"Sometimes you gotta get through your fear to see the beauty on the other side." - The Good Dinosaur
Fear. Such a "hot" theme on the Internet these days. Everyone and their grandmother is talking about how to banish fear, how to stop being afraid and just do it already. People are talking about how you'll never accomplish anything if you're living in fear. How you need to overcome it.
But I've got news for you. You probably should be afraid. Because your dreams and your goals are BIG. You won't settle for anything less. I see you.
The problem is that fear is absolutely paralyzing. I get that. Right now I am sitting here writing this post with tears in my eyes because I know what it's like to not work because you're afraid of what might happen when you do. Afraid of failure. Afraid of success. Afraid of never getting there. Afraid of not making a difference. I'm sitting here writing this post with tears in my eyes because I'm afraid. I'm afraid that my family will never be able to afford to buy a house, one of my driving motivations for years now. I'm afraid and I understand what it's like to not work because of that. But instead, I'm sitting here writing this, doing my work, in hopes that I will encourage you to recognize your fear and get through it. I don't want your journey to happiness or clarity or doing the work or YOUR WILDEST FREAKING DREAMS to take as long as mine has.
You need to embrace fear and then replace it with something better.
I love how Melyssa refers to fear as a liar. Fear is a negative and necessary emotion. Without fear, we wouldn't know when to actually run, ya know like, when a mountain lion chases you.
But when it comes to your dreams, if fear is your only driving emotion, running is an inevitability. That just isn't fair to you. Don't you dare run. Don't give up.
Let's walk through the four steps together to using your fear to motivate and inspire you, instead of holding you back.
> RECOGNIZE FEAR
The first step to recovery is to figure out that you're even afraid to begin with. It masks itself as insecurities and lies built up as truths within our internal story. Too many or not enough ideas? Fear. Feelings of extreme overwhelm? Fear. Are you feeling stuck? Fear and you probably need to focus. Worried that friends and family will disapprove or find your dreams and creative endeavors silly? Fear. Are you thinking about all the ways you might make a mistake or fail? Fear. Are you putting off your goals because you don't have enough knowledge or money or confidence? Fear.
Every time you think one of these things, slow down and recognize that this is just fear creeping in. These are lies and everyone has a different version of them swirling around in their head at one point or another.
> WHAT ARE YOU AFRAID OF?
Now, what are you afraid of? Try to identify what exactly it is that stops you in your tracks. What is that story fear is telling you?
Afraid to messing things up?
Afraid people will laugh at you?
Afraid no one will show up for you? No one will 'like' you?
Afraid you don't know enough?
Afraid of what will happen when you succeed?
Afraid to spend money? Or not have enough? Or to ask for it?
Afraid of all the work you have to do?
Afraid that you're just not enough?
> IDENTIFY WHY YOU FEEL IT
But why? Now you've identified your fear or fears (you're totally allowed more than one, or two, or three...), what is it about failure or money or people liking you is important to you? Why are you letting it bother you?
An example: One of my biggest fears is success. Oofta, right? It actually sounds unbelievably ridiculous when I say it out loud. I was a stay-at-home mom and a student before I chose to start a career, let alone a self-employed career. I have never experienced professional success in a traditional sense, so honestly, the idea of it gives me butterflies like it's the first day of college all over again.
Not to mention, as a stay-at-home mom, you spend every minute with your kids and you never miss anything, not a milestone, not a performance or game, not dinner and so the idea of sacrificing any of that for success scares me. I've let it hold me back, but I've set priorities in my life that protect me from that fear. And you can do that with your fear too.
> DECIDE IF IT'S WORTH IT
That's right. You get this choice. Is the beauty that you'll get to see on the other side worth it? If you don't chase that dream, what will that do to you? Will you feel guilty? How will you feel if in a year you are still in the same spot you are today? Is this silly little lie not worth pursuing your dreams?
I can tell you this: No matter what the outcome, it will never be worth it to let fear hold you back from pursuing something you love. So what if it doesn't work out. This is your life, your dream, your passion and it deserves the time and space to figure that out for itself. But you get to decide - is it worth it?
> USE THE FEAR
I'm so glad you decided that it's worth it, but I know that doesn't make the fear go away. That's okay, you need it. You need it deep down in your gut to motivate you, to let you know what you are going to get out of it. If you are afraid of not having enough money, use that fear to motivate you to learn how to sell in a way that is comfortable for you and to create products others can't resist. If failure is your fear, recognize that giving up is a bigger failure than doing something and having it not work out. Beyond creating your art, you are also going to bulldoze through fear. You are going to understand what it feels like to put your fears to the side in favor of something better. You are going to have replaced fear with dreams. You are going to have the confidence in knowing that you put your aspirations up on a pedestal and then you climbed up there to be with them. Dreams > Fears. Always.