Fear — that uncomfortable emotional response to a perceived threat of danger, pain, harm.
If we didn’t feel fear we wouldn’t be able fight — or flight — in legitimate, threatening situations.
The problem is that too often we have irrational fears in both life and biz — in situations that aren’t even close to life threatening — and so we play small for no good reason. We procrastinate, quit, say no, stay quiet or back away.
But what if listening and facing up to our deepest fears could lead us into successful, rewarding actions? What if fear-based thoughts were actually sign posts to our biggest achievements and most enriching experiences? How different might life be if we moved towards the things that scared us?
Here are three reasons why you should follow your fears instead of hide from them:
You’ve no doubt been told to follow your passion or bliss at some point in your life. It’s a pithy expression that serves to shoo you in the direction of fulfilling careers and lifestyles.
But according to Marie Forleo, you should consider turning that advice on its head, flip the script on conventional wisdom and follow what is often perceived as an obstacle to your distinct advantage.
“I’m not talking about following your very useful fear of big moving vehicles and walking in front of a bus. Nor am I talking about doing anything stupid or irresponsible that could ruin you financially” she says.
“What I am talking about is the power of following good fear, directive fear, the kind of fear that you feel when you have an idea that won’t leave you alone — an idea about doing something that you’ve always wanted to do…
“Where part of you is saying, “Oh no, I actually couldn’t do that,” but the deeper, wiser part of you wants this thing so damn bad.”
It’s this kind of fear that Marie believes could be a sign of what you need to pursue.
“Follow your fear. It’s a GPS for where your soul wants to go,” she says.
In his best-selling book, The War of Art, Stephen Pressfield also shares this gem.
“Remember our rule of thumb: the more scared we are of a work of calling, the more sure we can be that we have to do it. The more fear we feel about a specific enterprise, the more certain we can be that that enterprise is important to us and the growth of our soul.”
And when it comes to these two shining lights, of course we pay attention.
Think about your goals and future plans. Now, think one, two or 10 years down the track and visualise how you would feel if you didn’t honour them.
How would you feel if you didn’t achieve them, or at least put in the work to accomplish them? How would you feel if you passed by valuable opportunities because you were too scared?
Would you feel disappointed? Regretful, perhaps?
So, let the fear of regret drive you to lean in and push through your negative self-talk.
Instead of fearing failure, be consciously terrified of looking back one day and thinking to yourself,
“If only I had done that one thing that one time.”
Be afraid of not living up to your potential. Be afraid of missing out. Be afraid of becoming comfortable. Be afraid of not doing enough. Use these fears to push you towards working harder, exploring new opportunities and trying new things.
Let fear motivate you. Just feel the fear, and do it anyway.
Fear can show you what you really care about. It can present a beautiful opportunity to see your truth.
When you’re feeling fearful, you can usually identify what you want to protect the most. You see, when you experience fear, it’s because something that is sacred or important to you is threatened. Like your career, your relationships or finances and so on.
So when the fear kicks in, search your soul to uncover what unconsciously is very important to you.
Have you followed ever followed your fears? How did it work out for you?
Share with us in the comments below!