We all know fear. It’s that deep and foreboding sense that triggers us to fight, freeze or flee. But fear isn’t all bad. It can actually help dictate the actions we take next. Often, it can nudge us from a space of comfort and complacency that stagnates our growth and progression.
All that you desire is on the other side of fear.
That quote reads excellently as a mantra, but it’s not so easy to apply as a daily principle. When anxiety and worry are whispering in your ear that you might not get that job promotion or you’re going to get fired or he/she is just not into you like that or you’re not good enough, those voices can drown out any positive axioms that you scribbled in your journal last night. But don’t succumb to that disquiet in your head.
Call it what it is. There is no shame in being afraid or possessing fear. It can be informative. It can tell us that we’re in danger or that something isn’t quite right, though sometimes those feelings are magnified and intensified by our imaginations and insecurities. Being able to discern fear from reality is a strength as much as being able to acknowledge that it exists. It is not the opposite of courage. They actually coexist and one feeds off of the other.
Speaking of courage — practice it. Courage is not the absence of fear, but the mastery over it (paraphrasing Mark Twain). If fear is of the unknown of what might happen, what better way to challenge that fog of possibility than to take action to make something happen. In other words, allow the fear to be present and keep moving forward. Be courageous. The key to growing is acknowledging fear and jumping in anyway. And don’t be afraid to fail.
Failing is not failure; failing is flourishing; while failure is final.
Allow me to be transparent for the sake of example. I have this condition that flares up at the most inconvenient of times as a result of fear. This condition is called Imposter Syndrome, which is a pervasive feeling of self-doubt or fraudulence despite an abundance of evidence to the contrary. It usually makes its unwelcome entry into my thoughts around the same time that something overwhelmingly good happens, like a new opportunity or some unexpected public acclaim. The foreboding feeling is that I’m not worth any of these things and I’m going to be found out as a fake. This is what fear does. But I recognize it for what it is and I remind myself of the truths that lead to my promotion or advancing. I also reflect on the past where I’ve been in similar circumstances of self-doubt. I didn’t spontaneously combust into flames from the public scorn of being a fake. I’ve worked hard and I’m no less deserving than anyone else who has done the same. Courage says, “here you grow again.”
Fear makes the wolf bigger than he is.