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Fear is a Sneaky Enemy
If someone asked you what the biggest obstacle that stands between you and your dreams is, what would you say?
It's kind of funny how we can come up with so many excuses to not become who we want to be and not do what we want to do.
It's also interesting how if you wrote down your list of excuses, you'd probably discover that they all have something in common.
Most likely all of your excuses are deeply rooted in one fear or another.
Common Excuses and Fears
Let's look at some examples of common excuses for not doing the things we want to do:
- I don't have time
- I don't have money/resources
- I'm not capable/smart enough/strong enough/_______ enough
- People wouldn't approve of me/I'd be judged and criticized
- I'm too shy/out of shape/tired
We all know there are even more excuses that could be added to this list, but these are pretty common ones.
Now how are these all related to fear?
Some are more obvious than others, but if you dig down deep, you can probably find fear is the root of these excuses as well as many others that you have.
Let's look at some fears that correspond with the excuses above:
- Fear that you won't be able to get everything done that needs to be done
- Fear that you won't have enough
- Fear that you aren't capable/smart/strong/_______ enough
- Fear of what people think of you
- Fear that you aren't outgoing/fit/energetic/ _______ enough (again...this one comes up in a lot of ways)
Two more huge fears to add to this list are fear of failure and fear of success.
These fears are sometimes conscious and sometimes subconscious, but either way they are completely debilitating when it comes to trying to achieve goals.
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Of course there are logical ways to work around all of these excuses.
For example, if you don't have enough time, you could wake up earlier or cut out some of the time wasters during your day. If you don't have enough money, you could look into ways to improve your budget and increase your cash flow.
On the surface these solutions seem like they would be enough to overcome these excuses, but if fear is the real root of the problem, another excuse will always come up.
There are unlimited excuses for people who are afraid to do what it takes to achieve their dreams.
What Happens When You Choose To Conquer Your Fears
When you choose to conquer even one small fear, you will discover that your confidence increases not just in that area, but in all areas of your life.
Can you imagine what it would be like to see yourself as a courageous and strong person who does hard things instead of being that person who's easily intimidated and often doesn't even try to achieve goals.
As you consciously choose to conquer more fears (and bigger fears) your confidence will increase and you will feel empowered to act in other areas that intimidated you in the past.
Your brain will be convinced that there is nothing that can hold you back.
When you expand your vision of what's possible, you will be well on your way to achieving your greatest goals and dreams.
Real Life Example: Paralyzed By Fear
For as long as I can remember, I've been afraid of heights and particularly of falling from high places.
I love hiking and the outdoors, but I've had many experiences where my fear got the best of me, and it's greatly limited the extent to which I've been able to enjoy the nature that I love so much.
Not only that, but people without a fear of heights would be amazed by how much that fear can be limiting in social situations.
One of the silliest examples happened during my single days when I was hanging out with this guy I had a crush on. He took my little brother and me to the site of an old rock quarry where there is now a play area made up of large boulders.
There I was flirting and having a great time when we decided to play tag, and I was overcome with a paralyzing fear. You see some of the boulders had 12-18 inch gaps in between them, and I couldn't get myself to jump from one boulder to the next.
I was mortified by my silly fear, but no matter how hard I tried and how much teasing I got from my brother and the guy I was trying to impress, I couldn't cross the gap.
Facing the Courage Gap
Fast forward to 12 years later, and I'd become an avid hiker, well at least as avid of a hiker as you can be when you have a paralyzing fear of heights.
I slowly began to push the boundaries of my fears, and one day I decided that it was time to go big or go home.
There was a hike I really wanted to go on that ended at a tall ledge with an amazing view. I knew that it would be more of a mental challenge than a physical one since my leg muscles were more capable of carrying me to that ledge than my brain was.
I saw a picture online of a person sitting with their legs dangling off the edge, and I became a bit obsessed with copying that pose.
I wanted that picture, only I wanted it to be me. Not only would it be a beautiful picture, but it would be a symbol of me conquering one of my biggest fears.
Well, I climbed up the mountain to the ledge, but getting anywhere near the edge of it literally made me dizzy, and when I saw the perfect place to sit with my feet hanging off, there was a problem.
There was a gap between two of the boulders that was about 18 inches across. In order to get to the site of my perfect photo opp I had to cross the gap, but I couldn't.
I told myself I was going to, but the familiar fear paralysis overcame me and I couldn't get my feet to budge.
I walked away, did some positive affirmations and other mental toughness exercises, and then I came back a few minutes later.
I repeated this ritual a few times, and then I stepped across the gap. It was a small step for most people, but a giant leap for me. I was scared when I did it, but I felt empowered in a way that I can't even put into words.
It was so exhilarating to do something that I never had the courage to do before. My whole soul rejoiced in my achievement, and I was forever changed.
If I could cross that gap, what couldn't I do?
Courage Boosts Your Self Image and Gives You Confidence In All Areas of Your Life
After I conquered my fear, and crossed the gap, I felt like a totally different person. When I got back to the bottom of that mountain, I felt like I could walk a little taller, speak with a little more confidence, and most importantly, I knew I could do hard things.
Stepping across that gap up on the cliff felt impossible to me, but I did it, and if I did that, I could do anything.
No dream seemed too small. Not only did I follow up that hike with even more difficult hikes taking me to even more beautiful places, but I've felt empowered in other areas of my life.
I had no idea that facing my fear of heights would increase my confidence and empower me as much as it has, but I can tell you now that I am not the same woman who stood on the edge of the gap paralyzed by fear.
Conquer Your Fears One at a Time and Start Walking Towards Your Dreams
What are the fears that have held you back the most in your life?
Pick one fear to tackle, and see how your confidence increases. From there, choose another fear to conquer.
Little by little you will find yourself getting closer to your dreams. Some fears may feel like baby steps, and others will feel like giant leaps, but all of them will launch you forward towards confidence and empowerment.
© 2017 Rebecca Young
Rebecca Young (author) from Renton, WA on August 30, 2017:
I'm glad you liked it!
Julie Geddes on August 30, 2017:
Thanks Becca!! Great article.