Fear is the number one deterrent to success, so why is it that we keep feeding into this belief that we are not good enough to do just that: succeed? Why does fear control so much of what we do in our lives, and how do we go about ever facing them? Well first, you must put a name to what your fears really are. When you do this, you will find that most of those fears you hold so close to you, are all just something you have created in your mind. Most of the time, fears tend to be our mental worst case scenarios vs. what we are actually capable of doing.
Let me be clear, I am not referring to fear of heights, spiders, death, or any other scientifically named phobia that you can think of. I am simply talking about the fears that hold us back from our true potential; the ones we tell ourselves, and the ones that keep us feeling ‘safe’. One of my favorite quotes was said by Benjamin Franklin, “Most people die at 25 and aren’t buried until they’re 75.” I like to think he was referring to fear when he said this because unfortunately, this quote has a lot of truth behind it. Just because we are alive, does not mean that we are living. When we find ourselves questioning if there is more, the answer is always YES, and the solution to that will always begin with YOU. The worst thing in life isn’t fear; the worst thing in life is believing in it.
This is what fear does. It keeps us in jobs that we hate because we question being able to find something “better” so we settle for the comfortable life; the one that pays the bills, but offers us no fulfillment. Fear keeps us holding onto relationships that should have ended a long time ago, but we worry that we won’t be able to find someone else. It keeps us in the same spot because we fear the unknown and it is much easier to stay in place than it is to take the risk of moving somewhere new, or trusting what we do not know. Fear keeps our anxieties alive and it convinces us that we are not good enough to move forward from the thoughts in our head. If fear had its way, there wouldn’t be anyone in this world succeeding, and that is a world that I do not want to be a part of.
FEAR IS A LIAR. Period.
Fear used to be my best friend, and my biggest crutch. I had somehow convinced myself that fear was just looking out for me and that it would keep me safe. Keep me safe from what exactly? I am not sure, but looking back, the only thing it was keeping me from, was my full potential. Fear was that bad guy on my shoulder, whispering into my ear, “You are not good enough.” And for a long time, I listened to that voice that was keeping me small, and I ignored my gut instinct to do more, be more, and become more. Fear had me convinced that this was the life I was supposed to be leading, and I am glad that I stopped listening to the lies that it was telling me.
Fear kept me in a job for 3 years too long, and it held me back from updating my resume because I had thought there was no point in trying for something more. I was in a management position at the age of 23, and that was good enough for me at the time. It wasn’t until I actually wrote down my professional accomplishments that I began to see that I was settling for a job that could only take me so far. I stopped listening to fear, and I started applying for jobs that I could grow in, because WHY NOT? Don’t settle for a paycheck; want more for your life than just something to pay your bills.
Fear kept me in a relationship that ended two years prior because I didn’t want to accept the fact that there may be other people out there for me. I just couldn’t fathom the possibility of a ‘greater love story’ than the one that was no longer current in my life. This is, unfortunately, something I see within too many people. Don’t allow fear to convince you that you have already met who you are meant to be with. Know this: certain things end because there is a new beginning out there for you. You may not know it yet, but believing in the unknown is always better than trusting your fear.
Fear kept me drinking and drugging. Until I made the choice to walk away from the toxic in my life, I was never able to see just how close of friends fear and toxic were. Walking away from anything is hard to do, but facing my fear of sobriety is what ended up being the one thing that saved me from myself. I am not saying that you need to make the choice to become sober, I am just saying that it is important to get honest with yourself about what is truly holding you back.
Fear kept me from taking chances. I had always talked about moving to a new city, and starting a new life, but fear was always there to tell me that I wasn’t able to do that. I eventually ignored that voice, packed up my stuff, and moved to a new area code. It was scary sure, but it was also one of the best decisions I have ever made.
That fear I had about the unknown was only something I had kept alive. It was up to me to face them, and it was up to me to decide what I am capable of doing. The same thing goes for you. “Whether you think you can, or think you can’t, you are right.” Stop giving into the belief that you can’t. You will never know until you try.
There are still days where the fear is louder than others, and I am not saying that fear will go away completely. It is a defense mechanism that we use to protect ourselves, and there is such thing as a healthy amount of fear. We just need to distinguish the difference between our rational fears, and our irrational ones. Each day is a new opportunity to get out of your comfort zone, learn something different, meet someone new, and challenge ourselves to become better than we were yesterday. Don’t settle for the life that fear is trying to get you to live. The life you can imagine is right on the other side of that fence fear is separating you from.
Thank you for reading. I appreciate you.