I recently spent a week in California attending a conference and then a private retreat with my personal coach. And we talked about one major topic at both (unrelated) events: getting rid of fear.
Why getting rid of fear? Because if we let fear stop us, then we get nowhere.
See, there’s two major ways that fear can hit us when it comes to achieving our goals and building the lives we want to be living.
First, sometimes we’re afraid to even set goals.
I mean, what if we set goals for ourselves, and then we don’t succeed? How disappointed would we be? How devastating?
So we dream small. And we feel stuck and unhappy.
Which then becomes a vicious cycle, because when we’re afraid to dream and we therefore feel stuck, that feeling stuck can lead to more unhappiness and depression, which can lead to more feeling stuck and being afraid to dream.
And so it continues.
The other way fear can hit us is that maybe we have those big dreams. For me, I wanted to be able to travel full time, write books, and be a coach.
And yet, fear held me back.
Who was I to do that? What if I tried and failed? What if we ended up homeless, my kids would starve, and it would have all been for nothing?
Oh yeah, been there.
Fear is one of the biggest reasons we don’t achieve our dreams.
But here’s the thing.
The fear isn’t going anywhere.
I am living a completely different life than I was 4 years ago. And yet, I still regularly worry about my kids. I still regularly worry about making a mistake.
That’s never going to stop.
But it doesn’t matter. We have to proceed anyway.
Because here’s the thing.
If you let fear hold you back, then you’re literally achieving exactly what you were AFRAID of achieving.
If you want a different life but you’re worried that you’ll fail and so you do nothing, then nothing will ever change.
If you want a different career but won’t even try because you might not succeed, then you’re going to be stuck where you are.
But… here’s the catch.
What if you succeed? What then?
Actually, fear of success can be as big of a problem as fear of failure.
Because success means stepping outside of your comfort zone. And your comfort zone has been keeping you safe.
You’re comfort zone is just that. Comfortable.
And sometimes it’s easier to remain comfortable in a known setting than to get uncomfortable in a new setting.
Even if that new setting might just turn out to be freaking amazing.
But it’s unknown and scary until we’re living it. Right?
Once upon a time, I was scared to move forward. I was scared of failing.
But I was even more afraid of success.
Ever since I was a kid, I had known I wanted to be a veterinarian. That was always known. I wanted to be a vet, I stayed on that path until I achieved my goal, and that was what I was living.
I hadn’t expected it to make me miserable.
But despite how trapped and unhappy I felt, it was still familiar. If I stepped out of that career, if I went after my other dreams, I might fail.
If I failed, no one would even know. My friends and family didn’t necessarily have to know if I tried to publish a book and no one bought it. They didn’t have to know if I couldn’t get coaching clients.
But if I succeeded? They would know.
My dad would know that I didn’t want to be a vet anymore (and he was the one who was always so proud of me for going to veterinary school). He would know that I wanted a different life. So I would face disappointing him.
And I would be visible. If I became the next JK Rowling (my dream even before she had published her first book… if I had known who she was…), then everyone would see me. I would be recognized by people walking down the street.
And those things scared me worse.
But here’s the thing. I’m not the next JK Rowling (yet!), but I am writing my first book. I do have coaching clients. My dad knows all of this, that I don’t just want to be a vet (turns out I wasn’t ready to leave the field entirely, after all). And I do sometimes get recognized walking down the street (that’s just a side effect of being a vet in a small town, after all).
And I survive.
In fact, it’s amazing. This life is so much better than I dreamed it could be.
I have the best of all worlds. I work at clinics, keeping my hands on the animals. I’m writing, and I’m helping women improve their lives and be happier, like I’ve always wanted.
And I survived.
But I had to take that first step.
What’s holding you back? What have you not yet tried because of fear?
PS. This month I’m doing a free workshop on relinquishing fear in my Facebook group (Feb 28th at 6 pm MST). So if you haven’t joined already, make sure you join us soon!
PPS. We also have a free 5 day challenge starting on February 4th! To learn more about that, you can go here.
Know someone who could use this article? Feel free to forward it! Thank you for helping me create a world of happier vets!