What are you afraid of?

by | Jan 3, 2020 | Articles, Personal

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What are you afraid of? What’s keeping you stuck?

This is the start of a new year and a new decade and I’ve got some BIG goals. But have you ever felt like you set your sights so high you were afraid to tell anyone about it?

The last time I felt like that was last year.

I started riding my bike with a friend very casually, here and there, just for fun. But after a few months I realized I wanted to do something WAAAYYY bigger. Why? For me. I guess to prove to myself that I could. That I could achieve a big goal.

But I didn’t want to tell anyone.

I was afraid to. I was afraid friends would look at me and say, “You?, You’re not capable of that! You’ve never done anything remotely athletic!”

And some people did react that way. But, they didn’t stop me from training… or trying. As a matter of fact, I think it made me work harder.

There were other people of course that responded with awe. “You want to do what?! That’s incredible! Good for you!”

So what’s different now?

I have three kinda big things I’d like to accomplish, let’s just say, this quarter. But I find myself brought to a standstill from fear. Fear that no one will want to participate. Fear that it won’t be good. Fear that it will be a flop. All this emotion and it’s only day 3 of a new year!

In her book, Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway, Susan Jeffers talks about the five truths of fear and that recognizing them can help you move forward despite the presence of fear.

1.The fear will never go away as long as I continue to grow. Well amen to that! I am a life-long learner and always strive to grow both personally and professionally. So I guess I just have to get comfortable with fear.

2. The only way to get rid of the fear of doing something is to go out and do it. When we try anything new there is always the risk that we won’t be great at it the first time. I remember how hard it was for me to clip in when I was learning how to ride. I wrote about it here. Now I can’t imagine riding without them. Though I know this to be true, I find it hard to put my creative work out there for scrutiny by others.

3. The only way to feel better about myself is to go out… and do it. Trying new things builds confidence. And confidence gives you the desire to try new things. They feed each other and make you feel good as a result. This makes me think of the movie I Feel Pretty with Amy Schumer. In it, she believes she is seeing a different version of herself, one that she’s always strived for, that gives her the confidence to do just about anything! And she does! Sometimes I just want to wake up feeling like a female version of Richard Branson with the confidence that I CAN DO ANYTHING!

4. Not only am I going to experience fear whenever I’m on unfamiliar territory, but so is everyone else. Well, misery does love company! But seriously, it’s good to know I’m not the only one that struggles with fear. It’s just that we’re all afraid of different things. So when I say I want to be like Richard Branson, I don’t know what his fears are, but I’m sure he’s got ’em. He’s just better at managing them.

With all this talk about fear you may be wondering, like I was, why not just live as I do? Is it so bad? Why do I need to strive for something more? Isn’t what I have enough?

I think if you’re a life-long learner committed to personal and professional growth, it’s hard to say, “I’m good. Right here. I don’t need to accomplish anything else.” I guess I feel like when we say that, we’re done.

And, like Maslow’s heirarchy of needs, as we master one level, we level up. We have to, there is no choice to stay at the same level once it’s been mastered. It’s like a video game. When you master a level the game just continues. And… you’re faced with new fears.

And this brings us to the fifth truth of fear….

5. Pushing through fear is less frightening than living with the underlying fear that comes from a feeling of helplessness. I might add here the pain of knowing you are not living up to your potential. That’s it. That’s the holy grail. The answer to the question of why not stop here is that we are meant to live up to our full potential or to keep trying no matter how long it takes.

What’s the saying, “nothing ventured, nothing lost”? Well, nothing ventured, nothing gained either. I mean, if you were on a game show and had the opportunity to spin the wheel and win a car, wouldn’t you spin the wheel? You may not win the car, but at least you tried.

I just heard an interview with James Clear, author of Atomic Habits and he said something that really resonated with me, maybe it will with you too. No effort is ever wasted. It takes an a certain temperature for an ice cube to start melting. You may not notice what’s happening between 25 degrees and 31 degrees, but as soon as you hit 32 degrees the ice cube begins to melt. If you didn’t attempt to melt the ice cube it would never change. If you attempted and didn’t see a difference you might lose desire to keep trying. Fear is going to be there all along until you see/feel a difference, gain the confidence, and level up.

What are you afraid of? What’s holding you back?

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