The Temptation to Blow it All Up

Fear. It is a common theme when it comes to any type of change.

Fear of the unknown. Fear of failure. Fear of success. Fear of just making a fool of yourself.  

Regardless of what the fear is, if we are contemplating a change, it is usually there. There is only one way to fight the fear (or the Monger) and that is by going through it. Unfortunately, going through the fear is hard! Fighting the fear involves intentionality, awareness, perseverance, and moving pebbles or even mountains.

Occasionally, I have clients who decide to bypass the Monger and just blow it all up. They “blow up” the parts of their lives that aren’t working. Quit their job without having a plan B, leave their spouse without any explanation, or move to Denver with no notice.

From time to time, and for some people, this works. In fact, I have been known to quit a job with a very loose back-up plan in place. That being said, I didn’t have a family to support and knew exactly how long the money in my savings would last. So although the decision appeared irrational, I had a plan, albeit a loose one, but it was a plan.

I am talking about the people who have no plan, who have no inkling of a plan B, no regard for their values or priorities or for their family or loved ones they are hurting by their actions. It is my theory that when you get the urge to just blow it up without measuring the consequences or the pain, it is because fear is in the way.

I once worked with a client who had a lot of fear around leaving her job. Security was very important to her as was supporting her family. However, she would frequently talk about just walking into work and giving her two weeks notice and going back to school. When she talked about doing this, her face would light up and she would get very excited—usually a sign to me that someone is on the right track. In fact, she was on the right track, but she was trying to take the long road around the Monger rather than go through the doubts, insecurities, and fears.

This long road could involve debt, not being able to afford her child’s college education, keeping her husband from pursuing his dreams, and taking time away from her children as she went back to school. While none of those things are life-threatening, they were very much against her values of financial security (e.g., no debt) and family (e.g., her husband’s dreams, spending time with her children). So when she started talking about blowing it all up, I became curious about her fears. It turns out the Monger was running rampant in her brain. She was full of self-doubt, insecurity, and anxiety about going back to school.

The kicker is that even if she blew everything up and took the long road around the Monger and just quit her job and went back to school, she still has to face her fears at some point. She has to go through the Monger eventually. She has to deal with herself and face her doubts and fears about trying something new, going back to school, and risking her family’s security. Because although her job is making her unhappy, it is her self-doubt and negative self-talk that is keeping her in that place. She has to learn how to deal with herself and make change within herself, facing the fear one step at a time.

Her fear isn’t going anywhere; it will just be temporarily covered by the carnage of the “blow it all up” bomb. She will have to face all these doubts after causing her family thousands of dollars of debt and loss of valuable time, both things she highly values OR she can face her fears one step at a time as she plans the best way to move forward. It isn’t that quitting her job and going back to school is a bad idea.

The point is, there are two ways to go about her plan:

  1. Blow it all up and deal with the pain and consequences later.
  2. Make a plan for quitting her job and going back to school that fits with her values, priorities, and obligations.

I know when my clients get the temptation to blow it all up with no regard for the consequences, it means two things. 1. They are on the right path, and 2. We are in the midst of their Monger.

Change is not easy, and if there is one thing that gets the Monger active, it is when we are thinking about making a change. When we take one step at a time, face our doubts and fears, keep in mind our values and priorities, and make a plan, we can live happier.

When have you been tempted to blow it all up with no regard for the consequences?

New on The Happier Approach Podcast

All this month on the podcast we are talking about resolutions. For people with High Functioning Anxiety, this time of year can be very anxiety provoking, so I want to bring that anxiety out into the open and talk about how we can do it differently.

In this episode we are talking about why resolutions are so triggering and what the research shows for setting helpful resolutions. Check it out on Apple Podcast, Spotify, or over here.