Trevor E. S. Smith | The Dogs Won’t Bite
The title aside, this article actually provides some useful insights into confronting challenges, mustering courage and attaining goals.
The title comes from the words that I repeated over and over as I marched with bare feet to walk on hot coals at the behest of Tony Robbins.
The 'dogs won't bite', was chosen as my courage booster because of an earlier incident. One morning I was blocked from returning home by the presence of my neighbour's dogs outside his gate.
Insights from those two incidents might help you deal more effectively with fears and doubts and be able to muster the courage to take on greater challenges or resolve persistent anxieties.
With turning back not an option, I finally decided to walk past the dogs, and risk being bitten because I had a bible studies class that I was determined to attend. My show of courage was driven by purpose.
Perhaps the most powerful catalyst for the display of courage is a worthy purpose. Mothers will overlook danger to protect their children.
Courage appears when you find a compelling reason to use it. When we shift our focus from the challenge to a compelling purpose, fear subsides, adrenaline flows, and courage emerges.
#2 Looking beyond
The beds of hot coals are metres long.
We were advised to keep our eyes focused beyond the fire to the welcoming faces of earlier warriors on the other side. I was in a line, and by keeping my head up, I was not consciously aware of stepping on the fire bed.
The reason why fear cripples us at times, is because we allow it to hold our attention - we can only see the challenges, and lose sight of what lies beyond the challenge.
Shifting focus from the problem to the solution, facilitates resolution.
The moment we raise our heads and keep our eyes glued to our compelling purpose or goal, fear loses its grip. We are no longer scared into inaction.
#3 Cloud of witnesses
When I signed up for the programme, I was clear that I would not participate in the fire walk. Some participants held a similar position to the very end, and opted out. Despite that, there was a throng that marched in tightly-packed lines from the auditorium as one testimony to having unleashed the power within us.
However, when I got outside and saw fire blazing in some beds and glowing embers in others, I thought back to my original 'sane' decision to opt out. However, despite those thoughts, pressure from behind kept me moving forward.
We had made a commitment inside that we were going to do this, and we had rallied each other to get to this point. Would I let the side down?
The lesson here is that there is value in getting support from like-minded and committed individuals when taking on challenging situations.
You can draw on the collective courage and energy of the group to mask individual concerns and fears.
# 4 Beware last-minute challenges
Both incidents provide a critical lesson about the risk of being distracted after you have conquered the fear and mustered the courage.
When I finally decided to go pass the dogs, a motorbike came down the road and agitated the dogs. It took a while to get my mind back to the place where the length of their teeth was not my point of focus.
With the fire walk, some people opted out as we neared the fire beds. Why not be like them and do the 'sensible' thing?
So, even when you are fully committed to take on the challenge, distractions may come to throw you off track.
It is best to set up each step in a way that turning back or opting out is much harder than going forward. Put yourself on a path that propels you forward even when you have doubts and fears.
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- Trevor E. S. Smith and the Success with People Academy team prepare and certify leadership professionals, coach/mentors and develop high-performing teams. Hire Smart with their recruitment solutions. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org