Updated June 2020
If I had to choose between jumping from a plane with no parachute or public speaking, please tell me what time that plane takes off because I’m jumping! How irrational is this fear? Yet it’s true, I hate public speaking. I don’t know why I am this way; it just is.
Sometimes fear can be legit and other times, fear can be completely irrational. Facing our fears means that we have to step out of our comfort zone. Why should we do something that makes us uncomfortable, especially when we have a choice to remain comfortable? Because all the super awesome, fabulous stuff is outside the comfort zone.
Achieving something that once made us afraid brings a sense of empowerment that we will never get from doing the mundane stuff. The fears that we have will keep holding us back, but only if we allow it to. It’s the stories we tell ourselves that limit our beliefs and actions.
Will you take the risk?
Most fears might be created because we don’t know what lies on the other side, we fear losing something valuable to us or the worst one, fear of judgment.
There are two types of people: the cautious and the risk-takers. I don’t know may risk-takers but I know many people who would rather be on the side of caution. Taking risks doesn’t mean that a person is irresponsible, I believe in calculated risks.
Let me give you an example. A few years ago I had a job I was unhappy in. Things got so bad and I resigned without a job. At the time, I still had my bills to pay which was stressful but I chose my happiness and sanity over an income.
The notice period that I had to work after resigning was two weeks. I used those two weeks to pack up my entire life and relocate 600km away from what I used to call home. My lasting working day was a Friday and the next Saturday morning, my car was packed and I took my 600km drive in search of a better life without knowing what lies on the other side.
Luck or karma was on my side because within the first week of relocating, I landed a great job with a great company. I learned a valuable life lesson by doing this. Too many times we hold ourselves back because we create possible scenarios of the outcome in our mind.
We get better at new skills by just doing it: stop reading about it and start doing it
I think the reward happens after a leap of faith is taken. Sometimes opportunities are right in front of us and we need to take them. When I left my job before relocating, I hade two choices, one: I could complain about the bills I still need to pay with no income OR two: ‘I could fly the plane while building it’ which means that we should not just think about doing something but rather start doing what needs to be done and make changes to the plan as you go along.
I am a ‘build the plane while flying it’ person because I believe that you don’t need to be an expert at anything to do it. If you put time and effort into developing a new skill, in time you will learn to do the skill well. But you can only get better at anything if you put in the effort.
It is natural to have fears but there are ways we can work around these fears, I prefer to take fears head-on but I also know that a lot of people prefer the safer route. Safe is great but safe is not where your full potential will be reached.
These are the most common fears:
Fear of rejection
Have you ever wanted to say something but was too afraid of the response? Maybe you wanted to tell someone how you really feel, but in your mind, you already formed their response to you. In my personal experience, those around me know that I am not afraid to speak my truth, not everyone likes it, but not everyone matters. The people that matter never mind when I speak my mind.
Fear of being alone
I know so many people who are afraid to be alone. There was a stage in my life where I was this person, I always had someone around. I know so many people who settle in life because they would rather have a sense of belonging than a sense of self-worth. Come on guys, this is your life so if it doesn’t feel right then don’t settle. You are given this one life, live it according to what makes you happy.
Fear of judgment
Fear of being judged is one of the top reasons why so many people don’t even start. Many people are too worried about the opinions of others. Friends and family will be the first to shoot your dreams down. You should not let this get to you. When I started my blog, I received mixed reactions. I realized that some people were just haters. A person doing more than you will never ridicule you because they are also busy with their own hustle. Remember that for someone to judge you, they need to take the time to pay attention to what you’re doing to judge you. If what you are trying to do isn’t great, why would anyone even waste their time watching what you’re doing in the first place?
Fear of losing control
Sometimes it’s just as important to let things be as it is to have control. For example, control could mean that we want a person to change because we don’t like their habits. Understand this: you can never change a person. People will only change if they want to. If you ever had a bad habit that you tried to stop, you will know how difficult change can be. If it is so hard to change your habits, trying to change or control a person will be almost impossible.
Fear of losing the ones we love
Death is something that none of us will escape. It is the sad reality of life. Appreciate the people we love and care for while they are still around. Intentionally create awesome memories now, while you can. One day these memories will be invaluable. Acknowledge your fear and find ways of coping with the fear of loss by practicing gratitude for who you still have around you now.
How to overcome your fears
Fear of rejection
When you know your worth, you know that when someone leaves or rejects you, it is their loss, not yours. You know what you bring to the table and if the other person couldn’t see that, you are far better off without the person in your life. You will come across many people in life who WILL love and appreciate you.
Fear of being alone
Being alone and being lonely are completely different. You can be alone but also be completely happy. You can be in a crowd and still be lonely. People often confuse being alone with being lonely. I found that the times I felt lonely were when I felt like nobody understood me or acknowledged my feelings. This is why I am working so hard on letting go of outside validation. I don’t need to be understood anymore. As long as I understand and acknowledge my own feelings, thoughts and actions, I will always be happy alone.
Fear of judgment
Earlier I mentioned that people will take the time to watch what you’re doing just so that they can judge you. Imagine if you posted something on social media and people judged you instead of being supportive, this might get to you on some level. But who cares what they think, you are taking actions in your life by posting on social media or doing things that develop your skills. A person who is also putting effort into their own life will not have the time to judge you. I assure you that if you look at all those people who are judging you, those are the people who are already below you. Those are the people with small minds that thrive on external validation because internally, they are empty.
I know it’s not easy, but don’t be crippled by your fears Don’t live the same day over and over again and call it your life. There is so much more waiting on the other side when you discover just how capable you are.