21 Days of Fear and Action

Back in 2003, I started my hypnotherapy practice in San Francisco. And during those early days, I really, really, really wanted to improve my hypnotherapy skills, super quickly.

I was a member of a hypnosis practice group that met monthly. And I thought, “Hey, I can improve my skills if I teach in the group.”

15 years ago as a recent hypnotherapy graduate, who was I to teach? Some of these members had so much more experience, so much more skill. But I really wanted to improve, so I felt the fear, felt the insecurities, and taught, taught, and taught some more.

One big lesson for me was that even though I was a newbie in the group, I could be valuable to them. I didn’t have to wait until I was an expert. The point was to teach in order to get better, faster.

Sometimes I taught a skill I wanted to improve myself. Sometimes I taught a skill I had no idea about, and that scared me.

Since I’d announced that I would teach the topic, I now had to learn this new topic. And I’ll admit, sometimes I was scared. Sometimes I thought, “Do I have enough time to learn this? What if it’s more complex than I thought? What if…” Well, you get the picture. My fears, doubts, and insecurities, got to play quite often.

But in the end, the desire to avoid being embarrassed was a strong incentive to quiet the fears. And I kept my eye on the prize. I remember that I wanted to improve my skills, so I could better serve my clients.

So I suspect I gained more skill much faster than most of my graduating class, because I was doing a lot of teaching that forced me to learn and hone many skills.

Why did I cause myself stress and fear? Because left to my own devices, I can be a lazy person. But the fear of letting people down, well, that’s a useful motivation for me. And the desire to serve, well, that’s a useful motivation for me.

Which brings me to my recent fear-inducing decision.

I’ve enrolled in a writing program, a 21-day writing challenge to be more precise. That means starting today, for 21 weekdays, I’ll be writing something. And I’ve chosen the theme of “21 Days of Fear and Action.”

I won’t be emailing you on each of the 21 weekdays. Instead, I’ll send an email now and then with a link to the blog.

During these 21 days, I’ll be sharing something that has to do with fear and action. During these 21 days, my goal is to both improve my writing and share something that can help you and my other readers.

I’ll be sharing techniques, concepts, and some hypnotic stories. If during the 21 days of writing you feel a bit tranced out, or you feel an issue resolving, or you feel something’s different, feel free to post about it.

I would love to get your feedback on any posts that moves you, that annoys you, that affects you in some way.

And last but not least, when have you used doubt and fear to your advantage? I’d love to hear your story, so please post, and perhaps your story will inspire another person.

5 thoughts on “21 Days of Fear and Action”

  1. Sometimes I feel as if fear is the only thing that makes me super productive! I’m not sure how good that is. I never wanted to let my professors down in school, so I’d work like a fiend yo get in the paper or cram for the test. For weight loss (BIG issue for me), it’s always when I’ve gained (too fond of sweets and actually reached out to you about hypnosis for letting go of sweets) and am terrified of losing all control and becoming obese that I’m able to abandon overeating for awhile and lose the weight).

  2. I’d like to add that I very much want to let go of my addiction to food and sweets especially, and the tendency to night eat.

    • Mercedes, thanks for your two posts. As the first to comment, you win a prize! Please email me to get the details. (I’ll be giving out a few prizes during the 21 days. Surprise!)

      I believe that fear (in the right amount) combined with a positive emotional motivator can be very useful. Fear alone tends to make us stressed out. (And of course in some contexts, purely positive motivation is the best.)

      For the weight loss issue, what you described might indicate your subconscious is using an “away from” motivation strategy. That means it’s only taking action when things are painful enough, so now it wants to avoid that pain.

      The problem with using only an away from strategy is that once we move away from the painful situation, we tend to feel okay, but we then go back to the old ways. It’s the yo-yo effect.

      But if we combine the away from strategy with a “toward” strategy (i.e., of what you actually desire on a deep enough level), then you can shed pounds faster. I’ll be posting more on motivation strategies as well as weight loss during the 21 days.

  3. Thank you, William. Makes perfect sense. But, how on earth do I put this into practice? I’ve never heard of “away from”. How do you define it?

    • “Away from” motivation means you’re moving away from pain, discomfort, etc. This could be a situation, a thing, a person. Your subconscious mind really wants to get rid of the problem or reduce the problem; it’s in pain.

      How do we put this all into practice? Let’s say “Jane” has a weight issue. In her brain, she has multiple neural pathways that are very strong, very resilient, that get used every single day.

      Under normal conditions, Jane will fail to lose weight, even if she really, really wants to change. It’s not hopeless, but it’s hard. Again, under normal conditions.

      So, to change the dynamic, Jane uses hypnosis. Now her brain lights up in a different way. The usual “food = pleasure” neural pathway can start to shift. It won’t usually be an overnight thing, but her neural pathways start to change. And she begins to create new pathways that create new pleasure beyond food.

      And she can create new pathways that associate overeating with pain. So Jane is now making the “away from” motivation a force for good. And she’s relying more on the “toward” motivation. And she reaches a tipping point in which the toward motivation exceeds the away from motivation.

      And now Jane’s weight loss really starts accelerating. So to answer your question, we put this into practice with hypnosis.


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