I remember facing the decision about which college to attend. The first college had a lot of people I knew and was the comfortable choice. At the second college, I didn't know anyone but it's where I wanted to go.
The problem with the second college: no connections, no friends there. I faced the fear of being a complete outsider. I processed the decision over and over again, trying to figure out what to do. Do I go somewhere safe and already known or face my fear and be unknown?
I decided to attend the second college. I silenced my worries, faced my fear, and enrolled where I was a nobody.
How did it turn out? I attended for 4 years, made great memories, developed my closest friendships, and met my wife. My life would have been very, very different if I didn't choose to step through my fear.
“Fear has a large shadow, but he himself is small.” Ruth Gendler
This taught me 3 phases to step through fear: Recognize. Acknowledge. Decide.
- Recognize when you are afraid. Seth Godin wrote, "The reason you're afraid is that there's leverage here, something might happen. Which is exactly the signal you're looking for."
- Acknowledge you are afraid. Once you recognize your fear, acknowledge it. Don't hide it - bring it into the light.
- Decide to take the next step. Now that you have recognized and acknowledged your fear, choose courage: take the next step through your fear.
When I am faced with a situation where I am afraid, I choose to take the next step. I wish I could say it happens 100% of the time (it doesn't), but I do choose it more often (thankfully!). My goal is to get better at recognizing my fear and choose the courageous step more often.
Which fear do you need to face today?