La Coop P.A.- General and Forensic Psychiatry - Boutique-Private Psychiatric and Forensic Practice in Tampa-Clearwater-Florida


November 2017 - Happy Thanksgiving!!!


I had a session yesterday with one of my favorite patients, and the topic of discussion in our last session was the fear of failure to become a propeller for success. I really love having sessions with this patient particularly because I see so much potential in her and yet at the same time it has been difficult to overcome her inertia in terms of moving on to the next phase of her life. She's very receptive to learning things about why she behaves the way she does, but insight doesn't always overcome intense fear. Today, in addition to discussing this very important concept with you, I wanted to be able to share with you guys a picture of my family now.

Everyone always talks about having a fear of success. Because once you put yourself out there you could fail. That's just a normal part of life. However, when I think about my own successes in my life, I feel that their origin is in fear. I have a fear of failure. I have always had this since I was young. That fear in itself is stronger than the fear of any kind of obstacle that I could face in trying to achieve any goal that I have. If you view failures in this way, and look at the realities of what happens to your life if you fail in your attempt to achieve a goal then you'll see that anything that you need to do that is required to reach that goal is not as scary as actually failing at achieving that goal.

I hope this newsletter helps you to see a different way of tackling your goals!

Until next time!

Dr. L

So there are steps to achieving a goal. We've talked about that many times. 

You have to make a list of the steps (write it down) that you need to take in order to achieve that goal. What I want you to do here is to be honest with yourself about it. Because that's another issue with patients is that they don't realistically look at the obstacles that they will potentially face.  Therefore, they run into unanticipated consequences and that shuts down the progress forward pretty much automatically.

Next, once you have that list of what you need to do to get to your goal, I want you to then look in detail at the potential obstacles that you may face. Whether these are internal obstacles in your mind, or actual obstacles, I want you to reflect on each one of them and identify the fears that you have that underlie those obstacles. Write this down!

At that point, once you have a list of the steps to achieve the goal, and a list of the potential obstacles, and your thoughts about each one, then we need to look at the time scale for the achievement of the goal that you want. An issue that I find with patients and with people in general is that they have unrealistic expectations of the amount of time that each goal is going to take to achieve. I am also a person that does that.  As you guys all know I've had these ideas about having children and how long that will take. However, that didn't play out like I had expected. Most people have this issue where they don't realistically plan for the amount of time that it would actually take to achieve their goal if they follow all the steps that they've listed. Write down a realistic estimate of the amount of time that it's going to to take to make each step happen.

Now, plan a start date! Write it down!  Actually use that time scale to make actual dates for the achievement of each one of the steps you have to take to attain your goal. This is not an infinite amount of time. If you have a goal that you want to obtain, it should be occurring in the immediate future. Now there are always long-term goals, and that can be listed in your ultimate plan, but each little step it takes to get there should be occurring very soon after you write this list. This is not something that you say that I want to do in my lifetime, this is something that you're saying needs to be happening within the next few months/under a year.

Put the wheels into motion!!! You need to follow your time scale to a T. NO EXCUSES!!!  It's not to say if an obstacle arises that you can't adjust your time scale to accommodate that.  You must be flexible, but not to the extent that you flex yourself completely out of goal attainment. Anticipate the obstacles that you've already listed. Though you've actually listed a set of obstacles, doesn't mean that those are the only obstacles that you're going to face. That just means those are the ones you've anticipated. 

REAL LIFE EXAMPLES:  In your list, when you write the obstacles down, I also want you to write what your game plan would be if that obstacle actually happened. For example, one of my major obstacles with most things is actually making phone calls. It is not something that I enjoy doing, as all of you know. However, at times that's the only way that some people communicate. So, I have to overcome that anxiety about actually placing a call. I know that seems like a little thing, but if the only way you can communicate with somebody is via the phone and you don't want to pick up the phone to actually make that call an entire dream may not happen. Therefore, battling performance anxiety is a real thing and you need to take that seriously. In your mind, anticipate the worst thing that could happen if you made that call. And then, compare that to not achieving your goal. Nine times out of 10, the fear that you have about making that call is going to be way smaller and the fear that you have about not achieving the goal. Therefore, once you evaluate that objectively in your mind, you pick up the phone and make that call. That's just what happens. This is the same thing for other obstacles. 

Another example of this (just so you guys know what the range could be) is in order to achieve my children I had to get over my fear of giving myself intramuscular injections. The thought of doing that really disturbs me. It still does because I have to get shots every week now during my pregnancy. However, in my mind as I was struggling to stick that needle into my thigh at about 130 in the morning was the thought of not being able to have my children. Obviously, the fear of stabbing myself with a needle is way smaller than my fear of never being able to be a mother. Therefore, even though I was scared, I was still able to do it. 

Think about a time in your life when you overcame a significant fear. Then, apply that to your present situation in order to obtain this goal. You've obviously done things that you've been afraid of before, and as humans we have the capacity to do almost anything cognitively. Therefore, you just have to muster up that strength to overcome the fears that you have in order to achieve that next step in your life.  If you write down this analysis - positives and negatives, you will see that it is easier to do than you think.  Once you write things down - you get it out of your head where a lot of the negative thoughts lie.

I always look forward to hearing your stories in session about these things. If you're not a patient, feel free to email me about stories you have!

Until next time. BE GOOD!!

Dr. L and family

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