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Fear and the Problem of Doing Nothing

How to take the first next step and stop holding yourself back from greatness

Attempt to make the choice to make an impact. The small actions matter, and add up (big actions are cool too).

Recently, I had the opportunity to attend some really amazing events recently with some other badass changemakers, and it has really caused me to examine where we do and do not take action in our lives.

I also joined a conversation called On The Table where the Greater Milwaukee Committee helped organize events all over the city of Milwaukee with over 5,000 participants to discuss how we might make our city better across a whole array of critical civic topics. I then attended the “Together Live” tour with headliners Glennon Doyle, Abby Wambach and Luvvie Ajayi who brought together stories of women driving change for good in their worlds. When you are surrounded by people who are not just talking about it, but DOING it, it makes you question any moment of your existence that you were wasting on meaningless work. Yet, why do so many of us go about our daily lives not willing to ignite change

What Holds People Back From Making Change?

It’s simple. Fear.

We stay somewhere we aren’t entirely happy in our own lives because we are afraid of the unknown, the risk. We stay in jobs that drain our spirit because we fear what a step “back” might mean about us. We post on Facebook with “outrage” about a social justice topic, but do nothing to change the daily systemic atrocities that got us there. We do nothing because we are afraid that rocking the boat means we will have less.

The detriment from our inaction is the erosion of our own happiness and fulfilment, and the erosion of our trust in each other to work and live together for better lives in the future. Like anything that requires maintenance and attention, if we allow fear to cause us to do nothing our relationship with ourselves and others will go from “fixer-upper” to downright uninhabitable.

Now is the Time

We are in a time now where taking action must have its spotlight. Here is how I can tell that the tide is turning towards action right now:

  • This Burger King PSA (yes, you read that right) about bullying went viral. The fact that they made it is amazing, but the statistic of how many people did something when they saw bullying is, well, not.
  • Alleged harassers like Harvey Weinstein and Kevin Spacey are being called out, fired, and dropped. People are speaking up and taking action.
  • Emily’s List announced that there are now over 20,000 women in their organization expressing interest to run for public office.

We are in a terribly divisive time in our political context right now, but what that does mean is that there is motivation for more people to participate in the conversation instead of sleeping through it.

A “Do Something” Starter List

Looking for some inspiration to start doing something where you were silent or stuck before? Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • Respectfully speak an opposing viewpoint at holiday family dinner this season
  • Visit websites, donate, or give time to areas of social change rather than just like or repost about them
  • Have open discussions with other changemakers in your community, like On The Table
  • When you see bullying, misogyny, or harassment, say something in that moment
  • Ask for what you deserve at work (Time with your boss? That promotion? Flexibility?)
  • Take a step, however small, towards something that sets your soul on fire and repeat weekly

I am not perfect, but in every small choice to take action, I attempt to make the choice to make an impact. The small actions matter, and add up (big actions are cool too).

All is not lost, friends. Take heart, and take action.

About the author:

Katie Rasoul is the Chief Awesome Officer for Team Awesome, a leadership coaching and culture consulting firm. Find out more by visiting www.teamawesomecoaching.com or join the Team Awesome Community for awesomeness coming straight to your inbox. Follow Team Awesome on Facebook and Twitter.

Originally published at www.teamawesomecoaching.com

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