Fear is a healthy thing.
It’s what kept us from being eaten by tigers in early centuries, and it keeps you from doing triple backflips off bridges because you want to be 20 bucks richer. However, fear can’t be a figurative ball and chain around your ankle, ensuring you never push onto newer, greater things.
Understanding your fears, managing your fears, and being willing to push past them to new, exciting, and rewarding opportunities is what results in a life you can truly enjoy.
Most of us don’t even realize that we shut down endless ideas, dreams, passions and desires on a semi-conscious level, all because of fear. So how about taking a big magnifying glass and looking our fears in the eye? Shall we begin?
Breaking out of your Comfort Zone
By not branching out of your Comfort Zone, you’re losing the potential for so much more, so you need to be careful of what you’re willing to sacrifice to stay. I know I’d rather stay wrapped up in my blankets watching reruns of Sex and the City (yes, cheesy choices, shoot me!), but taking your first tentative steps outside of your Comfort Zone is what will drive you towards success.
It can be scary, but it’s important to get out of your Comfort Zone and test the waters.
Here’s the exciting news: the Comfort Zone is like a muscle. You can work out, follow a regime, and – BOOM – it gets bigger, allowing you to try and dare more things. If you don’t take action and push yourself out there, your Comfort Zone is going to stay a miniscule dot – when, in reality, it has the potential of a giant ocean so you can shine and show your awesomeness!
The Fear of Losing
The Fear of Failure often overshadows the Hope of Gaining, because, let’s face it, there are a lot more people willing to detail what could go wrong rather than what could go right. As someone who has tried a little bit of everything, believe me, I get the feeling on a deep, profound level.
However, overcoming the Fear of Losing is a matter of managing your uncertainties and accepting what could come. Maybe that new contact will laugh in your face and tell you to look elsewhere. Ouch!
Oprah Winfrey was told she “wasn’t fit for television” and was fired from her position as a TV reporter; now she’s one of the most recognizable TV personalities in the entire world. It’s important to manage these “losses” and look at the bigger picture; just because they said it, doesn’t mean it’s true.
Want more? There is actually a very decent chance that this new contact of yours will not laugh in your face. In fact, chances are they’ll be flattered by your approach and be more than happy to assist you as you strive for your passion. With their advice and guidance, you can grow from the experience and grow your awesomeness 99%.
“I’m a fraud” – a.k.a. the Impostor Syndrome
Ever hear “You’re your own worst enemy?” It’s because you can’t exactly delete your mind’s contact information if it treats you badly; and most people give that “little voice” in the back of their head more credit than it deserves.
Many high-achieving people – and, statistically, most high-achieving women – find it difficult, if not impossible, to internalize their accomplishments. Even when external evidence proves their competence, they can’t take mental credit or even recognize the magnitude of their achievements.
Sheryl Sandberg, Tina Fey and many other super successful women — we think we don’t stand a chance when compared with them, right? Wrong!
The key here is: feel it for a moment, acknowledge what it is, then shake it off! It’s just your own mind playing tricks on you. It’s not humble to think less of your accomplishments – it’s self-depreciation, and it holds you back from pursuing your goals with passion.
The Common Wisdom Fear
It’s natural to want to be a part of the herd, and the best way to stay a part of a herd is by not being the weakest link – a.k.a. “doing life wrong.” But if you’re passionate about something not quite as traditionally prestigious, it’s easy to feel like you’re the weakest link; not making much, and not accomplishing much.
So when people ask “what do you do for a living?” the fear that they won’t approve often drives you to avoid the conversation, dodge answering directly, or not own up to exactly what you do. I’ve done my fair share of each! But here’s the solution: slip out of that social noose. This is the perfect time to make a change to your perspective as well as your career.
Our passions (and there are many!) are the pillars of our identities, and the faster you accept and embrace them, the more in touch you’ll be with who you are and what you want to be.
Here’s the good news: most of the time, you’ll find a positive reaction. It’s easy to imagine everyone else as a faceless audience waiting to criticize you, but in reality, almost everyone is just like you. Better yet, they’ll likely respect your courage in taking ownership of your position and – most importantly – your life. That’s what everyone wants, though their fears hold them back, and you’re pushing through. That makes you an inspiration!