Fear is a part of the deal

Photo by Michael L on Unsplash

When I was kicking off my career in my early twenties, I believed that one day, once I had enough experience and “success” under my belt, I would stop being afraid of taking risks and experimenting. And that would be the time I would be able to truly explore my potential and all the opportunities that life has to offer.

I was patient and disciplined, in many ways, I think I was the “ideal” employee – never complaining, doing what she was supposed to do,  absorbing all the feedback she was given. Without doubt, the first years of my career were critical, as I became resilient, hard-working without expecting everything to fall into my lap without my proactive contribution. What did not improve, however, was the level of fear I was experiencing.

No matter how many years I have worked, how much positive feedback I have received, the feeling of “readiness” to make a change or experiment never came. Why not wait for another promotion to see what happens then? 

The funny thing about my fear was that although I felt my current job was not exactly “it”, I was terrified of failing or getting fired. If I’m not good enough in something I don’t specifically care about, how would it feel to fail in something that matters to me? And this, my friends, is something that I keep hearing from many of my coaching clients to this day.

If we have nothing to lose, we often feel pressure to gain something before taking risks. But once that “something” is already here, the fear of letting it go for the sake of something uncertain can be paralyzing. No matter what our social status or level of “success” is, we all experience fear. 

But do you know what the definition of courage is?

The definition of courage is not the absence of  fear, but rather doing something that scares us despite our fear. And if that’s the case, to stop waiting for the “right” moment to make a change is not necessarily stupid, but rather courageous.

And as my fears did not seem to be about to go away, I have decided to explore whether I wanted to do something courageous with my life sooner rather than later. I told myself that even if I chose to do nothing at all about my current situation, I would do that nothing as my own, an empowered choice rather than the result of outer circumstances. 

And so, I decided to start creating opportunities rather than waiting for them and asking myself what I could do today to get a little bit closer to what I truly wanted, rather than waiting for something to change without my contribution. And I started taking baby steps towards a more fulfilling life. The question I began to ask myself was: What are the fears I find worthwhile to face and to live with?

And I firmly believe that the experience that followed would not have been as empowering if “the right time and the right opportunity” would have suddenly presented itself to me. By pro-actively contributing to the process, I felt more in charge and able to try things out rather than jump right in full-on. 

I also realized that quitting my job or launching my own business was not a destination; it was just the beginning of the journey. And so my question “What are the fears I find worthwhile to face and live with?” stuck with me and has been keeping me company every day. 

And this simple question is something that you can ask yourself every day if you want to take more charge of your life rather than to keep on waiting for the “right” moment, for the “right” opportunity, or for “things to fall into place” – maybe forever.

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