Monday, February 2, 2009

Fear ... It's Nothing to be Afraid Of

This is the fifth in my ten part Keys of Success series. Every Monday we’ll feature another key.
Some people think that bravery or courage means the absence of fear. The truth is that being brave or courageous means moving forward in the face of fear. We all get nervous or downright scared, but the trick is to hear the fear. Listen to what it’s telling you and move forward anyway.
A while back, I wrote about a friend of mine who had been taking swimming lessons. During her last lesson, she decided to try something she’d never done before and jump off of the diving board.
Standing on top of that board, looking down into that water, she was scared and a ton of what-if’s came flooding into her head. She listened for a bit but then realized that her teacher was there, she was in a public pool with life guards and most importantly that she could swim. She was prepared. She was ready.
So, she jumped. In fact, she enjoyed it so much that she did it a couple more times. You see, she was scared when she climbed up the ladder. She was scared when she walked to the end of the diving board. And, she was scared when she jumped. But the actual experience proved to be much better than she had imagined.
She felt the fear at each step of the way and she still did it. None of those wild imaginings came to pass. As it often is the case, what we fear happening is almost always worse than what actually happens.
Success requires you to step out of your comfort zone … and that, in and of itself, can be very scary. If your fear is revealing some real concerns, be sure to handle them. But often times what we fear is not knowing the outcome or looking silly or making a mistake. It’s those fears that can be the most damaging because they aren’t backed by fact or even a strong gut instinct. Those kinds of fears are the ones it’s most important to break through.
So as you stand there, at the end of your own personal diving board, ask yourself, “Am I prepared?” and if the answer is “Yes,” take the plunge. You may actually enjoy it!


Kim said...

This is a great key to success. The real fear most of us face is that of the unknown or that of failure. I once read an article by actor Will Smith when someone asked what did he think accounted for most of his success and he stated that unlike most people: I don't realize I can't fly. This is a profound statement and one that has resonated with me. Most of our fear stems from the fact that we know we can't fly so we don't.

Karyn Beach said...

I’m no Will Smith but I have had some modest successes. When people have asked me that question, my response at first sounds kind of flighty but it’s true. I don’t think too much about anything! LOL! If you think too much, that’s when the fear creeps in. I went to California to be a screenwriter. I jumped in head first and in just under two years, I was sitting in a studio watching the short film I’d written being played out on the screen!

I didn’t know that I had to pay a decade or two of ‘dues’ before that happened or that I wasn’t supposed to have that kind of success early on in my Hollywood story.

If I had known all that, I am certain that it would have never happened. If I had known all that, I would have definitely been scared. And there is a good chance that I would not have pursued my dream.

Whether it’s deciding to audition for a game show or moving across the country, fear is not a factor for me because I don’t dwell on it or over think it.