Fear is a bitch.
Should I wear this? I’ll get someone to go with me. What if this doesn’t work? Am I too old? Why are they asking me so many questions? I should do this some other time. What if I mess this up?
I consider myself pretty fearless, and I give a mean pep talk. But I’m scared. I’m scared every, single day.
I’m afraid I’ll be judged. I worry that “they” will talk about me. I’m scared I’ll screw it up. I’m fearful of failure.
I’m scared my business will suffer. When everything seems to be going right, I’m afraid something will happen to derail it. I’m scared to try new approaches or veer off the proven-to-work path. Public speaking makes me nervous.
I’m scared every day.
Here’s the thing, though…
I’m not actually scared of THOSE things. The potential outcome of those things scares me.
Hear me on this… it’s actually the thought of what might happen next that scares us. It’s the fallout we will have to deal with. It’s the challenges we’ll have to face. It’s the [insert very bad thing here] we conjure up in our minds that could happen next.
Will it? Who knows?
What will I do if I hear negative talk about me? Will I be able to fix what I mess up? I don’t want to go to a hospital. What if I lose money? What if people don’t like me?
I’m the World Champion at imagining ridiculous “what if” situations. I hold the title. I am the Supreme Overthinker of Awful Possibilities. I am the SOAP!
I’m also stubborn. Thankfully, I’m pretty resourceful. I consider myself pretty good with people, and I’m politically astute (which comes in handy). I’m an ambitious, hard-working perfectionist. I’ve got a range of knowledge about a number of things, because I’ve been fortunate enough to work in a range of jobs with all kinds of people. I’m a pretty good public speaker, and I’m truly comfortable in front of people. I’ve taken some hard knocks from an asshole or two in my day, all of which taught me valuable things. I even managed to birth two sumo-worthy, 9 lb babies, successfully worked to keep my husband alive when he had cancer, and I’ve got the unwavering grace and protection of God.
I know those things about myself. Because I know those things, I am assured I have the wherewithal to deal with whatever comes my way. Because I know those things, I can suppress fear and go after the things I want. Because I know those things, fear is mostly a minor inconvenience. I’m still the reigning SOAP, but don’t have to wear the crown everywhere I go.
Despite my title-worthy ability to think up the worst possible scenarios, I know how I choose to handle fear is key. I know that I have to trust myself. I have to insist that, in my head, fear takes a backseat and everything I know about myself drives me forward.
I have to choose. I have to trust. I have to insist.
Is this easy? Oh, absolutely not. It takes practice for sure. It takes running full speed toward fear. Choosing, trusting, and insisting ain’t for sissies.
My advice? Give some thought to your best traits, your strengths, and your own knowledge. Make a mental list (or write down!) all the ways you kick butt in life right now, and don’t sell yourself short or downplay any of your assets. Seriously do it.
How you will choose to handle fear starts here. You’ll see you can trust yourself. You’ll see that you, too, can insist on moving forward with fear in the rearview.
Then try it. Find a little thing that scares you and get after it. Choose, trust, and insist. Get through the scary thing. Celebrate, and store away that new bit of confidence. You will still be scared to death, but soon, you’ll have the guts to push through the bigger fears that before would have held you back. That’s good stuff.
Now what will I fear today? I’m the SOAP, so I’m sure I’ll come up with something. Let’s go!