“Your greatest regret at the end of your life will be the lions you didn’t chase. You will look back longingly on risks not taken, opportunities not seized, and dreams not pursued. Stop running away from what scares you most and start chasing the God-ordained opportunities that cross your path.” – Mark Batterson
Flash Light Tag
It was a dark, moonless night without any visible lights outside. I was hiding in the perfect spot; beneath a Bougainvillea bush in the backyard. This was one of our family’s many game nights. Tonight the game was flashlight tag. The person who was “it” had the flashlight; the rest of us were hiding in the dark. It would take forever for anyone to find me here.
I hate to admit it but countless times during this game I did not want to be found; it felt good to be alone in solitude for a few minutes. As a busy mom of 4, quiet moments were hard to come by. Sometimes the only peaceful time I had was when I was hiding in the dark. It might have been the only instance in my day where I was alone with my thoughts and my mind could be still.
What Are You Hiding From?
We should all have serene sanctuaries; places where we can find solace from time to time even if it’s just a few moments to quiet our minds. The problem is not the temporary respite – the trouble comes when the short-term reprieve becomes an unhealthy dark dungeon used to escape the things we don’t want to face.
Prolonged avoidance is a form of unhealthy coping; oftentimes masked as hiding. Mental Health Professionals refer to this type of behavior as avoidance coping. Hiding can be very subtle – often disguised in innocent and healthy actions such as eating, relaxing and watching Netflix, sleeping, putting in extra hours at work, or exercising.
Healthy actions only become unhealthy when they are extended into excessive spells that you get lost in – which in turn become your personal hiding places.
Roots Behind Hiding
Avoidance behaviors are often embedded in a multitude of deep-seated issues which may stem from:
- Feeling Overwhelmed
- Conflict Avoidance
Regardless of the root, avoidance behavior adversely impacts your state of being, drains your mental energy, and actually creates additional stress.
Circumstances People are Likely to Hide From
As humans, we tend to avoid that which makes us feel uncomfortable.
What are some situations that make you feel uneasy?
- The difficult conversation that must take place yet you continue to sidestep
- That person whom you’d rather have a root canal than deal with
- Those daunting financial truths stacked on your desk
- That formidable project you keep delaying
- The fear of saying no to someone
What is Avoidance Behavior Costing You?
Regardless of the circumstances, avoidance behavior is a form of self-sabotage. It disempowers you from being your authentic self, erodes your self-confidence, and is detrimental to your success.
What’s at Stake?
- A Healthy Mindset
- Greater Self-Confidence
- A Sense of Empowerment
- Crossing the Finish Line
- Conflict Resolution
- Career Opportunities
Avoidance behavior comes at an extremely heavy price. Let’s look at some ways that you can stop hiding and discover the freedom to stand tall and face the perceived giants in your life.
4 Key Actions to Take to Stop Hiding
1. Wake Up and Realize You are Hiding
According to author and success expert Darren Hardy, 99% of the choices we make are unconscious. This is a staggering yet true statistic; so many of us sleepwalk through life and function on autopilot.
It’s time to wake up and make conscious decisions. Don’t allow yourself to make choices without thinking. Awareness is the key that unlocks doors of change. Without awareness, nothing changes.
2. Stop Overthinking and Face Your Perceived Giants
Most of the giants we face have been blown out of proportion by our imaginations in our thought processes. We project dread and negative anticipation into future events that we have no control over and most likely will never occur.
What we fixate on we believe. So if you are playing a reel to reel in your mind and continuously dreading something, your brain will automatically magnify it.
“The anticipation of loss is much more frightening than the actual loss as anticipation leaves room for the imagination to create that which, in all likelihood, will never transpire.” – Craig Lounsbrough
Our brains are hardwired for alignment. They seek to find congruency between our external world and our inner thoughts. Knowing that perception truly is reality, start minimizing those perceived giants and face them head-on.
The key to eliminate overthinking, or ruminating, is to replace that behavior with reframing; changing your perception of an event and thus shifting your emotional setting to a positive energy. Once you replace overthinking with reframing, the giants in your life will shrink.
3. Develop Powerful Habits
“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.” – Aristotle
With or without knowing it, over the course of our lives, all of us have developed habits:
- Some Good
- Some Bad
- Some Ugly
High performers are different – they have gone through the maze of the good, the bad, and the ugly and have mastered the art of developing excellent habits.
To realize your full potential, you must cultivate positive high performance habits which lead to excellence.
Surprisingly, developing powerful habits is not exclusive to achievement and success. It goes much deeper; it encompasses flow, balance, and alignment in your life. However, once you start being consistent with your choices and create repeated actions, not only will you have more balance in your life, these actions, in turn, become habits and success follows automatically.
Success then leads to confidence which leads to more success. By implementing powerful habits, you are creating excellence in your life.
4. Take Personal Responsibility
Your circumstances do not define who you are; you define who you are. Unfortunately, most people don’t understand the empowerment mindset of taking personal responsibility for their actions.
Victimhood, finger pointing, and blaming are as old as Father Time. Remember the garden, Adam, Eve, the serpent, and the apple? Not much has changed since then. The blame game continues today. Too many individuals in our society fault others for their lot in life:
- Their Mom
- Their Dad
- Their Job
- Their Spouse
- The Weather
- The Economy
- That Coworker
No matter what has happened to you or who did or did not influence you, you alone are responsible for how you respond to your circumstances. If you grasp and embrace this one concept of personal responsibility, you will find true freedom and experience empowerment like you have never felt before.
My kids are all grown now and live in different states so our flashlight tag games have ceased. Although I no longer hide in the dark beneath a Bougainvillea bush; I do, however, occasionally still find myself hiding from time to time.
When I recognize that I’m hiding, I apply a tip I used when I trained for running 10K’s. For me, running was a love-hate relationship. I loved the adrenaline rush I’d get, the feeling of solace running in the Arizona desert, and the sense of accomplishment I’d feel when it was done. I did, however, hate starting – every – single – time!
To make myself move, I utilized a timer. I set the timer for however long I wanted to run that particular day. As soon as I hit start, I began running; regardless of what I felt like. I didn’t stop till the timer went off.
I use that same principle to help me with the things I find myself avoiding. I set the timer in 25-minute increments and then take a 5-minute break. I establish a goal of X amount of increments each day to push me past my avoidance tendencies. As a result, I rarely hide any longer.
You can incorporate the timer when you need to move forward in whatever you’re hiding from; that conversation, the dreaded stack of bills, that project that your mind has made bigger than life.
Only You Can Change Your Life
The key is consistency. Ridding yourself of avoidance behavior will add balance, freedom, and alignment to your daily activities and put your life on a new trajectory.
Wake Yourself Up Every Single Day
Reframe Your Thoughts
Elevate Your Habits
Choose to Make Empowering Decisions
Take Ownership of Your Day
Ready to Dig Deeper?
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