Fear sucks and is awesome all at once. It sucks when you allow it to control you but it’s awesome when you use it to motivate yourself. Like any emotion it can be controlled and used for good or bad. I’ve often been controlled by fear instead of controlling myself and managing my fear. It takes practice, like anything, to use it for your own good and the more you face your fears and use them to push yourself forward the easier it is to face the fears the next time.
I was living overseas for 8 ½ years in the Middle East and was afraid to leave. My fear paralyzed me for making a decision. I feared many different things and spent time documenting them and thinking through them. I was afraid that my kids wouldn’t be in a school as good as the international one they were in. I was afraid that I’d not be living as comfortable a lifestyle. I feared never being able to travel internationally again. I feared moving and having to reestablish my life. At the end I feared change, I feared the disruption.
After all that though when I finally did leave (that’s another story!) I was forced to face my fears and none of them were even close to what I most worried over. My kids school is better than where they were before. My lifestyle has become much more aligned with my life statement (about page) and now includes people and experiences I cherish. I can still travel internationally of course (sure it’s not as easy) but I can also explore the beautiful countryside around me. Moving was a pain as it always is but it also wasn’t nearly as hard as I was making it out to be and gave me the chance to shed a lot of accumulated items I didn’t need in my life.
What I didn’t do was let the change manage me. I managed the change and used it to build something new that created a better life for me. I used the opportunity of disruption to shift where I was to where I wanted to be in life. I’ve allowed change to manage me too in the past and probably will in the future but with practice and trying to manage the change I’m getting better and better at it.
I see it like I’m standing on a cliff edge which is obscured by fog. I can’t see what is below the fog at the top of the cliff and I fear that the fall wall be far, that there will be monsters at the bottom and that I will never be able to survive the leap. Finally when I jump off the cliff (either by choice or by force) I find that the fall isn’t far and that there is a nice lake to land in. I wasted a lot of time though not swimming and having fun and instead I was standing at the top of the cliff freaking out because of the assumptions and expectations I built up in my own head.
How you choose to manage change and the fear of it could very well be the difference between being successful at getting what you want from life and living a life full of regrets. You are at the top of the cliff and you are ready for a swim so jump in, the water’s great!