A major reason for getting and staying stuck is fear of failure. We avoid putting ourselves in any situation that could result in our feeling rejected or embarrassed. We cling to our comfort zone and make excuses as to why we cannot try something new or reach out to someone different.

One technique that I learned from my professional training in brief, strategic therapy is the paradoxical intervention. A mouthful I know! Simply stated a paradox is prescribing and practicing the feared behavior.

I recall one client who had a fear of failure, of making a mistake. As a result, his comfort zone got smaller and smaller until he was well and truly stuck!   The client was advised to practice making mistakes at least ten times a day, every day. Examples of “mistakes” included returning a library book one day late, arriving somewhere 5 minutes late, wearing a navy sock and a black sock, etc.

Once we can learn how to tolerate imperfection, live through the discomfort, and realize the sky doesn’t fall on our heads, it is fairly easy to translate this to taking bigger risks! We need to remember that nothing changes if nothing changes! So identify your Achilles heel and practice it!

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