fears

Do You Spend Too Much Time Worrying?

Perhaps it is where I am in life. It’s possible that because I am presently trying to have less drama and less stress around me, I am REALLY noticing these signs in others.

So many people I know are stressing over the unknown and getting worked up over what hasn’t happened and actually may never happen.

I was the type of parent who worried about everything from miscarriage, crib death, child molestation, kidnapping, car accidents and anything else in the news. Maybe it was because I had only one child. Perhaps it was because I was a single parent. Or more likely, my personality and personal fears were the reasons.

stressed-out

It is no surprise that headaches, anxiety and sleepless nights were a large part of my lifestyle. There was one particularly horrible night when my 17-year-old son was out with friends. It was pouring rain and he was a relatively new driver. From the moment he left my home, I pictured every horrific scenario imaginable.

About a half-hour before he returned home that night I made a pact with myself. I started by acknowledging that I had, up until this point, spent his entire life over worrying about him. I now reasoned that the chances were pretty good that he would grow up and live a very long life. I was also pretty sure that if I didn’t change my thinking and emotions, I was going to die of a stress-related illness. Or at best, I would spend decades concerned about things that would probably never happen and therefore age early.

Seriously, African Bees, Lyme disease, mosquito-related illness… there are so many things that could get us.

I also realized I wouldn’t have the necessary strength or the ability to handle a crisis if I wore myself down agonizing for decades about things that may never materialize.

Back to my pact. I made the decision that I would wait until I was actually faced with a situation that needed my all. I would reserve my energy and therefore be in a better position to handle a crisis.

It amazed me that as soon as I articulated the above, I felt a calm come over me and on that very stormy night I fell asleep a full half-hour before my son arrived home. A first!

sleep-baby

It is very hard not to worry about our loved ones. It takes much awareness to not over-think life.

So to those of you who work yourself up and create tension by thinking of all the things that may happen, I advise you to try to neutralize it. Begin by waiting until you are faced with a situation that requires an action. I am pretty sure that if you can accomplish this, many of the crises that you had anticipated will never actually happen.

strength

A close friend of mine has said on more than one occasion, “If I knew how well my son was going to turn out I would have slept better.” Like my son, these boys are 43-year-old fathers with children of their own.

I hope they do a better job of enjoying the journey while their kids are young.

For more inspirational thoughts and videos, please sign up at my website www.ronikugler.com. If you find value in my articles, please share them with your friends and family. I welcome all comments.

Look for my book 12 Ways To Discover What Makes You Tick, available through Amazon.com on E-book April 8th.

Do Your Friends Support You? Are You a Supportive Friend?

We all have an inner voice that is similar to a running dialog. I want to address the dialogs regarding positive and negatives messages. And more importantly, where do these messages originate from?

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When you think about your circle of friends, list out the ones that encourage and support your decisions and efforts. Then make a list of those friends who give you messages that are subtle or not so subtle filled with negativity that may cause you to doubt yourself. After you do this exercise, think about how much weight the positive people have on you and then the negative people. In other words, do you give up on a dream because of naysayers? Or do you forge ahead, putting their opinions on the back burner?

Many successful people have been recipients of attitudes similar to “You are not good enough” or “The odds are so overwhelming that you will succeed”. And on the list goes. A compelling reason for the success of these people is that they simply don’t buy into it.

skydive-ohio

I’m not saying that good friends shouldn’t be the voice of reason. I am saying that it is not their job to rain on your parade. If there is someone in your life who is pursuing a passion or is trying something new, why would you want to be the person to bring him or her down? Why would you want to be the friend who causes them to question themselves?

Not everyone will be successful in his or her endeavors. Not everyone will get the results they desire. Take a hard look at yourself. What kind of message do you give the people in your life? Are you always pointing out the pitfalls? Do you tend play the “Devil’s Advocate” thinking that you are doing them a service? If you identify with this look in the mirror and ask yourself why.

My advice: try to be supportive and encouraging even if you disagree with what him or her. This doesn’t mean that you put aside good judgment. It just means you simply aren’t judgmental. After all, who is to say that success is measured by only one standard? Perhaps for some accomplishing an overwhelming task is the real reward.

turtle at finish line

The takeaway…the next time you plan to spew negativity, weigh whether it is your job to point out all the reasons why your friend should give up. If you honestly feel that your friend is making a terrible mistake be compassionate while offering encouragement and support. Choose your words wisely, and wish them good luck.

Dog comforting cat

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Why Is It So Important To Face Our Fears?

While I was in my 40s, I found myself in Mammoth, CA on a slope that I had no business skiing down. To say I was in way over my head is an understatement. Unfortunately for me there was no backing up. My only options were to ride the chair lift or to go down on my own two feet. I never considered the chair lift option because at that time in my life I would have felt like a failure.

chair lift

It seemed like I stood still forever studying the hill. I observed all the ice, I saw all the moguls (packed mounds of snow), and I was aware how steep the slope was. I wondered, “How the hell did I get here?” All of these obstacles terrified me but they didn’t stop me. “Why”, you ask? From previous experiences I had learned that although I might be scared, if I took things slowly and believed in myself, I would be all right. I thought, “Ok Roni, if you fall it will be hard getting back up, but you will get back up”. And if I didn’t, I could always wait for the ski patrol to take me to a hot tottie and a roaring fire in the lodge below.

Fireplace

I am big on back-up plans. But most importantly, I was a firm believer that a positive attitude, good planning, and preparation would give me the confidence to see me through just about anything.

After realizing just how challenging this was going to be, I planned my attack. I decided to take a small section at a time. I would traverse (small turns) and slide my way down. So with a quick prayer of, “Please don’t let me die”, I faced my skis downward and off I went. At each turn I made, at each section I passed, I felt a sense of relief and accomplishment. After about 10 minutes I decided to stop to look at how much more of the mountain was left. I could NOT believe there was so much more to go. It was at this point that I decided to look behind me. “Wow, did I do all that? How did I manage to get this far?” It became my routine to ski a bit, then stop and look behind me so I could appreciate just how far I had come.

mountian of snow

After what seemed like the longest 45 minutes of my life I found myself at the bottom of the hill. I had not fallen! I was impressed with myself and full of confidence. It felt so good. Then while I stood there taking it all in, I lost my balance and fell on the powdered snow below me. I just started to laugh. I remembered reading a quote from Woody Allen, “If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plan”. It was at that point I looked up at the sky (which wasn’t hard to do as I was flat on my back), and made a pact with myself. I decided that when life became too difficult for me I would think of this day and remind myself that when things seem the bleakest there are always options.

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I often recall that day on the mountain where I learned a valuable lesson: self-confidence comes from facing your fears head on!

In my upcoming book, 12 Ways To Discover What Makes You Tick, I devote a whole chapter to facing your fears. This is one of the most empowering things we can do for ourselves. Don’t you agree?

For more inspirational thoughts and videos, please sign up at my website, www.ronikugler.com. If you find value in my articles, please share them with your friends and family. I welcome all comments.