Fear. That stifling, deafening, defeating feeling of paralysis.
You can’t do anything. It keeps you from proposing to your partner, deciding to quit your tedious job, or applying for your dream job. It keeps you from climbing the mountain, going bungee jumping, or scuba diving.
But does fear always have to limit you?
Wait, Should I Settle?
A dear friend once begged me, as I was driving him to the airport to send him on his way to live in a new country, “whatever you do, promise me you won’t settle.”
What he meant by this was the decision to settle down and getting complacent might feel good for the moment. However, long-term, it’s dangerous for the mind. It’s the exact opposite of growth and fulfillment.
So how do we know we’re settling then? By the absence of fear in the room.
How Can Fear Help?
What if fear could be a compass towards growth and fulfillment?
Even at the most primal level of evolution, fear typically leads to an outburst of action, like running or screaming…or building a business for those fearing 9-5. How come in modern-day life, we allow that very same feeling to keep us from going after our dreams?
Somewhere in the last century, society has rocked us to sleep to the monotonous tone of the lie of “the fear of the unknown.” It sounds something like this:
“You might fail.”“It might not work.” “You’re not trained to do this.”“What if they laugh at you and don’t take you seriously?!”
See, I’m selling my apartment and packing my backpack to embark on an indefinitely long journey around the world. As in two months here, three months there, a month over there.
Here are some reactions from my dear friends and supporters: “That’s amazing!” “Congratulations, I’m so happy for you!”, “I’m glad you’re taking the plunge and following your dreams.”
But then there are those: “I can’t believe you’re attempting to make travel plans amidst a pandemic!” “Isn’t that expensive?!” “Some countries throw you in jail if you don’t do your taxes properly!”
Wow. Just to be clear: One can travel safely during a pandemic, just travel slowly and research properly. Full-time travel can actually be less expensive than keeping an apartment while going on trips. I’ve got my tax-butt covered, thanks very much.
The truth is that YES! You might, in fact, fail!
And if you do, you’ll learn and grow I’ll applaud you for having tried–and learned and grown along the way.
Life is all about choices. Either you let fear make you live a life in the context of “If only I had…, but I was too scared to…” Or you make fear your compass to growth and blissful fulfillment by leaning in every time she walks through the door in her cute dress.
Transforming Your Connection With Fear
Moment of transparency: My fear, I call her Tink -–is literally sitting on my chair situated below my 3×4’ world map. My fear and I -–we’re not besties. We’re partners. Her presence means I’m growing, I’m getting out of my comfort zone and generating happiness and inspiration from the inside out.
The moment I stop feeling fear, I know I’ve settled. Its presence, therefore, must mean I’m still on a journey of growth, fulfillment, and bliss– all the way to Neverland. I better keep Tink entertained then.
Well, happiness and growth are directly correlated. One could even say, growth, coquettishly dressed as fear, causes happiness. So why not pick up fear and engage her as your tour guide through life – for happiness’ sake?
Next destination? Let’s just say: “second star to the right, and straight on till morning.”
So next time you feel fearful, welcome fear in, make her a cup of coffee, and ask her:
“What are you here to show me?” “How are you serving me?”
You might be surprised by the answer.