Paralyzed By Fear
“The only thing we have to fear is fear itself” – Franklin D. Roosevelt
I never fully understood this quote until now and how it applies to my life. Fear is the driving factor which keeps us stalled and prohibits the progression of moving forward.
You’re reading this because you want to make moves but it’s easier to make excuses because it’s scary to take the first step.
What is the first step?
Where do I even start?
Many of us struggle with this inner battle everyday. We are paralyzed by the fear of starting and don’t believe in ourselves.
After surveying multiple sources, I’ve compiled a list of reasons why these people were scared to start and it got me wondering, how many thousands of people share these same feelings? It compelled me to take a different approach with this post.
I was originally going to just talk about why I feel people should take action but felt it is more valuable to share the reasons why we are afraid to start. I’m going to break this into a 2 part series. This post will cover our fears and segue into the steps of taking action.
Fear is much more complex as there are different varieties that hold us back. The feedback I received is that people hold themselves back due to the fear of:
- The unknown
- Putting themselves out there
- Actually succeeding
- Not being perfect immediately
After soaking this all in, it makes sense why I see so many people stuck in the every day cycle of mediocrity. It’s like they are living a lie.
Let’s dive a little deeper into these topics.
1. The Fear of the Unknown
It’s tough to start anything when you can’t foresee an outcome.
Who wants to go into anything blinded?
Starting something that you have no idea what the backlash could be is certainly a daunting task. You’re not sure of the risks so it’s hard to see the rewards.
Many of you are living the the 9–5 grind of working for someone else, regardless if you like the job or not because you don’t have to think about it and can cruise through the motions.
This plays a psychological effect on you where the thought of taking a risk will paralyze you with fear. It’s easier to stay in your routine because you know what to expect day in and day out. It’s safe and comfortable to you.
Realize that anything worth having in life requires risk and you’ll never know if you don’t try.
2. The Fear of Commitment
The fear of commitment can apply to many situations in our lives; committing to a relationship, a job, a friend, a goal, etc.
It means you are held accountable to something and there is a new sense of responsibility you didn’t once have. You now have to put in more work and effort to achieve the end result.
It isn’t easy as you have to let go of your selfish ways. You’ll have less time to do what you want so who in their right mind would want to take that leap?
The person who commits to a fitness goal for their new years resolution will have to work hard multiple times a week by going through pain and suffering at the gym. They have to sacrifice their tv or video game time to invest into getting off the couch and actually moving. They will have to form new habits of dieting and eating healthier which is a whole new level of responsibility.
I can understand the fear of commitment as it’s a lot of work and immediate results are rare.
This is true, but nothing in life worth having comes easy.
Never the less, commitment brings about change. Change that can breed consistent progression and growth. It builds momentum and provides clarity and direction to your vision.
I can guarantee that same person who has been going to the gym and is committed to their goals is seeing progress and change within their bodies, mentally and physically. That momentum keeps building and they definitely aren’t scared of the commitment anymore once other people start to take notice as well.
3. The Fear of Putting Yourself Out There
This answer reoccured multiple times. Putting yourself out there is a big deal and don’t let anyone tell you it isn’t.
You’re allowing yourself to be placed under a microscope and that is perfectly fine!
It’s understandable to fear the possibility of being ridiculed or looking stupid. The world is full of people who are too scared to take action in their own lives so they feed off making others feel incapable of achieving their own goals and dreams.
99% of the world is full of consumers. These are the people who are endlessly browsing their feeds, tv and magazines, scavenging for content to put in their brains. Content that could be useful but most of the time it’s unproductive.
They are takers, not givers. These are the helpless, lazy people and they don’t deserve a minute of your time!
We are the 1%.
We are the creators who find fulfillment in producing something of value and offering it to the world. When you’re scared of putting yourself out there, you are positioning yourself as a consumer and withholding your gift from the world.
I’m sorry to say but that is selfish of you.
Disregard the fact that people will judge you. For every one person that may react negatively to your work, I promise there are 10 other individuals who you are impacting and helping them through their day. These are the people that will keep you fueled and make you feel like you’re doing the right thing.
Helping these people will result in you helping yourself.
You can face your fear and post something of value to you today. I started 6 years ago posting a drawing on Facebook, and it was terrifying.
4. The Fear of Failing
Many people are afraid to take action because they fear the thought of being a failure.
Failing is a word that’s been engraved in our heads since we were kids. It’s a defeating concept that we’ve been programmed to avoid. We call people failures. We tell kids that they failed tests and are failing classes. We tell people they have failed relationships and marriages.
We let this word stand in our way instead of viewing it from a different perspective.
We need to realize that failing can be a positive thing.
That’s why the phrase Failing Forward is so important. Without trying something, you never know if it’s the right path to be taking.
Failure is only final if you don’t try or give up.
Failing is the biggest reason I’ve had even an ounce of success. To me it’s not really failing. It’s the process of trial and error and continuing to manually adjust what works and what doesn’t.
I fail everyday then in this scenario. And I couldn’t be happier. Honestly, I encourage to start failing as fast as possible because that means you’re making moves.
5. The Fear of Succeeding
This may sound crazy but it’s true.
The thought that you could actually succeed and change your life can scare people enough that they refuse to go down that road.
I’ve been guilty of this one.
We’ve all heard the phrase, ”More money, more problems.” Well the same could apply to achieving levels of success, ”More success, more problems.”
When you become successful, regardless if it pertains to financial wealth, people see you differently and act differently around you.People will crawl from under rocks who disregarded you in the past and are suddenly your best friends and are looking for a hand out.
The same goes for the haters. There will be people who just want to talk about you behind your back or even in public. They want what you have so they strive to break you down.
Dealing with the repercussions of success can shut people down from even taking the first foot forward to reaching their goals.
You realize that success is inevitable as you continue to apply yourself. You gain a new appreciation for the family and friends around that have always had your back. Your circle become smaller, yet more enriched and meaningful.
Success should never hold you back and you should be terrified of your goals and dreams.
If you’re not scared of your dreams, than you’re not dreaming big enough.
6. The Fear of Not Being Perfect
This one particularly hit home to me and I’d like to share a story.
The person who gave me this answer is very close to me.
I’ve been pushing and encouraging her for years to do what she loves. She’s quite the perfectionist and is the most organized and helpful women I’ve ever met. She is spectacular at anything she sets her mind to yet I don’t feel like she sees this in herself and it breaks me inside.
She was afraid of trying something because she thought she had to be perfect at it right away. The feeling of not being an expert out of the gate held her back from even trying because she thought she needed to be the best and compete with the people who were already doing what she wanted to do.
Think of yourself as kid who was learning to ride your bike for the first time. Chances are that you weren’t an expert your first try. You were persistent and kept working without the training wheels; crashing and collecting scabs and bruises along the way.
Some would say these were battle scares.
Eventually it just clicked after all the failed attempts and you felt on top of the world, riding into the sunset until your parents called you in for dinner.
Well the person I’m referring to is my wife Emily. She was scared to get on the bike because she wanted to be able to ride it immediately without the use of training wheels.
Emily has been wrapped up in Young Living Essential Oils for quite some time now, but has really only been buying them for personal use even though she is a distributor.
She’s really knows her stuff, and if she doesn’t know it, she will research it and become an expert. She has a passion for these oils and I see the benefits it’s been providing her not only physically but mentally, especially when it’s combined with her yoga. She loves sharing her concoctions with others and educating them, without even trying to sell them. She just genuinely wants to help people.
I’ve been encouraging her for some time to take the next step in her oiling journey and feeding her that she can make a living off selling and teaching Young Living.
She didn’t believe that was a possibility and if she started, she felt she had to be perfect because she was comparing herself to some of her role models who had tons of followers online and had people under them who worshipped their every move.
She felt she had to compete with them and thought that if she couldn’t be on their level immediately than what was the point? Not realizing that they all started off right where she was.
Early August, Emily took the training wheels off and has slowing collected those scabs and bruises.
My wife finally made the leap by dedicating one hour a day towards making her dreams become a reality. She’s committed to sharing creative, educational posts Wednesdays and Sundays and focused on giving value.
I know she is convinced now that making small progress is still progress and that momentum will continue to build.
My wife is absolutely crushing it right now and it makes me the proudest guy in the world to see her overcome her fear and just start. She will mark her one month of consistency the day this blog post comes out! She still gives me resistance when I suggest something out of her comfort zone, but I know she will be all about it as the results keep showing up.
It’s All in Your Head
Fear is obsolete when you realize that it’s all in your head. Once you diagnose why you are afraid of starting, you can begin taking the necessary steps of actions in which I will discuss in next weeks post.
You control your thoughts and our mind is a powerful tool in which we can use to our advantage.
Once you start something, you’ve already put that power to use. You keep pushing yourself resulting in slow progress everyday. Each milestone you achieve will strengthen your mind and you begin to feel like you can achieve anything.
One of those days its just going to click after all the trial and error.
Remember that moment when you took off on your bike with no training wheels and had all the confidence in the world?
Well you can obtain these moments when you’re an adult too while you’re doing what you love.
I promise you.
We need to realize the power of thinking and speaking our thoughts into existence. We have the power to do whatever we set our minds to once we get past our fears.
I’m terrified of my dreams, but there is no way in hell that’s not going to stop me from trying to reach them.
- Fear keeps you comfortable with where you are at, get out of your comfort zone
- It’s easier to stay in your routine because you know what to expect day in and day out, experience the unknown
- Committing to something takes a lot of work and immediate results are rare, however commitment brings progress
- 99% of the world are consumers while we make up the 1% of creators, you’re bound to get judged and that’s okay
- Failure is only final if we don’t try or give up
- Don’t let the mindset of “More success = More problems” set you back
- You’ll never be perfect, enjoy the process of trial and error
- It’s all in your head, think and speak yourself into existence
This week I challenge you to analyze why you are scared to start something. Dig deep down inside and ask yourself,
“Do you really want to live your life asking yourself what if?”
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