“Don’t fear failure so much that you refuse to try new things. The saddest summary of life contains three descriptions: could have, might have, and should have.” ~Unknown
Too often, we allow fear, worry, and doubt to dominate and define our lives. We allow them to steal our joy, our sleep, and our precious dreams.
I made up my mind, very young, that I would push forward no matter what.
I was 17 and pregnant when I married my boyfriend. We were young and foolish, and because our only plan was “love,” I gave birth to three more daughters by the age of 22. My last pregnancy was twins.
Kristy, one of the twins, was born without a right hand. My biggest fear, at the time, wasn’t how we would make it financially, but how would Kristy make it?
How would she hold a bottle or a swing? In a culture where we worship physical beauty, how would she adapt?
Kristy faced many struggles, but she was a fighter, and she pushed back. Hard!
She held her bottle with one hand. After she sucked it down, she would toss it, grab her sister’s bottle, and drink hers as well. She learned how to swing by putting the right chain in the crux of her elbow.
Her biggest struggles were in school, where she was teased, mocked, and bullied. It was painful to watch, but her sisters helped protect her.
She was determined to keep up with her sisters. She followed their lead and learned to play soccer and basketball in elementary school. She would go on to play sports for two years at the University of Chicago.
One of Kristy’s biggest fears was that boys wouldn’t want to date her. She didn’t date in high school. However, I don’t think it was because of her physical challenge but because she challenged them in sports and would beat them—their egos were bruised!
Today Kristy is 35. She was married last month. I think Pete is a great match for her. He is strong, has a lot of energy, and participates in marathons as well!
If you want to know happiness and realize your dreams, you have to be willing to take a leap of faith despite being afraid.
Too often, we hold back and play it safe, in order to avoid becoming successful, feeling embarrassed, looking silly, being hurt, and facing rejection or possible failure.
We cling to fear from our childhood, traumatic experiences, and the negative media, like Linus, from the cartoon strip, Peanuts, clings to his security blanket.
It’s our responsibility to acknowledge, face, and dissolve our fear.
Are you willing to begin now, to dig for the courage to do all the things you were meant to do, but haven’t yet begun? If the answer is yes read on!
The following tips will allow you to face fear and put it in its place.
1. Get comfortable with fear.
Invite fear into your life. When you fear something, move toward it. Feel it, and breathe through it.
Do the things that frighten you. Action builds courage. Tell yourself, “This fear will pass.” Your world expands as your courage expands.
2. Make your dominant thoughts positive.
Fearful thoughts attract more fear. Positive thoughts attract success. Instead of expecting the worst, train your mind to expect the best. Make positive assumptions about your future.
3. Don’t give time, attention, or energy to fear.
Hold yourself accountable. Be consistent, be prepared, be dependable, and focus on solutions.
Be innovative, take the initiative, and go the extra mile. If you don’t take action despite your fear, opportunity will pass you by.
4. Never dwell on scarcity.
Learn to think, speak, and live as an abundant person. Turn off the news. Celebrate what you have. Be generous.
Focus your attention on being ready, willing, and prepared for the beauty, wonder, connections, good fortune, and favorable circumstances that are yours if you are willing to work and be open to it.
5. Revisit your victories.
Strengthen your belief in yourself by reflecting on the last three years of your life and every success you’ve experienced.
Close your eyes and feel the celebratory emotion of each one. Bring the same drive, persistence, and talent into now and allow it to inspire and motivate you.
6. Live vicariously through the victories of others.
Use the success stories of others. Read how the Brooklyn Bridge was built. Study the success of Steve Jobs, Walt Disney, Steven Spielberg, and Oprah Winfrey. Take note of the courage they developed and follow their path to greatness.
7. Ask your family and friends for encouragement.
My family can see my strength when I forget I have it. At my request, they don’t hesitate to remind me of all trials and triumphs we have come through. They’re generous with praise and encouragement. Ask your loved ones to do the same for you.
8. Create a support group of friends or colleagues.
Robert Fulghum said it best in his book, All I Really Needed to Know I Learned in Kindergarten: “When you go out into the world, it is best to hold hands and stick together.” Sticking together makes tough times easier and easier times more fun!
9. Plan to be great.
Step into your power and dream big. Follow it up with calculated risks and deliberate action steps. Have no doubt about your success. Your dreams are at stake here!
You have the power to do what it takes to break through any obstacles that stand in the way of yourself, your dreams, and your happiness.
Photo by I P O X Studios
Note: This week Tess launched her eCourse Take Your Fear and Shove It, and I’m so grateful she’s offered to give 3 Tiny Buddha readers access to the course! I had a chance to take a look in advance, and I found it inspiring, insightful, and oh so helpful. Leave a comment for a chance to win, or click here to purchase Take Your Fear and Shove It now. Full disclosure: I am an affiliate, meaning a proceed of sales made through this link support Tiny Buddha.
About Tess Marshall
Tess Marshall M.A. is a risk taker, author, and courage coach with a master’s degree in counseling psychology.