The new year is well underway, and if you’re like me, you’ve already experienced ups and downs. Life has always thrown curveballs, but they seem to have picked up velocity. And we humans are afraid of curveballs; they often represent change, surprise, and adversity. We fear the unknown, and it causes us to experience anxiety and self-doubt, which can lead us to shut down, push back, and give up. Fear can be a nasty companion, no doubt.
But I would argue that fear isn’t necessarily a bad thing – we all have it, and it’s what we do with our fears that matters, which we can use to propel us forward or hold us back.
This new year, I would like to encourage you to make fear your friend. Stop saying, “I’m trying to get rid of my fears or overcome my fears.” Instead, embrace your fears and make fear your friend. Why? Being scared means that you’re about to do something significant in your life. Stepping into the discomfort and making fear your friend will help you act and move towards what you want in life. Making fear, your friend is how you change your life forever.
I know because I’ve done it many times. Most notably, back in 2006, when I left my messy life in Austin, TX and followed my heart back to Colorado when I was broke, broken and had no job prospects in sight. I only knew I needed to be closer to my roots and a fresh start. Filled with fear and anxiety, I couldn’t make a decision. Then a friend told me, “you’ve got to embrace your fear. Make it your friend because that’s how you change your life!” So that’s what I did; I used my fear to propel me forward. I made it my friend, and I took a few risks that paid off by doing so. Fifteen years later, I am running StoneAge and living my best life.
Today, I would like to share the questions I ask when I need to embrace fear. I hope that when you ask yourself these questions, they will inspire you to step into that discomfort and move towards what you’ve been wanting.
First, I examined where my fear was coming from. Why was I afraid of leaving my job in Austin and moving back home to Colorado? The answer: I didn’t know how quickly I could get a job in Colorado, and I was worried about paying my bills.
Then I asked myself, “what’s the worst thing that could happen if it took me a while to find a job when I got there?” The answer: I would have to find a waitressing job or something to hold me over until I found the right job for my career. Ok, I can do that, and I can find something that would help me pay my bills while I look for a better job.
Then I asked myself, “what would happen if I didn’t move back to Colorado?” The answer: continue down the destructive path I was on, which was a bad alternative.
Then I asked myself, “what’s the best thing that could happen if I moved back to Colorado?” The answer: I would find a fantastic job and reboot my life, and I would be close to my family, and the support would help me reach my potential. This is the kind of like I wanted.
Then I asked myself, “what could I do to get more comfortable making a move to Colorado?” The answer: I can network with leaders in Durango and line up 20 meetings and interviews before I arrive. I can live with my mom until I get my feet underneath me. I can apply for a part-time job that will bring in income until I find a full-time job. I can ask a mentor to help me create a professional resume that will help me get a good job. I can cut all my expenses from now until I leave and save $2500. These are all things I can do!
Then what did I do? I acted on every task listed above, and I quit my job to move back to Durango. Six weeks after arriving at my mother’s doorstep, I landed my job with StoneAge.
Ask yourself these questions whenever you are scared. The answers will help you put things into perspective and inspire you to take action because action is the antidote to fear. Acting is the only thing you can do to move forward. Acting allows you to make fear your friend and create the life you want rather than just dreaming about it.
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