What is fear?
Now, I am not talking about the kind of fear that makes your diaphragm close up and causes heavy breathing, sweaty hands, and shaky legs.
I'm talking about the fear that stifles your belief that you are capable of achieving something. The fear that puts restrictions on what you do with your life. The fear that limits your confidence.
You know that fear. It's the one that keeps you from traveling abroad by yourself. It's the one that weakens your resolve to quit your job and start your own business. It's even the one that tells you to keep dating someone who's wrong for you and settle because you feel lonely.
And for those of you who think, "Yeah, well, I have traveled abroad already by myself, I did quit my job to start my own business, and I am content being single," your fear may creep up by questioning whether you have what it takes to grow that business to the multi-million or even billion dollar level. Or maybe fear weakens your confidence in other areas of your life.
It's worth examining. We all have fear in our life. Some more than others.
But in the end, fear limits us. Constricts us. It hinders our confidence and belief that we can achieve goals and complete tasks. We tell ourselves "I am not smart enough," "I don't have the money to do that," "I am not brave enough for that," or "I don't look good enough."
When in reality, the only thing truly holding you back is yourself. And that nagging belief that you can't do something.
Instead of thinking that you can't do something, flip it around. Make it your mission to see what you can do, even if everyone else thinks it's impossible. Take Tommy Caldwell, a climber. He free climbed the Dawn Wall--a wall that climbers thought for decades could never be climbed. Instead of letting fear destroy any belief it was possible, he went to work and, 7 years later, achieved a feat no one expected.
In a recent film Reel Rock 10 Tommy Cladwell states:
"I want to show my son a life where you don't live in fear and where you are inspired to dream big and just kind of go for it."
This doesn't end with Tommy. There are thousands of individuals out there who push away fear and embrace possibility. You hear about them on the news and you study them in your history class.
Many times, they are our role models and sources of inspiration. We often look up to them like immortal heroes, when in reality they are just like we are. They grew up in cities similar to ours, went to high schools similar to ours, and faced challenges similar to those we have faced.
The only thing that differs between them and us is their ability to be fearless.
So how did they get there? How did they learn to control that fear and harness that energy to create confidence to literally achieve the impossible?
How we overcome fear and achieve the impossible
The answer lies in creating a plan. Something that you can write down from the safety of your bedroom, with enough concreteness to cling to once you take your first few steps.
Specifically, you need lofty SMART goals--those that are specific, measurable, actionable, realistic, and timely. Write down your goal and make sure it aligns with those five words. How will you measure your success? When is it due? Is it realistic, or does it need to be broken down further into smaller steps?
From there, it's about creating achievable baby steps that you are 100% confident you can accomplish, to lead you to your goal.
Then you need to stay focused and persistent on the next task at hand day after day, week after week, month after month, year after year, until, one day, your dream goal is reality.
Successful people who conquer their fear follow this simple formula. And through this, their confidence grows and their fear subsides. They repeat this process over and over and before they even realize it, nothing can stop them. They are fearless.
So today, I encourage you to step outside your comfort zone, try something new, talk to someone you don't know, and create a goal that you have always wanted to go after but until now didn't have the courage to pursue. Write the goal down with actionable baby steps you start on tomorrow -- no, now! -- to get your momentum building.
So back to the question I originally asked... What is fear?
Fear is an emotion. An emotion that we create, that constricts our ability to fully live, express ourselves, and contribute our unique gift to the world.
Let's banish it together.
What are your goals? What steps are you taking / have you taken to become fearless? Please let me know in the comments below!