go be that inner warrior, and see what you can achieve this year!
I invite you to share your dreams and goals in the comments below.