Fear is the No. 1 killer of dreams and good plans. When I was 21, I decided to uproot my life in South Africa and move to England, a country I had never even visited. Within three months of making the decision, I had saved enough for the airfare, visa, and living expenses for a few weeks and still had NO JOB. With little to no fear, I just took the leap of faith and went.
Four years later, I decided to do the same thing: up and leave for the US to be with my boyfriend (who’s now my husband). This time around there was so much fear. It led to quite a few mini meltdowns and lots of tears. I wished then that I could turn back to my 21-year-old fearless self. Instead I battled worries like: “What if the relationship fails? What if I don’t like my job in the US? What if I never live in South Africa again?” These fears were constantly hounding me. They were causing so much more anxiety, loss of sleep, and doubt that I almost pulled the plug on the whole idea.
Luckily my life coach, friends, and family supported me and pushed me through all of this fear. I am so thankful they did and I went through with my plan. If I had let my doubts get the best of me, I wouldn’t be here doing what I love today. This is not to say it was all easy or not uncomfortable at times. Some of my worries did come true, but a solution always came, too. Most of the fears didn’t materialize and things beyond my wildest dreams went right. Doors opened and so many opportunities presented themselves.
I know I am not alone in my journey. We all have this built-in fear. We are taught from a young age that failure is BAD. It’s embarrassing and shameful. This causes us all to desire living perfect little lives with only perfect achievements in them. Fear cripples our creativity and keeps us from having rich learning experiences that can lead to even fuller lives.
The truth is, we learn best from failure! Even Sir Richard Branson, the successful British executive, agrees: “The key to bouncing back is to learn whatever lessons you can from the experience so that you can avoid making the same mistakes in the next launch. This will help you to overcome your fear, take a leap of faith, and try again.”
That’s exactly what you can learn from toddlers. They get up and fall over and over again without fear. They don’t stay up late to read manuals on how to take the perfect first steps. They just do it, fail and do it again. And with it, they learn a lot and they learn very quickly.
Don’t let fear cripple you. Overcome them by doing today’s action steps.