I am scared.
I have always been scared… that I will fail, that I will disappoint others, that I will ruin my life (whatever that might mean). For most of my life I let myself be guided by this fear and others’ expectations.
I did everything right. Checked all the boxes… A lawyer with a master in public policy, a husband, 2 kids and an “important” job with six figures salary. But something was not working.
It wasn’t till I found myself curled up in the corner of the couch snuggling my son’s teddy bear, while eating a cup of Ben n’ Jerry’s chocolate-chip-cookie dough and bingeing on Sex and the City reruns for the third time that week… that I finally admitted: something was off. I had to find a way to stop bagging my head against the wall and finally pose the big question: “what would you do if you weren’t afraid?”
I had to face my own fears and sabotaging thoughts and dive deep (to a place I hid so well trying to fit it and play by the rules). You see, as a young teenager I first declared that I wanted “to change the world and have true impact with my writing”. Naïve right? Well reality had other plans for me.
As a Russian-immigrant girl with a particularly technical mind, I was doing advanced science in school and college-level physics courses by the time I was sixteen years old. Honestly, I was good at it, and even did an extended computer science course just for the kick of it.
But here’s the real question: Did I like it? Did I want to do it? Did it not make me want to stab myself in the eye with a fork on a semi-regular basis? The answer would be, ahem: no way in hell.
And so with this newly found courage almost 20 years later, I decided it was time for me to start afresh. And create the career and life I truly want, without all those fears. This has been an amazing journey to self-rediscovery and it helped me outline some of the worst fear-gremlins that were holding me back.
Since making this grand discovery, I spoke to hundreds of people and it seems most of us don’t even realize that we shut down endless ideas, dreams, passions, and desires on a semi-conscious level, all because of fear. So how about taking a big magnifying glass and looking our fears in the eye?
I’ve outlined five of the most common fears that are holding us back, and how to overcome those.