As an adult, being scared takes on new meanings than the possible monster under the bed that we can never see.
When you are an adult, you know the monsters more intimately, you are aware that what scares you lives inside.
In the past few months I have been walking in the fear of starting a new life path. I have realized that—while at times necessary—reinvention is not easy. One step in a new direction and life starts to change more than you anticipate. The ripple affect starts to touch parts of your life that you never expect it to.
People have fallen out of my life, and it is hard not to wonder if my choices are wrong and I am simply on the path to a terrible downfall.
Fear is one of our most limiting emotions. It often stops or hinders the progress in in our lives. In our society, fear has become more crippling than ever before. No matter where we turn, we are reminded of the terrors of the world at large, all the way to the small failures of everyday life. No one wants to become a viral sensation because they were caught on camera in a “failed” attempt at twerking, let alone something that may actually affect your life.
Twerking fails aside, our social structure constantly reminds us that the world out there is scary. Around every corner lurks some sort of threat to life as we know it.
There are times we consider taking risks—not just of the skydiving variety—but those that have the potential to totally change our familiar lives. This is where I have been the past year—I left everything I know and restarted my life.
I have been scared more often than not during this time.
Facing the prospect of taking new paths or even making simpler changes can leave us stalled in fear—it will stop us in our tracks, if we let it.
Just waiting around for the fear to pass can take up too much of our precious lives. Working to conquer our fears can be enough to keep us from moving forward.
Whatever we want will always be just out of grasp because we are too scared to move toward “it.”
The key thing I have learned is that we cannot conquer our fears without first walking in our fear. So we have to do “it” scared. Sometimes we have to put on our grown up panties and just be scared.
If you are scared, do “it” scared.
Accomplishing goals and overcoming our fears do not always occur in a certain order. It is quite all right to do something while you are scared. Its not only okay—it’s necessary.
Letting fear cripple our progress is no way to live—its limits our experience and most likely our happiness. We can walk through every unknown door with a bit of fear in our heart or shaking to the core, but the idea is to try. Once we open the door, the potential to find what we are looking for becomes greater.
And it is okay to be scared when we open the door to the unknown.
Culturally, we have become accustomed to believing that if our ideas don’t result in a multi-million dollar viral start-up, it is not worth doing at all. Our fear of not being the next big thing can take away from recognizing our personal success. Our constant idea of “go viral or go home” can leave us paralyzed into doing nothing at all.
When we are re-inventing ourselves, we will often have to convince others that our choices are the best ones for us. We may even have to convince ourselves of the same.
This is difficult when we are scared and possibly feeling like we’ve lost the support we once had.
We may feel as if we have been floundering without any safety.
As I began to formulate my new life direction, I found myself reaching moments of extreme fear that stopped me from moving forward and had me considering not continuing at all. The fear of losing money and time that I am investing in a dream is more than enough to create a defining moment in life. The choice to step forward into the unknown or to step back into safety happens in a second. What I began to learn is that to do anything important in life, you will have to, at some point, do “it” scared.
We have come to believe that we have to conquer fear first in order to move forward—when we actually have to find our strength while fearful in order to propel forward into growth.
Going at it scared can give us freedom from fear, because once we understand that we can still succeed in spite of our fears, then accomplishing even small goals or feats is a big reward.
We can look at tackling bigger fears as the smaller accomplishments help propel us forward. Then suddenly we become our own biggest fan and not worst enemy.
This year of doing ”it” scared has taught me that my fear doesn’t control me.
Leaving an old life behind means that you there are parts you chose to leave in the past and some that chose to leave you. It’s the natural course to life, and we can’t be afraid. Or even if we are, we have to keep going.
It becomes survival of the fittest—or maybe bravest—even if it’s only you fighting against yourself.
Author: Gichele Cocrelle
Editor: Renée Picard
Image: Charles Harry Mackenzie/Flickr