Have you noticed, there is no middle ground? Anxiety, fear or worry is taking over, or you are taking action? It's anxiety or action.
You wake up feeling instantly anxious and want the day to end before it has started, or you have focus and purpose.
Anxiety, stress and worry have wrapped themselves up in your life at uncontrollable levels, or you are managing them at healthy levels.
You are indecisive and find it easier if others make decisions for you, or you are independent, know what it is you want, make your mind up and go for it.
You hit a crossroad and avoid the situation by just going with the flow, or you take control and dictate your direction.
You have goals that you never quite get around to starting, or you are smashing your goals out of the park.
I can resonate with the first half of all of these examples (and much more!), as I'm sure you can. I spent decades of my life letting anxiety, worry, stress and fear dominate everything I did (and didn't do). And I can tell you wholeheartedly; there was only ever one thing that put anxiety in its place and made a difference. It was the only thing that ever got me out of the mire.
When you think back, what is it that has ever made the difference for you?
It's the same thing that will always make the difference. It's the thing that will continue to shape your entire existence and the quality of it.
That thing? ACTION!
THE ACTION HABIT
Getting into what I call the 'action habit' is such a powerful mindset that it's core to my coaching. If I can help my client take just a little more action, I know it will make all the difference.
Action (and inaction) decide how you are going to feel in the next five minutes, five days, five weeks, five years and five decades from now. Inclusive in this experience is how you deal and cope with anxiety, stress and worry, and how much of an influence these things have in your life.
When you consider how you feel is all that counts, it pays to take more action. Why? Because of what the opposite means. Inaction could also be called the 'worry habit'.
Don't be fooled.
Taking action is a habit.
Not taking action is a habit, too.
A habit is a regular tendency that is hard to give up.
When you've been doing something for a while, your brain thinks it's normal – the right thing to keep doing – even if that habit is bad for you.
This is how the worry habit forms.
If you are better at not taking action, you will continue to form the worry habit. When you don't have things to worry about, you will go looking for things to worry about! And what happens when you go on the hunt for something to worry about? You create problems that don't exist!
When you find yourself sitting in the same spot, rocking back and forth, remember, you are choosing the worry habit over the action habit.
If you're fed up with letting anxiety consume you in this way, you have to develop the action habit.
Like any other habit, you have to choose to take action enough that it forms a solid part of your behaviour. You know you've cracked it when you automatically choose to get up off your seat rather than allow yourself to sit still, wrapped up in the spiral of anxiety and worry-related thoughts that keep you trapped.
You will be too busy taking action to concern yourself with all that useless anxiety and worry that is serving you no other purpose than to keep you anxious and worried.
You have a choice to make.
There is no 'maybe middle ground' in this choice. It is one thing or the other.
The title of my book, Anxiety or Action, defines your choice.
You could also call your choice 'worry or action'.
You can overcomplicate this choice and throw obstacles in its way as much as you like, but it will always come down to anxiety or action.
I know the choice is much easier said than done.
I know, in that moment, how gripping and persuasive anxiety and worry can be when they get their grubby paws on you.
It's like having two voices in your head – a shouting salesperson and a chancer.
The salesperson is your pessimist – the voice telling you to remain focused on your anxiety and worry. Stay in your box and do not dare come out of it! Know your place and don't bother, because you won't be good enough anyway.
The chancer is your optimist – the voice telling you to get up out of your seat because there is little point sitting there worrying. Give it a go because what is the worst that can happen? At least take a chance because you might regret it if you don't.
The salesperson shouts over your chancer and doesn't give it a look in. It has absolute dominance. We can't be bothered to challenge it, so it wins. We remain rooted to our seat, we stay in our box, and we rarely take a chance.
Anxiety, worry and fear get to do as they please.
You can continue to avoid decisions. It doesn't mean they will go away.
You can reach a crossroads and decide not to go down either route. Life is still going to move you forward, whether or not you want to.
You can leave goals to their own devices. They won't complete themselves.
Like Groundhog Day, you can continue to wake up feeling anxious and miserable every morning. Until you decide to take a different course, those days are not going to change.
Action is the ONLY thing that will ever change anything. Action is the game-changer.
Anxiety or action is your choice – a choice that will continue to come up time and time again.
Choose wisely, my friend.
Your decision of action or inaction is forming your habit, and that habit will make all the difference.