If you were to ask me a few years ago, “What dreams do you have?” I would have looked at you with a blank stare, mumbled something meaningless and changed the subject quick. I was afraid to let myself dream because I was didn’t want to disappoint myself. Fear held me back to even dream of possibilities because I had accepted where I was. I’m not the only one that fear plays a huge role in the journey towards achieving goals.
We all experience fear. As much as I wish it wasn’t true, it’s a huge part of our daily lives. Fear isn’t always a bad thing, as I believe that it is there to protect us. It helps us make smart decisions. But as we all know, it can also limit us.
Our fears talk us out of doing things that we want, that are important and matter. Fear makes us feel like some dreams are just impossible. It is a huge influencer when it comes to trying to achieve your goals.
I know that I’m fearful of heights, dark alleys, strangers following me, motorcycles crashing just to name a few. But here’s the thing, sometimes we don’t even know we have fears that are playing a significant role in our decision to act. They are just playing in auto mode until you spot them and face them head-on. The thing is that you just can’t ignore these fears.
How do you find out these unknown personal fears?
The best thing that I have found that works for me is to imagine myself doing whatever my goal is. I then ask myself a simple question, “What am I scared about when it comes to [insert your goal]?” As things came to mind, I would just write those things down. I keep it simple to just a sentence or two but feel free to write as much as you want. Initially, fears that you know will pop up. But don’t stop there, keep pushing and writing down all blocks or resistance that you feel.
Those blocks or resistances you come across could be either fears or even maybe limiting beliefs you have. Both will play a role in your mindset, or maybe even preventing yourself from dreaming in the first place.
Sometimes when I would do this simple exercise, I would find myself not knowing how to express how I’m feeling. I just knew that I was uncomfortable, I felt resistance. In these times I would just try googling “fears people have about [insert goal]” to see what other people were talking about the topic. Knowing that there are other people out in the world fearful of the same things as you, is comforting. It makes you feel less alone, less stupid about feeling the way you do.
So what fear do I have when it comes to going for my goals?
Although I have several fears, a personal fear that is super relevant for me is the fear of failure. I think this is pretty common for a lot of people out there. For me, I don’t want to try things if there’s not a little bit of certainty that it’s going to work out. I want to be assured before starting, that my time and effort will be worth it. I do believe you learn from your failures. But it doesn’t stop me from not wanting to try if the odds are not in my favor.
I also not the type who likes to just “wing it” when it comes to huge, life-changing decisions. Oh, I don’t mind winging it when it comes to options for dinner, my plans for the day, etc. When it comes to those life-changing decisions, not only do I have just plan A, but there is plan B and C. I worry what if plan A doesn’t work out? My fear of failure drives me to have all these backup plans.
What should I do with my fears once I figure them out?
I don’t know if personal fears go away altogether. Or if you just get exceptionally good about acknowledging them and moving on. Who knows, I don’t have that answer yet. But I have found that once my fears are on the radar, it’s easier to spot them. Then you have the power of decision to either deal with them, ignore them and push forward, or do nothing and stay stuck in fear. In the end, it is your choice of what you do after that moment.
I came across a quote from Will Smith when I was trying to learn more about the topic of fear holding us back. He says,
“ Fear is not real. The only place that fear can exist is in our thoughts of the future. It is a product of our imagination. Causing us to fear things that do not at present and may not ever exist. Fear is a choice.”
I would say that the feeling of fear, that is 100 % real. But I realized how accurate this is for me when I’m in situations where I have to push myself.
This hit hard for me. I can see how a lot of fears that I do have is me imagining the worst-case scenario’s in my head. Thus causing the feeling of fear when they aren’t happening at that moment. Like my fear of heights while rock climbing. I’m scared of falling to my death, yet at that moment I have a harness, a husband holding a rope securely and I’m not going anywhere. Like Will Smith said, my imagination is getting in the way of me enjoying a moment on the rocks.
What happens after you spot those personal fears?
Even after accepting that my thoughts are the root cause for my fears, it doesn’t mean I don’t face them any longer. They do pop daily but I’ve found it easier and easier to work through and move on. As we grow as people and experience more life, our fears will shift. Old fears might fade and new fears become prominent. It’s something we will have to continue to work through the rest of our lives. The best thing we can do for ourselves is to find ways to manage them positively. Finally, not letting our fears, whatever they may be, not stop us from taking action towards our dreams.
Do you have any tips and tricks on getting over the fear that holds you back from taking that first step? Share them in the comments with us!