Do you move toward opportunities or away from them?
Before you give the quick, default answer of “Toward them of course – what a stupid question!” take a moment to read more.
If you spend time with young people, one thing you’ll notice is the absence of fear. Granted, it can be to a fault, but the sense of invincibility is amazing. Just ask them what they are going to do with their lives. You hear things like:
- Be an Astronaut
- Become President
- Climb Mt. Everest
- Live in Europe
- Make a million dollars
- Sail around the world
The list goes on and on….
So where does it go? What happens to that “skies-the-limit,” “take-no-prisoners” attitude? How do you lose it?
I’ll tell you what happens to those big, hairy, audacious goals – you get burned.
It might be slight or an inferno of flames – but you experience failure.
You pursued a dreams/aspirations and it didn’t go as planned. You fell short or you fell apart. Instead of the thrill of victory – you experienced the agony of defeat.
It sucks. It hurts. It’s embarrassing. It is depressing.
Worse yet – it introduced a new phenomenon into your consciousness – fear!
Whether fear gets introduced early in life or later, once it’s there – it doesn’t go away. In fact, fear tends to increase as you age. Remember – the goal isn’t to eliminate fear, but to manage it.
Fear is like fire.
It often starts small, but unmanaged it grows into a raging, all-consuming inferno. It consumes your confidence, courage and goals.
It can become so hot and intimidating, you stop trying to fight it. Instead, you turn and run. Here’s the thing – at first you think you are running to save your life. However, it doesn’t take long to realize you are actually running from life!
The lesson – unmanaged fear destroys your potential!
To create and live your deliberate journey you will likely raise the bar. When you raise the bar – fear raises its’ ugly head. That’s your moment of truth. Look fear in the eye and battle it.
Try these 4 strategies for battling fear:
1. Clarify Dreams. Running toward a dream is much more energizing than running way from fear. Take time to create a compelling future state and articulate the steps to get there. Be passionate enough to ‘burn the life boats’ and give it your all.
2. Gain Altitude. When you get sucked into day-to-day fire fighting, fear and adrenaline are at their highest. Gain altitude to get a fresh perspective and the fear drifts away. Fear, viewed from 10,000 feet, suddenly snaps into perspective – it tends to be nothing from the bigger picture.
3. Increase Control/Influence. In the classic book, 7 Habits of Highly Successful People, Steven Covey postulates that time and energy spent where you have no control or influence is a waste. A lack of control or high influence is extremely stressful. Work hard to let these go and spend time where you have direct impact. It is very energizing.
4. Experience Joy. Joy is the antithesis of fear. It is impossible to experience fear and joy at the same time. As such, the more joy and happiness you can regularly experience, the less fear is a variable. Find a way to experience Joy as regulary as you eat breakfast!
- Examine your personal and professional situation.
- Write down the 3 fears currently smoldering (or burning) in your mind/heart.
- Break down each with as much perspective and data as possible.
- Identify if the elements of your fear are “rational” or “irrational.”
- Build a plan for each rational element – manage the fire.
- Use any or all of the strategies above to combat the irrational elements.
Put fear in its place – start to take back your life/dreams today! If you know someone else who needs to manage their fear – please share with the buttons below!
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