Matt Michel: 8 simple ways to fight the fear
We cannot and must not give in to fear.
The greatest challenge of the coronavirus is not the virus itself. It is not the government shutting down our economy. It is overcoming your fear of both. Here are eight simple ways to fight the fear.
Science fiction writer, Frank Herbert wrote that, “Fear is the mind killer.”
During the Great Depression, Franklin Roosevelt said, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”
Look around. You can see the dumb decisions business and government leaders are making on a daily basis. They allow their fear to paralyze themselves. They become trapped in their spreadsheets of terror, focusing on statistics and not the human spirit. The American people are resilient. However, if we give in to fear, as FDR warned, we allow our spirits to be crushed. You cannot do it. You must not do it.
1. MAKE YOUR BED
A few years ago, in a college commencement speech that went viral, Navy SEAL, Admiral William H. McRaven advised graduates to start each day by making their beds.
“If you make your bed every morning, you will have accomplished the first task of the day,” he said. “It will give you a small sense of pride and it will encourage you to do another task, and another, and another. And, by the end of the day, that one task completed will have turned into many tasks completed.
“Making your bed will also reinforce the fact that the little things in life matter,” he continued. “If you can’t do the little things right, you’ll never be able to do the big things right. And if by chance you have a miserable day, you will come home to a bed that is made, that you made. And, a made bed gives you encouragement that tomorrow will be better. So, if you want to change the world, start off by making your bed.”
Making your bed not only starts your day right, it starts your day with activity. Activity occupies the mind. Activity shoves aside fear. It does not leave room for fear.
2. PROGRAM YOURSELF WITH POSITIVITY
Avoid the plumbing forums on social media like the plague. They are full of negativity, of negative thinking. Negative thinking is a worse virus than COVID-19. If you become infected with the coronavirus, you might get sick for a week or two, but most likely it will pass. While you have the virus, you may not want to do anything but lie in bed. Eventually, most people recover and the virus will become a memory that fades over time.
If you become sick with the virus of negative thinking, it can affect you for the rest of your life. It can feed on itself. It leads to poor decision making, misery and an overall pessimistic outlook on the plumbing profession and life. So, avoid feeding yourself with negativity. Avoid the negative side of social media. Avoid the news, especially the news that focuses on sensationalizing the crisis. If you must watch it, watch it at night, but follow it with positive programming.
3. LET GO
Focus on things that you can do, not the things you cannot do. Focus on what you can control, not what you cannot control. If you cannot impact something, let go of it. Release it. Turn it over to a higher power.
4. FACE YOUR FEAR HEAD ON
What are you really afraid of? What is the worst thing that can happen? Is it going bankrupt? Is it losing your plumbing business? What is it? And what would you do if it happens? Could you handle it? Could you start over?
If you can handle the worst thing you can imagine, then you can handle anything. Chances are, the worst-case scenario will not happen.
Once you face your fear head on and accept that all-in-all, you could survive it, the fear loses its power over you. You become free.
5. SET ASIDE TIME FOR WORRY
Worry is the constant companion of fear. Unless we are careful, worry will seep into our consciousness like dye seeps into the bowl of a leaking toilet. It seeps in and spreads until it touches everything.
Block time for worry. Start by scheduling 30 minutes a day where you will do nothing but worry about anything and everything you can imagine. When worry starts to leak into the rest of the day, tell yourself, “Not now. Now is not the time for worry. I will worry when scheduled.”
It is unlikely that you will be able to fill 30 minutes with worry. It will be more like 30 seconds. But unless you control it, that 30 seconds of worrying can expand and repeat itself to paralyze an entire day.
6. COUNT YOUR BLESSINGS
Literally, count your blessings. Make a list. Start with family and friends. Or, maybe start with the fact you live in America. Maybe start with the fact you work in the plumbing profession. Your profession is deemed essential. You can work when others are being told they cannot even venture outdoors.
7. SHORTEN YOUR TIME HORIZON
Focus on today. Focus on what you can accomplish today. Make today your time horizon. Live by the old adage, “one day at a time.”
You will have victories along the way. It is important to recognize them and to celebrate them. Otherwise they will pass like they never existed. Find ways to reward yourself. Keep a notebook handy and write down the wins.
Every service call is a win. Every repair is a win. Every sale is a win. Focus on the wins. What gets rewarded, what gets celebrated, gets repeated. Celebrate the wins and you will find you win more often.