Have you ever felt a disconnect between how you perceive yourself and how others see you?
One thing that I have often been told is that I’m “courageous”, sometimes even “fearless”.
As someone who is tailed by anxiety a lot of the time, that image of fearlessness can sometimes seem so disconnected that it’s laughable!
I think that the impression comes from the fact that I have made some decisions that some would consider to be courageous:
I have left my home country for multiple stays abroad. I dropped the traditional career path and went for entrepreneurship instead. I have done some adrenaline-filled sports. I do a lot of public speaking.
But here is the thing:
I have never been fearless. Ever! In fact, I have had to deal with multiple fears and push through them one by one.
I have dealt with social fears. Cultural fears. Fears of failure. Fear of criticism. Fear of public speaking. Fears connected to selling. The fear of visibility. The list could go on…
When you have the desire to achieve something, do something or go somewhere, your fears must make way for action. The trick is to chop up those fear-filled actions into small pieces!
Take selling for example. Earlier, I would never call someone out of the blue. I would start by making a list of the people that I wanted to reach out to. Then read up about them. Then write up some points to talk about. Then schedule the call. And then, some steps down the line, I would make that call!
I think of it as warming myself up mentally and emotionally by practically doing something – not the actual thing, but something non-threatening connected to it. It’s a great way to trick my brain into believing that scary thing isn’t scary at all!
Do you have big dreams left unrealized because of fears? What would it be like to start chopping them up into smaller steps? What is one related, non-threatening thing that you could do today?
PS. In the name of transparency, I should add that (at least) one big fear remains. I blame it entirely on the launch of the movie Jaws, which unfortunately coincided with a childhood vacation in Spain. It made me look twice even before jumping into the pool for many years (OK, sometimes even today). But that’s another story…