Doubting? Trim the F.A.T.

Every step is not your best foot forward, but hey – at least you moved forward. You’ve heard the adage that the beauty is in the journey, and I want you to believe that. “Life is queer with its twists and turns,” is a line from the poem Don’t Quit, and those words have been emblazoned on my mind and heart since I learned them in college. I, like you, struggle with wanting to be the best version of myself. You are on a search for meaning, purpose, stability and freedom. Maybe not even that, you would be okay with a job that could cover your bills and an occasional vacation. I’m with you.

But we all know big goals and big dreams don’t come without a little doubt. Doubt is a mood killer, isn’t it? You can be on the highest of highs at one moment and then here comes doubt to crash the party. Doubt didn’t even have the decency to knock on the door. It busts through the wall like the Kool-Aid Man. “Oh Yeah, I’m here to rain on your parade!”

Welcome Doubt, I’ve been expecting you, and why do you keep making new holes in the wall when you just made the old one? You were here yesterday when I thought about going back to school, and the week before that when I said I wanted to run a marathon, and the month before that when I made plans to move to California. You know the way in. However, Doubt doesn’t care about that because Doubt’s only care is wrecking your dreams.

So, what causes doubt? Simply put, protection. Doubt is skepticism on steroids, and skepticism is your personal defense mechanism from you hurting yourself, again. Because I know YOU have made some decisions that have hurt YOU in the past. We all have. So, it’s okay to be a little skeptical and inquisitive.

If you receive an email from an African Prince which states that he is leaving you his inheritance, he just needs your bank account and social security numbers to transfer the funds, you better be skeptical and doubt it; or, if a friend of a friend asks you to come to his house next week to talk to you about a business opportunity. No, I’m okay man. I don’t want to sell pomegranate juice, knives, life insurance, stomach wraps, hair weave, energy drinks, etc.; however, thank you for the offer.

Do you see how doubt and skepticism can work and has worked in your favor? The issue comes when doubt derails opportunities and thoughts that are actually for your good like those I mentioned earlier in this post. I mean who wouldn’t want to live in California if their cost of living wasn’t so ridiculously high?

So, how do you deal with doubt? Figure out the real problem, not the first problem that comes to your mind, and then trim the F.A.T.? Before we get to what F.A.T. means, you have to figure out what you are dealing with and this requires honesty. Please don’t lie to yourself. This is the only way you can get your desired results. To get to the real issue, you have to ask yourself “Why?” a bunch of times. That’s it. I wrote about this in my blog post, 10 Tips For Those Who Weren’t Born Gifted.

After I admitted I had a problem, I did some additional soul searching to find out if the problem I stated is the real issue. It’s one thing to say that I am not a good public speaker, but to dig deeper – I asked myself, Why? Because I stumble over my words. Why? Because I speak too fast. Why? Because I’m nervous. Why? Because I am afraid of being judged. Why? Because I want people to like me. Why? Because I had an issue with people making fun of me as I child because I was awkward.
I had to have this conversation with myself. Okay, you were a kid. Kids are mean growing up. You figured out your awkwardness was a strength years ago in college. So why are you still nervous? You’re right! I know.

Okay, so what is the F.A.T. and how do I trim it? F.A.T. is Fear, Anxiety and Trepidation, and you cut it with faith.

Fear is caused by anxiety. Fear is an irrational emotional reaction to an external or internal stimulus, which causes an individual to become relatively inoperative in the face of that stimulus, never good.

Anxiety is a more appropriate emotional reaction to before mentioned stimuli, which raises concern about that stimulus and tells the body, “Hey, you should be careful walking into this dark alley. You know what? Here’s a little adrenaline to help just in case you need it.” Sometimes this is required, but too much of it leads to fear.

Trepidation is the most rational of the three. For example, “Google Maps told me that exiting the highway three exits earlier than usual would save me about five minutes on the trip to my aunt’s house; however, because of my trepidation of the narrow ice covered roads, I decided to stay on the interstate.” Even though trepidation is the most rational of the three causes of doubt, it is still an issue because often we think ourselves out of our best ideas before we give them a chance to cause us anxiety.

Definition of trepidation for Students

  1. :  a state of alarm or nervousness The boys approached the abandoned house with trepidation.

So, what do those have to do with your career change? Everything! Don’t let fear stop you from stepping into your purpose. Too many of your dreams have been dampened by a lack of confidence in your abilities, or even worse, God’s. Congratulations, you just created a self-limiting belief.

You hopped off the boat, and instead of walking you decided to look down and look back. You looked at your feet because you didn’t trust your footing and looked back because you were afraid of leaving your comfort zone. I’m going to tell you that everywhere you go won’t be a paved sidewalk and to grow you have to embrace the discomfort. Get comfortable being uncomfortable. You are strong enough to do this!

Have you ever heard the saying, “If your goals don’t scare you they aren’t big enough?” I believe the statement is fairly accurate. My mother once told me that if you have to do something, do it nervous, do it afraid, but not doing it is not an option. Your fears will be forgiven, and your obedience will be rewarded, and to this day she has been correct!

Recently, “Bigger Than Me” by Big Sean has been on repeat in my headphones. In the song, he stated, “I can’t spend my whole looking at the same ceiling fan when I feel like I ain’t got not ceilings man. If I ain’t special, I feel it then,” and later “I’ve always imagined myself as someone who failed at everything he did in life. I got to the end of life and regretted it all, and somehow this is my chance to go back and get it all right, and when I wake it up with that mindset it completely changes my hunger and how I approach the whole day, and if you decide to live your life like that I guarantee we’ll live life to our best potential. It’s that simple. It’s all about living in the moment, period.

So it’s time to go to work. Faith usually isn’t a knife. You can’t plastic surgery yourself to a better existence. Faith is more like Gatorade, Band-Aids and Tylenol. It’ll help fuel you, stop the bleeding and reduce the discomfort; however, you still have to work. Do not be afraid of the work!

You have to know that F.A.T. has no place in the equation. If God told you that thing is for you, then that is the end of discussion. You are not protecting yourself by doubting. You are doing the opposite. You are juxtaposed to your destiny. I need you to turn around and do what you are supposed to do.

In conclusion, the Bible says that Faith is the substance of things hope for, and the evidence of things not seen. In layman’s terms, you’ve got to trust that if you start walking, it will work out. Believing in something bigger than yourself makes this easier. I believe in God. I believe in you.

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