There is a German proverb that says “fear makes the wolf bigger than he is.”
I’ve said it before, we all have fears. Here is a list of the ten most common fears. Maybe you identify with a few of them too?
- Public Speaking
- The Dark
I don’t like public speaking, or spiders, at all! The gigantic potato bugs that I find floating in our pool freak me out too, but they didn’t make the list. (Admittedly, some fears are a bigger deal than others. Lol.) I know we’re not talking nail polish colors, or picking a new sofa here.
All joking aside; #fear often keeps people from reaching their full potential. Has this ever happened to you? In the last few years, fear of the unknown has kept me from taking needed steps forward in my life. It’s interesting to me that I do not consider myself a fearful person by nature. I embrace change and new experiences. I’ll try almost anything once, but there’s a difference.
So why do I hold myself back?
Variables. I can’t control the unknown variables involved with the big changes, and at this point in my life, time is a very valuable commodity to me. My career goals are a good example. Right now, I don’t have any. Why? In part, because uncertainty keeps me from diving into the water. I have a basic vision of what I want to accomplish, but I’m not sure how I want to get from point A to point B, and I don’t like the idea of trying and “failing” now that I am approaching mid-life. It’s a cyclical fear. I know I don’t need to have all the answers right away, but I don’t feel like I have time to waste. I want to dive in and love what I am doing until I can no longer do it, but I won’t know what that is until I dip my toes in the pool. In turn, I am sitting on the edge, wasting the time that is so valuable to me.
At the moment, my needs are pretty simple. I want to do something that is as fulfilling as raising my children was. (Frankly, I think I have earned that opportunity.) I also want to contribute financially to my household and realizing the goals my husband and I have for our future. I have taken the first step forward and returned to school, but I’ve yet to unlock the next door. It would appear that, besides #2 (public speaking) and #9 (spiders), I most directly relate to #7 (failure). If you haven’t read my previous post about my interests (read it here).
So how do I break the cycle? It’s not easy to let go of fear, especially our fear of the unknown. It takes practice. Often we manifest this fear because what is known to us is our safety net. Our brains create scenarios about all that can go wrong with the unknown. Kick off those cement shoes! Will there be setbacks? Maybe. Focusing on what “might” happen is not worth your energy. The truth is there is always another option. It might take some brainstorming to come up with solutions, but very rarely are you without choices.
Change is good and knowledge is power. Ask yourself what you’re really afraid of and then take the time to process the information. When you have a clear picture of your fears, it makes them easier to identify when they begin to infiltrate your thinking. Take a deep breath and LET THEM GO! You are in control of the outcome! Think about the positives. Not every step has to be dramatic, just keep moving forward. Focus on the big picture and the good that will come from making the changes you envision.
Do you need to make a change in your life? It was Sheryl Sandberg who said “So please ask yourself: What would I do if I weren’t afraid? And then go do it.”
So? What would YOU do if you weren’t afraid?