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WYLD STALLYNS! – Managing fear

Remember the old classic 80’s flick Bill and Teds Excellent Adventure?

I revisit this film every now and again, just for that nostalgic feeling and to listen to the old soft metal soundtrack. It takes me right back to 8-year-old me pumping these bodacious tunes through the futuristic technology of a cassette Walkman. Those were the days….

What was the name of the band that Bill and Ted formed?

When I watched it this time around heard them call out the name of their band with passion and pride and that cool dude rock band attitude it struck a chord with me. I will tell you why…

I have been developing my relationship with fear and how it affects me. I have been observing my actions when confronted with it and learning how to treat fear as a companion rather than an enemy.

Leading up to a significant event like public speaking for example, my mind can fill up with all kinds of chatter. It can snowball and before you know it I have imagined a potential outcome that is as far from reality as Earth is from the microwave background. “What if I trip over a wire and fall flat on my face?” “What if I completely forget what I’m going to say?” I refer to this inner chatter as my “wild stallions” and in my mind, they are breaking into a gallop and its time to reign them in.

It doesn’t take long to start imagining a reality that’s not so different from a dream or a nightmare. So how can I stop my wild stallions before they freeze me on the spot and stop me from performing?

I have come up with a four-step process that will stop these WYLD STALLYNS from gaining momentum (this all becomes dialogue in my mind):

Step 1. Recognise it and stop

First you need to recognise it and have a trigger word or sentence to snap you out of it, I say to my self in the voice of Bill and Ted (yes this is happening inside my head) “WYLD STALLYNS!!” Maybe even throw the guitar sound in there too.

By simply alerting yourself to the fact that this is happening and recognising that it is happening can really help control it.

Step 2. Hit the reset button

Having a statement that can bring about some perspective like “ All we are is dust in the wind dude” profoundly stated by Ted after a conversation with the ancient philosopher Socrates or So-Crates where he points out that “Like sands of the hour glass so are the days of our lives.”

Take a step back. Ask your self are my thoughts becoming dream like? Stop wasting valuable time and energy on these thoughts right now and get back in the game.

Step 3. Back to the moment

The language in our mind is important for overcoming fear and being able to keep this herd of wild beasts at bay. Use a simple statement to snap you back into the moment and completely reject the madness that was about to happen.

I use these two clearly understated and under celebrated phrases from Bill and Ted “Party on dude” and “be excellent to each other”. This helps remind me of my values and remember to show love to everyone especially to myself.

Step 4. Reflect

“So it was me who stole my Dads Keys” At this point in the film Bill and Ted realise that they actually have the power to think things into reality. By reflecting on their actions that landed them in a jail cell, they decided that later they would go back in time and steal the keys.

By reflecting on the situation and writing it down I learn from it and thus give myself the best chance of it not happening again in the future. Just like Ted planning to go and steal his Dads keys and plant them so they can escape I can now escape my own time travelling prison cell.

There are two ways that these WYLD STALYNS come into existence in the first place – depressive thoughts of regret from an event in the past or anxiety induced predictions of a future event. So instead of allowing myself to time travel and mess with timelines I prefer to stay just where I am – in the moment.

Obviously, I have made this model fit the movie for an entertaining read (I hope), but what four step model can you think of to reign your own time travelling WYLD STALYNS in?

Be excellent to each other and Party on dudes!

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