Part two of a three part series on fear [1,470 wds]
Have you ever wanted to accomplish something but never had the courage to do it? Do you have a dream or a fantasy in the back of your mind that you just can’t get to? You have probably made all the excuses in the world as to why you shouldn’t or couldn’t do it. Is it because you are too busy with other things in life (kids, career, spouse, sports) and don’t have the time to dedicate to it? Have you accepted that it’s a dream and you will never accomplish it?
Just know this: All of your excuses are invalid. I know because I have been there.
Since I was in my early twenties, I always wanted to write a book. I made every excuse in the world and for fifteen years never got around to it. Finally one day, I sat down at the computer and started typing. I wasn’t typing a book; I was just typing about my life. I was driven by the act of sitting down and putting my life on paper. It was such a cathartic process for me. I cried in parts and laughed in others. I felt anger and I felt peace all at the same time.
When I finished the manuscript, I felt a sense of accomplishment. I had finished what I set out to do, or so I thought at the time.
I had still not made the connection about my desire to write a book and the manuscript I had just completed. My fears created a mental block between the two. I saw them as separate items. I didn’t realize I had actually written the book I had always wanted to write. For about six months the manuscript sat. I was experiencing the effects of my own fears.
I finally got the courage to send the manuscript off to an editor. She sent back a dose of reality. It was a compelling story but didn’t yet have a backbone or central theme. I was too close to it to see the bigger picture. So I told myself, “See, I knew it wasn’t good enough to be a book.” Once again the manuscript sat.
Six months later, I woke up angry. Why? One, I was letting my fears kick my ass and stop me from accomplishing my dream of writing a book. Two, my manuscript wasn’t good enough to be a book. I was determined to overcome my fears. My path was now set. I knew what I had to do. I dove in and did the work needed to get the manuscript into shape. My editor was thrilled.
Within a few months, I had published my book Decoding Your Past—A Guide to Happiness and Success Through Self-Understanding.
What had delayed me? Fear of failure, fear of rejection, fear of ridicule, fear of being different, fear of being alone—any and all of these impacted me at one point or another. When I finally got the courage to publish my book, I had to face all those fears. I feared the book wouldn’t be worthy of publishing (failure), and I feared rejection and ridicule from my friends and family for writing a book about my life. I feared I would be viewed differently because I aired all my inner dark secrets. I feared I would end up alone for exposing my past in such a public forum.
After I published my book, I learned all of those fears were false. They were my inner self creating resistance against what I needed to do. It manifested itself in the form of fear, and I created all those excuses to talk myself out of writing the book.
In the end, I’m glad I wrote the book. There has been minor backlash from publishing it, and that’s all right. Sometimes exposing the truth is controversial. But the most important thing happened to me through the process. I faced my fears head on and accomplished what I needed to accomplish. That created a whole transformation within my own mind. I changed significantly because of this effort. I was empowered.
Our fears have a way of sabotaging us and preventing us from accomplishing what we want to do. Fears make us deviate off our course. We fill our lives with excuses and other busy work to keep us off track from the things we are supposed to do. These are our internal fears rearing their ugly heads. We become haunted by what I call the “three faces of fear.” These faces of fear take on the personalities of the busy-bee, the distracted, and the procrastinator. I have been haunted by all of these—at times, all three at once.
We also become overly concerned with the opinions of others and allow them to control us. These are the external fears we face. Have you ever heard of anyone not changing careers because their spouse didn’t think it was a good idea? It’s very common. We allow ourselves to be controlled by others, by spouses, family, friends, bosses, etc. Their opinions become our opinions, and we lose our own identity and desires.
It’s time to change all that. We can’t be deterred by the possibility of backlash or being different or being ridiculed. We have to live for ourselves and be true to ourselves. We don’t need the approval of others to find happiness; we need the approval of ourselves. That means doing the right thing for you, not someone else.
People may view you as changed or different when you step out of your comfort zone. You may be labeled or become the chatter around social circles. My response to this is: Good. Take pride in being different than the masses. We have a society filled with mediocrity, but that doesn’t mean you have to be mediocre.
It’s an amazing feeling not to be bothered by the opinions of others. It’s liberating. You’ll discover that people label you and ridicule you out of jealousy. They are jealous because they are controlled by their own fears and are not doing what they should be doing. They are envious because they don’t have the same courage you do. They don’t have the guts to face their own fears.
Have you ever seen a successful or happy person ridicule someone else for stepping out of their comfort zone and taking a chance? Have you ever seen them put someone down for launching a business idea or making positive changes? Absolutely not! The people who criticize are plagued by their own fears and are not living the lives they want. They criticize you to make themselves feel better about their own shortcomings. It’s their attempt to bring you back into their world. They are afraid you will succeed and leave them behind.
The problem is we allow these people and their opinions to control us when we give into their ideas. We are allowing those external fears to join forces with our own internal fears to create resistance and stop us dead in our tracks. We have to learn to disregard the opinions and labels of others and see them for what they truly are.
I have a friend who is launching a business and making a total transformation in his life. I applaud him for overcoming his fears and going after his dreams. But he is getting a lot of backlash from family and friends about how much he has changed. They don’t approve of it. He’s learning to distance himself from these opinions in order to maintain a positive outlook and continue on his path.
Just because you make a transformation doesn’t means those around you make the same transformation. It’s not uncommon that when you change your mindset and life, you change who you chose to have in your life. There’s an old adage: you are the average of your ten closest associates. Who are you surrounding yourself with?
In my next article, I will discuss the three faces of fear and identify how they manifest themselves in our lives. I think you will be shocked to see how common they are. Discover how to combat these faces of fear and live the life you have always wanted to live.