It’s not so easy to set and meet goals. Miracle and success stories aren’t meant for everyone… right? I can attest to the fact that getting from point A to point B is not as easy as connecting two dots. There’s so much fear! Not just to acting on your dreams, but to dreaming at all! If it really were that easy, I would’ve set many more goals in the past 10 years. Having received a Ph.D., passed exam after exam, and gained licensure to practice in two states, many people seem to be impressed and believe it comes easily for me to set and meet goals. However, only a small number of people actually know that my degrees are actually somewhat of a shameful reminder for me. To be quite frank, the major reason I was able to receive all of my degrees was because I was paralyzed by fear. I had an overwhelming fear of sitting down and reflecting on what I really wanted to do with my life – what was my life purpose? If I set my life purpose but wanted to change directions (like I always do), would I be a failure? I decided that the best way to avoid this fear of failure was to just keep doing what I knew how to do well – reading textbooks, passing exams, running studies. Thus, it can be really easy to see that my Ph.D. and M.A. degrees just remind me of a cowardly choice I took to be inactive in directing my own life story.
The reason I share this with all of you is to encourage you to take a step into your fear. Your life doesn’t have to be mediocre or unsatisfying. You don’t have to follow conventional steps in living your life. As Tony Robbins says, you need to dance with your fear. Use the energy that is created from your fear to direct your own life. How can we harness this energy?
- Understand that this, too, shall pass. Whatever emotions you feel – fear, shame, anxiety – it all passes. Once it does pass, however, all you have left is what came of it. Will you let this day, and the next, pass you by because you want to avoid the emotions that come with making scary decisions? If you play it safe now, you’ll never have this moment back to act from your heart.
- Worst case, best case scenario. Evolved from our ancestors and their way of living, our brains are still running on hardware that is thousands of years old. Because of that, we have a negative bias – a tendency to notice what might be wrong (which kept our ancestors safe). Today, we don’t have the same threats that render us dead or alive within moments if we fail to notice these threats. We might not be able to change our hardware but we can download more relevant software. Play the worst case scenario to prepare you – but don’t neglect to play the best case scenario too. Know what you’d be missing if you didn’t take the leap (the best case scenario of making a decision). This really gives you the fuel to initiate momentum, the hardest part of making a decision.
- You’re not on your own. When you begin to understand that this life isn’t your own, following your passions become so much easier. Whatever your religious or spiritual beliefs, we are each here because of someone(thing) greater than us, who believed we were worth this life. Your desires, when it aligns with the greater good, pulls you towards experiencing and mastering this life. You’re not on your own. Your desires are not your own – this world needs your contributions. If you’re not quite there where you believe you’re worth it, understand this; this world, this life, is worth it and needs your contributions.
What are your thoughts on harnessing your fear? Leave questions or comments below.