• Brainz Magazine

It’s No Longer “Business as Usual”: How to Transform Your Mindset from Fear to Freedom

Written by: Olenka Cullinan, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.

Let’s face it, we all woke up in a world where our lives and businesses have been uprooted overnight. Most of us were not prepared to go into a virtual existence for months on end (physically or financially), to start homeschooling, to lose the social connections, or employment. None of it was predictable, and this new reality has stirred a whole slew of emotions – sadness, anger, loss, frustration, disbelief and the biggest one of all – fear.

Fear is a basic primitive human emotion, which arises from the threat of physical or psychological harm, whether it’s real or imagined. Traditionally, it’s considered to be a negative emotion. But what if everything we knew about fear is wrong?


Consider this – fear is not a “bad” emotion – it’s designed in your body to alert you against unpleasant situations. It’s an alarm mechanism that reminds you to make a move at the first sign of danger. I know you can argue with me here, “But why do we freeze when we are scared?” You only stop when the scare is perceived from certain beliefs! That’s when you get stuck.


Think of two very distinctly different scenarios: if you see a dog charging at you out of nowhere, you might freeze for a few seconds but then you will move, likely run or jump to the side. But if you are scared of making a sales call (something of a perceived danger), you will often sit in this paralyzed state for hours, days, and weeks, avoiding it all together. That is why I’m inviting you to consider that fear is a great brain response that is actually alerting you that you need to take action!


Our current situation can trigger fears on a daily or sometimes hourly basis: the news you are watching, being bombarded on social media, your work or school situation - all of these are the alerting to pay attention. Moreover, one of the most powerful qualities of fear: it’s contagious. I’m sure you have noticed that on some days you wake up in a great mood, and then you open up the Internet and before you know it, you just bought into everyone else’s worries and concerns. That is the reality of today’s situation.


Unless you carefully curate the intake of your information, you are guaranteed to be sucked into everyone else’s emotions.


"But a better question is: what do we do to transform during this “new normal” as the “old normal” may never come back."

Now that the epidemic is declining in some areas of the world while still expanding in the others, these fears are causing a divide among us. No one is exactly sure what the right or wrong ways to behave are, but as humans, we do one thing well – we know how to judge. I see people projecting their emotions and their fears on others. It’s causing breaks in relationships, disconnect in companies, and havoc in our societies. And all of us are waiting on the “normal” to come back. But a better question is: what do we do to transform during this “new normal” as the “old normal” may never come back.


Our transformation starts and ends with our mindset. The mind carries the limitations, the beliefs, and the realities of our lives. There’s no other way around it.


So while the world may be in financial and psychological darkness, your responsibility lies in changing how you are reacting and processing these circumstances. We are all dealing with our own version of “scary” right now, but some people are choosing to be the light, while others are choosing to hide behind the darkness.


You can choose to transform your angst into liberation. And no, I’m not saying that it is easy, as it requires work. But it is possible, and it is going to create a level of growth for you that will elevate your lifestyle. You see, the most successful people take action when others are scared to. Times of change are times for opportunity. Training your brain to react differently to the difficult situation is no different than training your muscles in the gym to get a six-pack. Consistency and monitoring progress move you forward through challenges of life. You need to get consistent on your positive habits.


When clients tell me that they want to reach a certain goal, I ask them to show me their rituals. These are non-negotiable routines that you implement in your day whether the world stops or moves. In my case, it’s journaling, visualization and mediation every morning, then reading and mediation every night. What positive rituals keep you moving forward in these circumstances? If you don’t have any, start with one.


Taking charge of your thoughts is the next important step to controlling your reality. Most of your thoughts are rooted in your beliefs, as your beliefs are just thoughts that have been repeated by you or others to you over and over. Bringing awareness to your thinking is where you can change your whole outlook on life. You decide how alive you get to be daily. Only your thoughts or buying into someone else’s is what stops you. In this uncertain world, it is your responsibility to start turning your thoughts into statements of growth and hope. You may stumble at first, and you will certainly catch yourself reverting to the negatives, but it’s ok – just keep practicing and re-stating every negative thought into positive out loud, and you will see the change. I use this “game of opposites” exercise with my clients for 30 days, and the results they notice are remarkable.


This world might be in limbo for a while still, but you get to decide if you are going to add light or darkness to it and to your life. Your goal is to come out of this situation by freeing yourself from fear dictated by external circumstances. It’s going to require you to be brave and to take bold actions. Your thoughts don’t have power. You have power. And I promise you already have what it takes inside of you to transform that fear into freedom.


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Olenka Cullinan, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Olenka Cullinan is a CEO of iStartFirst, Speaker, & Business Coach. She empowers women to up-Level their business and mindset via on-line Bootcamp, iStartFirst Women's Summit, and delivering keynotes and workshops for companies nationwide & globally. Olenka has developed a “Backbone of Success”™ method that helps female leaders to take action, get paid their worth and show up like a BOSS. Olenka’s work globally, combined with humor and personal experiences led to her recent appearances at TEDx (twice) and made her into one of the premier corporate consultants. She has worked with startups, corporate leaders and some of the top organizations across the world. 

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