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What Would You Do if You Weren’t Afraid?

I spent some time at the beginning of the month thinking about how many of my decisions, or non-decisions, were based on fear. How often I avoid doing something, even a small thing, because I’m afraid. And then I thought more about what I would do, or how I would handle a situation, if I weren’t afraid. It’s changed my world.

Most of my fears stem, I believe, from fear of rejection. Or, I guess, fear of looking like an ass. Which is pretty amazing when I really think about it, because I have spent a great deal of my life looking like an ass. And it’s never killed me.

Fear can be debilitating. I get that. It can be so debilitating that it can stymie your hopes, your dreams and, yes, even your entire career. Think about how much you potentially hurt yourself because your fear of submitting to agents, or even one particular agent, is so great that you don’t do it. Think about how much you limit your potential, and a potential career “win” because you let your fear control your decisions. Fear of what? Fear of someone telling you “no.” Sure it will hurt, maybe, but that no can also empower. How much braver and stronger might we all feel if we take a few hits now and then?

Next time you find your heart fluttering with nervousness and your fear winning a decision take a deep breath and think to yourself, what would I do if I weren’t afraid? and then go and do it.

**Thank you to Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg for inspiring this post.

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2 comments

  1. Thanks for posting. I recently confessed to a dear friend my fear on taking a leap of faith. She sent this quote. “What if I fall? Oh my dear, what if you fly!”

  2. I did a goal setting course many years ago (I think it was run by Shirley Jump). One of the things addressed during the course was fear. Something that stuck with me was that there are two types of fear and you need to identify which you have before you can overcome it: fear of success and fear of failure.

    When you don’t succeed at your goal ask the question… was your fear of failure stronger than your belief you would succeed or was your fear of success stronger than your desire for success?

    It’s really stuck with me and is something I think about a lot when looking at my goals – I’ve found being able to identify where my fear comes from helps me overcome it. In most cases I think I tend to the “fear of failure” side of things.

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