There are so many solutions to overcome our most common fears…
Afraid of public speaking? Join Toastmasters or take improv classes.
Afraid of networking? Take a friend to an event and make a few new ones.
Afraid of asking your boss for a raise? Research, role play and present your case.
Fear is a natural part of life and at times, it helps us protect our families (Hold hands across the street! Buckle up! Lock the door!). But for some reason, there aren’t many solutions to overcome fear as parents, especially when it comes to being out and about with our kids. Whether it’s errands around town or big trips, many of us simply avoid what we fear most…
Afraid kids will cause trouble at the store? Shop online or at night.
Afraid kids won't behave when eating out? Order in.
Afraid kids won’t sleep away from home? Just cancel the trip.
When we have kids, it's tempting to put off what we once enjoyed most (Trader Joe's treasure hunts, favorite restaurants, parent-picked vacations) until the kids are big. But experts say the more we avoid what we fear most, the more our fear grows. And the more we worry about the bad, the more we will miss out on the good. Experts also say the best way to overcome fear is to acknowledge it. Put a plan together and practice overcoming it. Get better at it. Then do it until you’re not afraid anymore.
Best-selling self-help author and entrepreneur Tim Ferriss calls one helpful technique to overcome all this “fear-setting.” It's a quick exercise and a system to thrive in high-stress environments. (You know, like an extra-long plane ride with your extra-loud two-year-old.)
Step one: Define
Define the fear. What is the worst that can happen? Write it down. Write down aaaall the most terrifying scenarios. While being stuck on a plane with the very active two-year-old, I could run out of snacks. I could run out of activities. I could skip nap time. I could be kicked off the plane. I could see myself in online headlines after my kid screams, non-stop, for eight hours. Anything could happen.
Step two: Prevent
Plan what you’ll do to prevent each scenario from happening… For my traveler-in-training, I’ll pack a few more long-lasting snacks or tell the flight attendant to keep the candy cart closeby. I’ll bring some amazing toys, stickers and bubbles. I’ll teach my sweet pea to sleep in different places before the trip so when nap time hits, he's ready to snooze on or under the seat. I can make friends with my flight attendants and fellow passengers so they're less likely to kick us off or take incriminating videos...
Step three: Repair
Ponder how to fix it or how to ask for help if the worst does happen… I can ask the flight attendant on call for the biggest bag of gummy bears she's ever seen. I can ask her for cups, napkins and stir sticks so my travel buddy and I can build the airline's tallest seat-back tray tower. I can spend some scream time in the bathroom to give fellow passengers a few minutes of peace and quiet, or be glad about it when I'm kicked off the plane so I don’t have to hear “are we there yet?” again.
You get the idea.
When we go through this exercise, we might find there isn’t as much to worry about after all. When we face what we’re afraid of, our confidence grows and we become unstoppable as parents. And when we're fearless, we can do more with our kids than we thought was possible before.