Fear. You know the feeling – that sense of dread that something you’ve poured your heart into won’t work out? Fear of rejection. Fear of failure. Our fear can reach out in to infinity. Tell us lies. Make us small.
But the great thing about fear is that we can confront it. We don’t have to believe it. And we certainly don’t have to let it make decisions. And when we do confront our fears, we often see our old belief system break down—and this creates the opportunity for a new one to emerge (which is really quite beautiful, don’t you think?).
The first few years of launching your own business is the most terrifying endeavor ever. No one ever tells you that.
A few years ago, I was terrified to slow down. The idea of unplugging from my phone and the Internet for even a short while would make my throat feel tight—the kind of tight that happens during a big sobbing cry. My heart would literally pound faster than the second hand on my watch. The twinges of panic were constantly lurking on the edge of my thoughts.
Truthfully, fear of the unknown holds us back. And playing it safe gets you nowhere but regretful. Fear tells us not to live with passion and purpose, but instead settle for safety. Worst of all, fear restricts us from connecting with others. It’s easy to hide because you’re afraid; it’s incredibly bold & beautiful to dive deep & be vulnerable in the face of fear.
Last fall, I worked about 70 hours a week for 3 months straight. I was exhausted, overworked, and grumpy. I’m proud of all the work I produced and I wouldn’t take any of it back ever. But I also knew that it was an unsustainable pace for the long term. That’s when I decided to rent a house in the rainforest in Costa Rica, unplug from all the Internet noise, and decided to do nothing for two weeks straight. All I wanted to do was hike in the mornings, swim in the warm, salty ocean, and read all the books I wanted. (I actually wrote a guest blog post for Milk + Honey Travels about this trip. Hop over to Brianna’s site for tons of travel photos and inspiring ideas about the joys of traveling: Travel Well, Live Well)
I was shocked by the result. Several clients emailed to tell me that they were happy I’m taking a vacation. They said they hoped it was restful and fun and inspiring. And they all wished me well and couldn’t wait to reconnect in the New Year.
I was speechless. Instead of encountering disappointment from clients, I encountered encouragement. Had I never risked confronting my fear, I never would have had the joy of seeing my clients care for me.
And this, my friends, is what Seth Godin calls an abundance mindset – there is enough for everyone to go around. There is enough kindness, enough encouragement, enough of all the good things in life. So may we go forward, giving grace and knowing there’s enough for everyone.
Here’s to 2016 & confronting our fears. I wonder what else I’ll learn along the way . . .
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Fear: Will You Be Left Behind?