Fear is not the enemy.
It may have actually saved your life a time or two. Fear can be respected and revered as a mechanism to push us, not necessarily something that we have to move past or overcome.
People talk about overcoming fear, pushing past it or getting through it but what if the feeling of fear is something that never completely goes away? What if I know I have more to accomplish, bigger goals and dreams, and stuff that needs to change but I still feel afraid and its paralyzing me? What does it mean to conquer your fear? Do I become bold and fearless, finally able to accomplish the things I’ve been putting off due to fear? Have I only successfully manged (or conquered) fear if I no longer feel afraid? Feeling afraid is distressing and can put us in a negative space which can be crippling.
If you can’t beat fear, just do it scared.
– Glennon Doyle Melton
One time I didn’t clean my kid’s upstairs bathroom for weeks (okay maybe months) because I was afraid of what I’d find if I went in there. I finally woke up one day, put on a HAZMAT suit and said, “I’m going in!”. It’s not likely that you’ll wake up tomorrow ready to do anything and everything that scares you but you can start by practicing what you perceive to be the little things.
If you know you need to find a new job but you’re scared of the entire process, just start by preparing your resume. If you know you’re in a negative relationship or friendship but the idea of stepping out of it seems daunting or even impossible, start by investing in people who you know are a positive influence in your life. If your doctor says you need to lose 50 pounds, you may be overwhelmed and afraid at the drastic changes ahead. Instead of figuring out an entire diet and exercise plan, just start by finding someone else who inspires you and tell them that they do.
Don’t wait until you’re not scared anymore. Learn to allow fear and forward motion to coexist.