I just finished a really great book – it’s called “Who Moved My Cheese?” It’s about change management. It’s a short read, and a great read, and I’d recommend it to anyone who cares to listen.
One of the things the book talks about is fear. It asks “What would you do if you weren’t afraid?”
Granted, fear is not always a bad thing. It often keeps us from doing silly things (i.e. jumping off ofbuildings, leaping out of perfectly good airplanes, or running with the bulls – no offence to all the adrenaline junkies out there).
But a lot of times, fear stops us from reaching for the unknown. Fear paralyzes us when we are faced with a new challenge. Sometimes it’s the fear of the unknown; often times it’s the fear of failure. But if you look back over your life or your career (or both), ask yourself: What would YOU do if you weren’t afraid?
I believe that fear (like chocolate chips) is good in moderation. I believe there are times when risks must be taken and fears faced in order for us to move to the next level or obtain the next success. Don’t be fooled: You won’t always win and you won’t always succeed. But chances are you will fail 100% of the time that you don’t even try.
Here are a few easy examples for me:
- Starting Grade 1. I know what you’re thinking; but ask my Mum – I was terrified! I didn’t know how to write!! How could I go?! I was unprepared!! Well, 30 years, one degree, one certificate, and countless other learning experiences behind me…’nuff said.
- A job change. It’s scary! Absolutely! What if my new co-workers don’t like me? What if I’m terrible at my new job? For me, looking back, I have no regrets of any of the changes I’ve ever made professionally. And that makes me feel satisfied and proud.
- Getting married. That was a scary one. Not because I wasn’t sure of who I was marrying or what I was doing, but because I was afraid of what others thought. I was young. We came from different lives. Etc. But if I hadn’t said YES, if I hadn’t faced my fear – I would have missed out on the best thing that’s happened to me in my life to date.
Don’t get me wrong, and do not suddenly decide that you can leap tall buildings in a single bound or become a sword-swallower. But ask yourself what’s holding you back.
If it’s the fear of the unknown – look it in the eyes and honestly ask what’s the worst that could happen.
If it’s the fear of failure – remember that 100% of the times you don’t try something you WILL fail, so in all odds (including mathematical ones), your odds are better if you just give it a shot.