How your FEAR of Failure might actually be causing you to FAIL

Are you staying on track with your long-term goals, or are things a little wobbly?

This week I want to share more on the topic of FEAR. Fear is one of those things that EVERYONE struggles with.

Within the WLS post-op community I see a lot of people discussing their fear of failure. Fear of failure is actually pretty normal because, well, who really starts this process wanting to fail? Of course, no one wants to fail, but that's what people tend to focus on.. Think about it. How often do you think about failing? or your fear of failure?

Yet, within that fear of failure, there is something that no one talks about.. and that is the #mindset piece.  

Here's the thing, and maybe you've heard me say this before.. "what you focus on expands",so when you focus on a fear of failure, you might actually increase that fear because you are focusing on it, and end up overwhelming yourself.

See, the brain is a beautiful and yet complicated thing. We can sift through billions of bits of data at any given time. And somehow, so we don’t short circuit, we have to organize that information. The Reticular Activating System helps with that and if you start looking for evidence of something, you are bound to find it..  

So, if your brain starts focusing in on looking for failures, guess what you'll find?

Yes, that's right, failures. Then.. when you focus on that, and start to find evidence of that, then your brain says "why bother," and then you STOP TRYING..

AND THIS.. is the big problem!

So wait, how does my fear of failure actually cause me to potentially fail??

See, our Reticular Activating System (RAS for short), is a bundle of nerves at our brainstem that filters out unnecessary information so the important stuff gets through.

The RAS is the reason you learn a new word, and then start seeing it or hearing it everywhere. It’s why you can tune out a crowd full of talking people, yet immediately snap to attention when someone says your name or something that at least sounds like it. It's the same reason you notice the song you love (or the song you hate) come on the radio, all the time.

Your RAS takes what you focus on and creates a filter for it. It then sifts through the data and presents only the pieces that are important to you (good or bad). All of this happens without you noticing, of course. The RAS programs itself to work in your favor without you actively doing anything. Pretty awesome, right?

In the same way, the RAS seeks information that validates your beliefs. It filters the world through the parameters you give it, and your beliefs shape those parameters. If you think you are failing at life after WLS, you probably will be only because you focus on that so much. If you believe you are good at your post-op process, you most likely do great at the follow-through because you'll believe in yourself even more. If you don't think this way, you'll likely to pick up as self-defeatist attitude a whole lot quicker.

The RAS helps you see what you want to see and in doing so, influences your actions.

Next, let's mix your RAS with negative cyclical self-talk and this is why you are likely to create failures with your mind... because, like I said before, what you focus on expands.

Now, don't misunderstand me.. if you are still downing Haagan Dazs all while chanting "I'm so skinny, the weight is just falling off, Look at me, I'm so skinny" - then you're missing my point.


However, what I am saying is... You're perception comes from how you are looking at things, and when you focus on failures, all you will see are failures.

So, I want to encourage you to see other things...

Play a little game with me, will you?

Each day when you leave home, look for something specific in your day-to-day life when you are headed to work and back home, or driving around town... do this for a few days.

When you focus on seeing these things, I promise you'll find them. If not, you are likely living under a rock (just kidding!).

But in all seriousness, start looking for something daily. You may start looking to see a Red Cardinal (the bird), or focus on seeing a Silver colored Toyota 4-runner.

When I did this experiment myself, I was a skeptic and I said that I would find a blue butterfly. I didn't believe I would see one because while I live kind of in the country, I thought it impossible to see a butterfly because I'm inside most days. Well, within 72 hours, I saw a blue, yellow, and black butterfly hanging out by my gardenia bushes.

BOOM!  This stuff works..

So.. first, ask yourself - what are you looking for? What are you focusing on that you will see show up in your life?

Second, start looking for it everywhere. Make it a game like the 'punch buggy' game. 

Then, start to notice how often you are seeing the object that has become your focus.

And finally,shift this to your WLS life and start to look for your successes so you can FINALLY shift out of your fear of failure and begin to track your successes long term.

Also.. STAY TUNED... because....

Next time I will discuss the FEAR of Success and the prevalence it presents in bariatric post-ops, why it may also be lingering beneath the surface and how it may also be causing some subconscious mindset issues..