Last week I realized something about myself: I am very afraid of a number of small things. And because I am afraid to do those small things, I do nothing. Fear keeps me from accomplishing all of the success that I want in life.
See, before I realized how afraid I am of those small things, I was thinking about circumstances and how I wished that they were better.
If only so-and-so would see me the way I see myself… If only I could be doing exactly what I want to be doing all the time.
It hit me that nothing about those desires was inconceivable. There’s nothing magical or too far out, or unattainable in any way.
Except that many times, when I get the opportunity to do something remarkable, I slink back into my shell like a turtle.
How I Got Some Guts
“Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgement that something else is more important than fear.” - Ambrose Redmoon
This is no small thing: I figured out that I was afraid. That’s all. Oh, and I admitted it to myself out loud. “I’m afraid that _____.”
Try that exercise yourself. If nothing comes to mind right away, just think of the last time you got a great opportunity – even maybe an idea – and just didn’t go for it. Think honestly about why you didn’t. What stopped you?
My fear exposed: I was afraid that I would screw up and that my screw up would be pointed out to me. Ack! Such a very common fear. The fear of failure. We just talked about that on this blog!
I found the guts by admitting to myself that I was afraid of looking stupid (and being told about it) and then decided that the risk was worth the prize. If I went for it and succeeded, I would demonstrate the value I bring to the team. If I didn’t, no one would know what I was capable of. I didn’t want to risk no one ever knowing what I could do, so I swallowed my pride, faced the fear, and got some guts.
You Can Get More Guts, Too
It’s very simple:
- Figure out what you’re afraid to do – What is it that you fear will happen?
- Determine the risk – What might happen if you don’t go for it?
- Play would you rather – Would you rather do nothing?
If you’d rather do nothing, feel good, because you have learned something more about yourself. You are not in a place where you feel ready to move forward. That’s okay. Not everyone is going to be able to sky dive or wind surf. Those acts take guts.
If you decide you want to go for it, because the risk of not getting all that you want (out of life, out of your job, out of your business, etc.) is too great, congratulations. You just found some guts.
And it only took 5 minutes.
Image courtesy of federico stevanin