Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Does Fear Hinder You?

I was browsing in the book store during my lunch break yesterday when I ran across a writing book that caught my eye.  I can’t honestly say what the title was or even who wrote the book but in flipping through the pages I gleaned a few lines in a paragraph that struck me.

The book made me think about a feeling I hoped had gone away.
It is the feeling of fear.

The subject of the book that caught my eye had to do with how often we may desire to do something, to move forward with an endeavor we feel strongly about, but how by our own fault it never happens.  For some, it is a simple explanation.  Some people just get bored easily.  They may not be serious about the endeavor and are easily distracted after the first thrill wears off.  Or they may be the type who just cannot ever finish a project. 
But for many, the reason is much more serious than that.  The reason many do not complete what they begin, if they ever start at all, is due to nothing other than fear itself.  It is the fear of the unknown.  The fear of the ‘what if’s.’  The fear of being criticized or turned away.  The fear of being compared to others and not being able to compete.  For some, it is the actual fear of success. 

As I continued to read the advice offered in the book, I began to understand how often we will sabotage our own attempts at success.  If we never give others a chance to view our work or see what we are capable of doing, we never have to feel like a failure, hear the cutting words of criticism, or cringe as the door is slammed in our face.  If we cut ourselves down first, we won’t have to deal with being cut down by others. 
There are many times in life when we have to put ourselves out there, never knowing how others will receive us.  But if we never try to accomplish our goals, live our dreams, move towards something which will fulfill our lives, we will never truly feel as if we have lived the life we were meant to live.

This book made me realize I had slipped back into my little jacket of fear.
When I first began this process and secretly wrote the first draft of my book, it was fear that kept me from telling anyone but those very closest to me about my dreams to be an author.  I did not want to hear anything from anyone that would make me question myself and my goals.  When I finally let the rest of my family and friends in on the secret, it was honestly one of the scariest times in my life when it comes to putting yourself out there. 

Since then I have worked to push down the fear but I’ll admit it’s much easier when you have the support I have had.  Many writers don’t have that type of support.  And it’s not just writers.  There are many artists in general or individuals who have other sorts of dreams, such as playing pro sports or traveling the world from a backpack or starting up a non-profit, who may not gain the support they crave from those who truly count.
While I had pushed down the initial fear, I’ve noticed something as I move along with the completion of my book towards publication.  I’ve noticed some of the fear has returned but this time it is different.  The fear doesn’t involve thoughts of whether others will like my book or whether I’m criticized or praised.  Of course, those are thoughts I have had and may experience in full force at a later time but they are an expected part of this process. 

No, it is not the fear of failure or of rejection but instead, this fear involves a certain amount of resistance on my part.  It is a feeling that is hard to explain.  It is the fear of handing over a piece of work I have put so much of myself in to.  It is like giving away your most prized possession, never to have full ownership again.  It is like releasing your child into the unknown.  It is like standing naked before a watchful crowd. 
Whether the fear I have now or the fears I may have later will cause me to sabotage my own goals is a question I had to honestly reflect on.  What fears do you face as you attempt to move forward towards your life goals?  Do you believe you have ever sabotaged your own success due to an unknown or perceived fear?  

I’m truly thankful I ran across that one particular chapter in that particular book at this particular time.  It was meant to remind me that to reach your goals in life, you must name your fear, face it and move forward regardless of the fear.  In this way you prove to yourself you have more faith in yourself than in your fears.

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