John Mayer once said, “fear is a friend who’s misunderstood” in his song “Heart Of Life”. As I listened to this, I began to think about how this is absolutely true. We view fear as an emotion best avoided. But what if we could turn this emotion around and use it as something that serves us? One that pushes us forward rather than holds us back. Oftentimes, the things that we are afraid to do are actually the ones that we should be doing. You know all of those things that you want to do, but haven’t had the courage to? Apply for that job, move to that city, ask that person out, make a career change? Those are things in which fear is getting in the way of. Why is this? Well, anything worth doing that is beyond average takes a leap of faith and a whole lot of belief and determination. There are risks involved in these things. To give up one job for another. To leave one place in pursuit of a new one. To reach out to that person with the possibility of rejection. These are all the risks that cause fear when in pursuit of anything worthwhile. It is natural. It is part of what makes us human.
BUT you know what else makes us human? The ability to turn any emotion into an opportunity. There is a silver lining to this seemingly negative feeling. Fear, as John Mayer did say, is actually our friend. It allows us to see the value in a situation. If we were never even the slightest bit fearful before making a decision or putting ourselves out there, then it would mean that we didn’t truly care about whatever the endeavor is.
Fear of failure keeps us on our toes and pushes us to strive to reach the next level. Take an athlete for example: if they gave into complacency and comfort, then they would lose to their opponent every time. Fear, in other words, causes us to “level up”. Rather than thinking how afraid you are of not succeeding at something, try thinking “this is something I truly care about, so I am going to give my all until I achieve it”.
Fear can be overwhelming and daunting to say the least. But if we can turn that feeling into one of strength and inspiration, then we will act out of a place of determination rather than fear. While we can never take away the feeling of fear completely, we do have the power to not make decisions out of it. It goes something like this:
- Recognize the fear
- Realize that the fear is there to push you in a brave direction
- Turn the fear into fuel that brings confidence and courage
And, if you need a boost- just remember that everyone around you has experienced their own share of fear in their life as well. But it is there to serve us well. It is meant to push us in a brave direction.