This past weekend, we celebrated the little man’s 9th birthday with Black Panther, putt-putt (mini golf), waffles, family time and lots of mom’s now-famous gluten-free, vegan, chocolate cake.

Overall, a great success in my books!

And yet, the thought wasn’t lost on me of how at one point, none of this would have become a reality.

I look at my little family, especially during happy celebrations like birthdays, and remember the time where I felt lost and about to run away from my problems to South Korea.

Had I followed through, I would not have gotten married to my life partner or had the opportunity to give a very special little boy a father figure he never had.

And despite my joy at the decision I made to stay, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t scared as hell.

You see, staying meant I had to confront my fears, be proactive and make things happen; the same things I tried to run away from in the first place.

During this time, I went through an exercise which I didn’t realize I was doing until I heard Tim Ferriss mention it over a year later.

It’s called Fear Setting, and rather than the traditional goal setting approach with which we’re so familiar, it involves thinking about your worst-case scenarios and coming up with a game plan to counter each one.

So often, we’re told to think positively and focus on what we want, but there’s something to be said for also thinking about what we don’t want and what we will do should those things happen. Even the Stoics were fans of this idea thousands of years ago when they practiced negative visualization.

In order to practice Fear Setting, follow these 4 steps.

Fear Setting: 4 Steps to Navigate Your Worst-Case Scenario

  1. Write down what you’re thinking of doing.
  2. Write down the worst thing(s) that could happen if you did that thing.
  3. Write down what you could do to minimize the likelihood of each one of those things happening.
  4. Write down what you could do for each one of those things to get back to where you are now.

After going through the exercise myself, I realized that the things I thought were my worst-case scenarios weren’t actually that bad (side note: they never are).

And, even if they were less than ideal, I had a way to handle them if they ever became reality and quickly get back to where I was.

Next time you’re facing a challenge or crossroads, try this Fear Setting approach and, just as I did, you’ll realize that your problems may not be as bad as you think.


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