It was Friday night and I finally got the chance to decompress after my hour and a half commute. I sat there, on my suede couch with a nearly empty bag of SmartPop on my lap, a half full pint of salted caramel ice cream at my side, and my raggedy Macbook. Checked my email and BAM-- soggy popcorn covered in tears.
A position I wanted to apply for called for qualifications I just didn’t posses. I was too afraid of the rejection so I let the job go only to find out later, they hired an under-qualified guy-- like myself. He hadn’t even gone to college so I just KNOW attending FSU could have held me down there. I let the one I despise take the wheel and I was left filled with regret. I’m talking about fear and how that guy knocked my courage and confidence right out the window. I gave fear a place in my life, I welcomed that guy in and let him sit at my table...
Have you personified fear? Have you given fear lifelike characteristics? For many of us, at various times, fear has become more than apprehension of the unknown, it has become breathing thing. Fear has become a beast with control issues. It has kept us in positions where we aren’t thriving.
Sure, most people enjoy the safety net of having a job, but what about those who hate theirs? What if I love living alone but I’m afraid to pay bills alone so I got a roommate? Or, what if I am starting a business but I won’t quit my job because I need a safety net? Some of us have become comfortable with not reaching our full potential, because fear holds us down. Some of us embrace fear, discomfort can quickly become a warm blanket of certainty.
I hate this job, but at least I know what I’m getting here.
This place is safe.
I hate this city, but my family is here in case I ever need them.
This place is safe.
FIGHT BACK! Now is as good a time as any to break that way of thinking. Gone are the days where the only good careers that matter are those where you’ve worked there for 20+ years. You can also be successful with change while fulfilling your true calling. Don’t let fear negatively control you-- turn it around. Use the power of fear FOR you and not AGAINST you! Here are a few counterintuitive notions that may use the fuel of fear to work in your favor:
The need for security.
We all need security. How do we get it? Applying only to jobs/scholarships you’re qualified for? No. Take that leap of faith and create your own security. When you become confident in your skills, you start to understand your worth and in turn create your own job security. When people know how good you are at something, they start to pay more attention. Learn to market your strengths at all times and improvements of your weaknesses through social media posts (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc.) and professional media posts (LinkedIn.) In those posts- “peacock” your skills; make employers, recruiters, and your general network notice you. For example, when you’ve mastered Raiser’s Edge or Grant Writing, throw that on your facebook status or get someone to boost that skill on your LinkedIn account. Your skillset is your golden ticket.
Comparing yourself to others.
Fearful that you haven’t “made it” yet? Just go ahead and stop that now. Here’s a quick practice for you: take a sheet of paper and write “ME vs. THEM” then cross out the word “them” and write “ME” underneath. Don’t be afraid that you’re not good enough because you haven’t reached the same success others are floating in. You don’t share the same exact struggle as anyone else and everyone’s timing is different. The crap holes they may have gone through might not be your own, however, you can do what others have done with their setbacks- use them. “It’s not how you fall, but how you get up,” - Geoffrey Holder. Use comparison as a talking piece. Ask others how they reached their goals. Ask what their obstacles were and how they overcame them. Try to not let jealousy, the cousin of fear, weigh heavy on your shoulders. Either use it to your advantage or let it go.
The fear of making mistakes.
Everyone makes mistakes. Superhero type of folks make one mistake and never again. Most of us aren’t superheros and have to make the same mistake several times until we find what works. So yea, be afraid that your attempt will fail, because it can. The reality is we can’t control extenuating circumstances. It is acceptable to make mistakes while trying to find solutions. Track your mistakes and make sure you are correcting them or at least taking different routes until your desired outcome is reached. Fear of doing wrong is natural but don’t let it keep you from your maximum potential.
There are so many counterintuitive ways to fight that nasty guy/gal we like to call fear. Call yourself out; Isolate yourself and ask yourself the tough questions; Repeat mistakes; Quit (any method that proves pointless); Seek critique and rejection. Once you actually go through the tough stuff, fear is then desensitized and you gain that power. Don’t let fear be the reason you don’t reach your fate… it’s yours for the taking so go and get it!
“Do not be afraid; our fate
Cannot be taken from us; it is a gift.”
― Dante Alighieri, Inferno