There’s something quite extraordinary about conquering fears. If you’ve ever conquered one, then you know it doesn’t feel that good leading up to the experience because you’re thinking about all the negative things that could possibly go wrong. But once you’ve done it, in addition to the sense of relief that it’s over, you also feel a sense of accomplishment because you proved to yourself hey, I just did something amazing here!
A friend of mine recently conquered her fear of heights by jumping out of a plane at 13,000 feet over The Palm in Dubai. She said there definitely was an urge to back out at the last minute, and she screamed her head off for the first 60 seconds or so on the way down in complete fear. But once that parachute opened, and she began to glide in the air as if she were flying and she was able to see all the magnificence of the world below, the reward suddenly became greater than the risk.
Now I can’t say that I’ll ever jump out of a perfectly good airplane to conquer my own fear of heights (my bravery has limits), but I do know what it feels like to feel the fear of doing something completely out of my comfort zone, moving forward anyway, and feeling pretty darn good about it afterwards. I’ll tell you from experience, it’s an even greater feeling when that thing you accomplish is tied to your purpose and it just got you one step closer.
I believe there are healthy things in life to fear, such as being pursued by a dangerous animal that threatens to harm you or being in the bulls eye of a natural catastrophe like a tornado or wildfire. Healthy fear teaches us to run and get out of harm’s way. But honestly, most of the fears we experience in life are those that are non-life-threatening and most unfortunate, self-induced. When we look at the scripture below that clearly states God did not give us a spirit of fear, we must consider its origins.
As a follow up to my last blog about that Abundant Life, I believe the biggest travesty is when we let those self-induced fears stop us from ultimately doing what we were put on this Earth to do. Some of us have stories to share, businesses to create, books to write and people to help, but we aren’t doing it because we’re afraid of what it will require of us to make it happen.
I’ll use myself as an example. Since I was in grade school I’ve loved to write – music, poetry, papers, even meeting notes (don’t judge me). I ultimately started a career in public relations, where I’ve done a lot of writing, but I always said to myself some day I’d like to write a book. Some day I’ll start a blog. Some day I’ll write music again. You know what kept me procrastinating for years, thus paralyzing me in the process? Fear. It was the fear of potentially being overwhelmed and not being able to fit it all into my busy schedule of commitments. My biggest concern was, what if I start it and I’m not able to follow through? This is otherwise known as a fear of failure.
I believe that is the biggest fear that paralyzes us. The “what ifs” keep us in bondage and for many, subject them to a life of mediocrity. Those “what ifs” and “some days” give us permission to procrastinate and create excuses that hold us hostage.
The sad part about all of it is, we are fearing something that doesn’t even exist. I think one of the greatest acronyms ever created was the one defining FEAR: False Evidence Appearing Real. It’s a nasty perception that we’ve just got to face and conquer if we want to do anything great in life. And chances are, even if we do “fail” at whatever we set out to accomplish, it’s usually not as bad as our minds created it to be. My experience has been, even when I have failed at something I was afraid to do and did it anyway, I still felt a sense of accomplishment and pride afterwards. I also learned some valuable lessons, which are priceless.
So here a few things to consider when it comes to breaking the hold of fear in our lives.
- Ask yourself, what is that thing I think about daily or most of the time that I’d like to do but haven’t done yet? Chances are, if you are procrastinating on doing something that consumes your thoughts, there is a fear in the way and it’s time to conquer it.
- Write down up to five of the worst things that could happen from you doing that thing. Conversely, write down five of the best things that could happen from you doing that thing. Honestly consider if the bad things outweigh the good things. If they don’t, it’s time to put on your big boy or girl pants and get to moving.
- Imagine the best-case scenario of doing that thing you fear. Write about it, speak on it, visualize it by adding it to your vision board. The more you fill your head with what you desire versus what you don’t desire, the more comfortable you will become with making it happen. And the law of attraction is real, I might add.
You know what happened when I got out of my comfort zone and just went for it and started to write? Nothing Earth shattering honestly. I didn’t die. There were no eggs thrown at my head. I also didn’t receive a medal or a call from Oprah’s people asking me to appear on her next show or write a guest feature in her magazine.
But something extraordinary really did happen. I proved to myself that I could do that thing that I was afraid of doing. Then I did it again, and again, and I started to get better at it. I started to receive testimonials about how something I wrote helped someone in some way. I can’t even tell you how much self-confidence that gave me. But honestly it wouldn’t have happened if I hadn’t taken that first step. And you won’t know what you’re capable of either if you don’t take yours. So I’m here to tell you, it’s OK to be afraid. Just feel the fear and do it anyway.