If You Can Count to 5, You Can Change Your Life

by Megan Taylor

I bet you’ve heard this before: “everything you’ve ever wanted is on the other side of fear”, did you know that there’s actually a ton of truth in that statement? Take a moment and think about the things you want in your life. What do you dream about? Where does your mind go when you just let it wander? What are the things you hold back from saying, doing, or pursuing in your life? Now, take a moment and consider the commonality that stops you from doing, dreaming, and working towards those things. It all boils down to fear. Fear of failing, fear of saying or doing something others might find to be dumb, fear of letting others down. This fear is paralyzing, it cripples you from the inside out and forces you into the safety net where your dreams and goals are simply that, dreams that won’t ever be realized or acted upon.

I’m going to let you in on my secret weapon for combatting fear, for putting dreams and goals into action, and for living life to the fullest. You ready for it? Here it is: 5,4,3,2,1, GO.

You might think I'm crazy, and you may be right, but this little countdown trick called the “5 second rule” is a game changer. I’m serious! I have spent 90% of my life living in fear. I was hiding in this shell of a normal life with a 9-5 job where I cleaned the house and did the dishes because that’s what, as a woman, I am supposed to do, and if I just stayed in that safety net, everything would be ok. I hated my job, felt that I had no voice, was unhappy with how I looked and felt, and was slowly destroying myself from the inside out with the negative self-talk and self-destructive mindset. I didn’t feel empowered to ask for things I wanted, I didn’t have any goals I was working towards, and I wasn’t happy in my own skin. Then, one day, I happened upon an interview on the School of Greatness podcast between Lewis Howes and Mel Robbins and it changed my life. Mel started by saying that “our thoughts are either the killers of our dreams or our biggest cheerleaders”; I paused the interview and thought for a good ten minutes about my self-talk and realized how destructive and unproductive it was. The things you say in your mind become your reality so by continually telling yourself “you’re fat”, “you aren’t good enough”, “you probably can’t achieve that”, those words will slowly become your truth.

Mel’s “five second rule” is focused on changing your life 5 seconds at a time. You can change your life in 5 seconds by taking those moments where you are scared to speak up in a meeting, confront your spouse about something that is bothering you, change the self-talk in your mind, or really any other decision where you lean into the fear and do that thing that scares you instead of backing into the safety net and doing or saying nothing. These small, five second moments will grow and evolve and strengthen until your confidence develops. By discovering your truth, by leaning into fear, you become the person you want to be and you allow yourself to make choices on how you want to live instead of allowing fear to run your life. By “hearing your truth and speaking it no matter how your voice shakes”, you take ownership of your life and open the doors to endless possibilities.

How do you start? You 5,4,3,2,1 and go! The next time you are faced with something that makes you uncomfortable, instead of going into that autopilot mode you change the gear into drive and count backward in your head, 5,4,3,2,1, and then you move. You aren’t going to feel like doing it, you’ll probably start sweating, and you may even feel a little nauseous, but the point is that you are doing it. You are moving into the fear, you are conquering self-doubt, and more importantly, you are proving that you are worthy of your dreams. You only have one life so lean into the things that scare you, go for it, and prove to yourself that you can accomplish the dreams and goals you’ve set for yourself.

I started using the five second rule three months ago and I can honestly say that I am a changed woman. When negative self-talk creeps up I 5,4,3,2,1 and switch my mindset to something more positive, when there is something at work that I want to achieve I 5,4,3,2,1 and ask the question, or start the project, or initiate the change to make that goal happen. This rule can be applied to any area of your life: work, school, parenting, self-care, friendships, romantic relationships, business decisions, literally anywhere that you are forced to make decisions, this rule can be applied. Whenever you feel that instinct to act, you need to lean into it and move towards that instinct. It may sound like a simple rule but it does not mean that it is an easy rule! It’s easy to continue with your job instead of asking your boss for a promotion, it’s easy to roll over and go to sleep instead of asking your spouse to be intimate with you, it’s easy to tell yourself you look fat in that new dress you just bought instead of being confident in the hard work you’ve put in at the gym, and it’s easy to let life pass you by instead of putting in the work to make your dreams a reality. Life really could be an easy walk in the park, but is that really going to satisfy you at the end of the day? The worst thing that could happen is someone says “no”. That’s it! Your job won’t disappear because you go out on a limb and ask for a raise, your spouse won’t divorce you because you ask them to be intimate with you, your friends won’t make fun of you for looking amazing in a dress even if you don’t quite believe you can pull it off. The world will not end and the sun will come up tomorrow. You simply need to get out of your head long enough to move into the scary, uncertain territory of something new. You do that by going 5,4,3,2,1 MOVE.

Everything you’ve ever wanted really is on the other side of fear and the awesome part is now you know how to get to the other side. Check out Mel Robbin’s book “The Five Second Rule” and her interview on the School of Greatness podcast here and start changing your life today.