Is Fear standing between you and your goal? Move toward the fear. Take tiny steps and you can overcome the obstacle of fear that is keeping you from your goal.
“If you think you can do a thing or think you can’t do a thing, you’re right.” – Henry Ford
Limited By Fear
I don’t know when I picked up the fear of speaking in front of people. I remember when I was a young teenager leading Scout meetings as a senior patrol leader and enjoying it. And I remember taking a turn in English class leading the vocabulary lessons and feeling quite competent. But somewhere along the way, by the time I finished high school, I developed a paralyzing fear of standing up and speaking in front of a crowd.
How bad was the fear? Well, I selected my initial major in college based on the fact that it was one of the few that did not require a public speaking class. My fear limited my choices.
Many of us are not creating the life we want to live because of fear. Fear keeps us in our comfort zone, where growth does not occur. At its worst, fear can become paralyzing, keeping a person from making any changes or improvements. But even if we are not paralyzed by fear, it can still keep us from trying new things or meeting new people or becoming the person we want to be.
Growth Requires Change
In order to grow and evolve, you must change. If you are not creating the life you want, if you are not yet the person you want to be, then something must change. A little caution is good . . . caution makes you look both ways before you cross the street. Fear keeps you away from the street altogether because you imagine all the cars, trucks, bicycles, and roller bladers that might come flying by and run you down.
When it comes to making changes and trying new things, many of us fear we’ll do it wrong. We’re afraid we’ll look foolish. We need to remember that no one is born knowing how to do everything. The only way to really do anything wrong is not to do it at all. “If you do the thing you fear to do,” said James K. Van Fleet, “you will gain the power to do it. If you do not do the thing you fear to do, you will never gain the power to do it.” [Van Fleet]
The Universe Rewards Action
When a pilot takes off, she has a destination in mind and a flight plan for reaching her destination. But she never flies straight to her destination. Much of the time, she is off course, because various external factors (wind, weather, other air traffic, etc.) tend to move her off the intended course. Using feedback from her instruments and air traffic control, she continually makes adjustments to her course and arrives safely at her destination every time.
A key point here is she has a destination (or goal) firmly in mind, and then she takes off. If she didn’t accomplish that first action, she would never reach the destination. The universe rewards action – often with a course correction. You take an action, receive feedback, make adjustments, and take the next action. That’s how you reach your destination and fulfill your goal.
You likely won’t be perfect first time every time, nor should you expect to be. But if you want to be different than you are, you must start somewhere. Take an action, get the feedback, and make adjustments.
Overcoming Fear One Tiny Action At A Time
After many, many years of heart-pounding, gut wrenching, weak-kneed fear whenever I had to speak before a group (even 2 or 3 people), I was persuaded by a good friend to join his Toastmasters club. That was the first tiny step toward my fear.
It took many months of practice, of standing up and speaking before different groups before I began slowly overcoming the worst of my fear. A couple of years after I joined Toastmasters, I competed in my first speech contest. Suddenly — once that contest was over — my fear was gone. It seemed sudden but it didn’t happen all at once. I had taken many tiny steps, one after another, toward my fear. And eventually I overcame it.
Don’t worry about doing the “best” thing. It is better to do the wrong thing than to do nothing at all. Remember – the universe rewards action. Whatever step you take moves you closer to your goal.
“The Light Shines In The Darkness . . .”
It has been said that any accomplishment lies just on the other side of fear. Our instinct is to move away from the fear, but to reach your goals, you must move toward your fear. Take that first tiny step. “Do the thing you fear,” said Emerson, “and the death of fear is certain.”
Finally, consider this: The opposite of fear is love. Just as light removes darkness, love removes fear. Light doesn’t struggle with darkness to overcome it . . . the presence of light makes darkness disappear. “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” ~ John 1:5 (NIV)
So it is with love and fear. You don’t have to struggle with overcoming fear — simply love. Love. Love is a verb. Love yourself. Love the situation. Love the change. The presence of love, the act of love, makes fear disappear.
Do the thing you fear. Love the thing you fear. And the death of fear is certain. That is embracing the Excelerated Life™!
Excelerated Acceptance ™ – identifying and accepting the things you are struggling with — is one step in creating your Excelerated Life™ , a life of flourishing, of well-being, meaning, and purpose.
VanFleet, James K. 21 Days To Unlimited Power With People. Englewook Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1992