Recently, I was watching an episode of The Walking Dead (***SPOILER ALERT***) where Carol (to the surprise of no one) manages to avoid the gunfire of Negan’s men and sneak into their building to shoot some of them down all by herself.
I couldn’t help but think back to the first season where we were first introduced to Carol as the timid, abused housewife who couldn’t stand up for herself and speak her mind. She has made a complete transformation since then and honestly, is now a total and complete badass.
Carol is the epitome of fearless; a true warrior in every way. She overcame endless obstacles to fight for what she believes in and protect those she loves. She has proven to everyone around her that fear is simply a figment of the imagination.
Most people, like Carol, are not born fearless. At 25 years old, it’s safe to say I currently fear spiders, the dark (LOL), losing the ones I love, not being successful in life, and so much more. I was even afraid to start my blog. And you know what? It’s totally okay. Fear is not abnormal; we all feel fear and we all struggle to overcome it.
We feel fear for the most part because we learn to.
The fear of loud noises and the fear of falling are innate fears, and the only ones we are actually born with. All other fears–spiders, monsters, dying, the dark, etc.–are things that we learn to be afraid of. For some people, they’ve learned to let fear be so ingrained into their every day lives that they don’t even realize it’s there. They just live every day as if fear is normal. They’re afraid to try new things, to travel the world, to make themselves vulnerable and stand up for what they believe in. This should not be your normal. You should be able to speak your mind when you want to, experience new things, and live your life with purpose without being afraid or thinking that you can’t.
We begin learning fears as babies when develop a sense of our surroundings, and I can clearly remember a time I learned to be afraid of something as a kid. I was 9 years old lying on my parents’ bed watching TV, and a breaking news story came on about how R&B singer Aaliyah tragically died in a terrible plane crash. Being so young, I had only flown a handful of times that I remembered, and I assumed celebrities were immortal, untouchable human beings. This was the first time I remember feeling that airplanes weren’t safe places to be if they could take the life of someone so famous during the height of her career.
Ever since then, I’ve been afraid of flying but, luckily, I’ve finally learned that if you rationalize your fears and introduce yourself to them over and over, eventually you will overcome them. I may be tense and uneasy while flying, but I still don’t let it stop me from my love of traveling. The more I force myself to do it, and see that I’ve survived unscathed, the less afraid I become. This is coming from the girl who could easily be caught hysterical crying and drowning herself in tequila shots moments before a flight. Yup. I learned to be afraid of flying, and I’m slowly learning to be fearless.
So what does fear have to do with achieving success?
So many of us are all talk when it comes to setting and achieving our goals because we often don’t truly think we can achieve them in the first place. For instance, if you tell yourself that your goal is to become a millionaire this year, whether or not you’ve figured out what it will take to get you there, it can seem like a pretty unrealistic thing to reach for. This big of a goal may feel overwhelming and have you doubting yourself. You may be fearful that you’re not smart enough or that you’re undeserving, or maybe that your business idea isn’t unique enough to make anyone want to actually pay you for it.
It really doesn’t matter how afraid you feel about your goals though. What matters is that you’re setting them, and that you tell yourself that no matter what you’ll achieve them because you are good enough and smart enough and deserving enough. And you will not let fear get in the way.
When starting my blog, I was afraid because…
- I felt like no one would read it
- I thought my acquaintances would laugh at it
- I didn’t think I could be considered credible
- I didn’t think I was creative enough
- I didn’t know anything about blogging
- I felt like every blogging niche was already too saturated
- I was nervous I wouldn’t be able to generate content fast enough
- I was an expert at making excuses
I knew that if I was ever going to pursue my dream of starting a blog, something needed to change. I started to envision what my life would be like if I could run a successful blog, and soon the idea of not doing it was far more painful than pushing through my fears and simply getting started.
I decided to tell some friends and my boyfriend that I was going to start a blog. This way I had more than just myself to hold me accountable, and I had a bigger reason to keep my word.
Guess what? It worked!
I was now more motivated than ever to begin my blogging journey, but I had so many excuses and fears running through my head. I thought a blog was as simple as starting a website and writing a helpful post but boy, was I wrong.
I spent days and days researching, listening to podcasts (thanks, ProBlogger!), exploring the sites of other successful bloggers (Just A Girl & Her Blog was super helpful and motivating!), and I learned that this venture was going to be a much more serious undertaking than I originally expected. None the less, I was ready for it. I didn’t want to let my friends down, and I didn’t want to let myself down either. I genuinely wanted to push past all reservations I had, because I knew I’d never be happy if I didn’t change.
Truly wanting something to happen was a great start for me but unfortunately it wasn’t enough. About 7 months prior to starting this blog, I had began creating another blog but didn’t really tell anyone about it aside from one or two people. I started my website and began putting it all together, but ultimately I let my fears and doubts get the best of me and I stopped working on it.
The feeling of failure that I had from not being able to follow through on my goal was really disappointing to me. I had wanted it really badly, but my “why” wasn’t big enough. I knew I had to come up with a better way to reach my goal and finally hold myself accountable, and so I came up with these 3 steps:
1) Name Your Fears & Know Your Why
If you’re setting goals to conquer a fear of yours, it’s likely because you want to be in a different place than you’re in right now. You want to be better in some way, and the first way to do that is to acknowledge exactly what it is that you’re afraid of and why. Fears can often be irrational and emotional, and simply naming them can sometimes be enough to make them seem smaller and less scary.
Once you name your fear, figure out why you want to conquer it. Are you doing it for yourself? Or because you want your kids to see you as brave? Or because like me, you don’t want people you love to think you’re flaky or unreliable? Whatever your reason, make sure you know it and internalize it. It will keep you going when you feel like giving up.
2) Break Down Your Fears
Now that you know what it is that you’re afraid of and why, you can begin to figure out how exactly you’re going to make that fear your bitch. Kidding (but not really). We’re naturally inclined to refrain from doing something if we don’t think we’ll be good at it, mostly because we don’t want to look stupid. Many of us fear failure because it can be embarrassing and hurtful, leaving a major impact on our self esteem over the long term.
I’ve been wanting to start this blog for a few years now and haven’t because I never thought anyone would want to read what I have to say. And guess what? By the time I finally got the courage to start it, I regretted not starting sooner. It wasn’t something that I created in one day, but once I finally began to take baby steps towards this goal of mine, it suddenly seemed less scary and more achievable. One day I simply purchased my domain, another day I set up my hosting, and little by little I worked on conquering my fear of starting this blog at my own pace, on my own time.
If we never try something simply because we’re afraid of failing, we’re never going to find anything we’re good at, and we’re never going to grow. Failure should fuel us rather than scare us, because for every failure we go through, we are one step closer to success.
3) Introduce & Reintroduce
This is perhaps the most important step of all. Once our fears are broken down into smaller and less scary baby steps, we simply need to put ourselves to the test. Every single day choose one step to work on until you finally feel comfortable doing it. It may not seem like you’re making much of a difference, but over time you’ll see that that couldn’t be further from the truth.
You don’t need to move onto the next step until you’re comfortable with the previous one, so just continue doing something every day that gets you closer and closer to conquering your overall fear. The more you introduce yourself to something, the more familiar it becomes and the more you feel at ease while doing it.
So stop making excuses and get comfortable with being uncomfortable over and over again… you’ll be fighting off your fears in no time.
Towards the end of The Walking Dead episode, Ezekiel says, “If you’re asked to be the hero, be the hero… Finally, I have deliberated. I have made the decision on who I will be. Was it easier for you? Or have you always been this way? This strong? This brave? Or did you decide to be who you are today?” “I decided. Just like you,” Carol responds.
So what will you decide? Leave a comment on my blog with how you plan to crush your fears this week!
Originally published at mindsetstoassets.com