“What if I fail?”
“What will everybody think?”
“What If I get rejected?”
Sound familiar? It’s the voice of fear, filling your heads with those scary “what if” stories. The stories that prevent you from making changes, following your heart, and growing into the person you’re meant to be. The voice of fear is an active one for many of us. It’s the voice that wants to keep to keep us safe from anything new or out of the ordinary. This small voice in our heads considers anything that infringes upon what kept us safe or “worked” in the past to be a threat. It considers growth to be a threat. Safety is good, yes? So why shouldn’t we listen to this voice that is trying to keep us safe? There are many reasons, but let me share my favorite five.
1) The perceived threats that this small voice warns us about are usually not real.
They are stories we tell ourselves based on what we’ve heard, old past wounds, or beliefs instilled in us by the fearful people in our environment. I know, you’re thinking you might fail at the new business venture, or people might think less of you if you leave the long-term (but dysfunctional) relationship. Yes, that “might” happen. It also might not. The question is: are you going to let the voice of fear stop you from pursuing your heart’s desires because of what “might” (or more likely, might not) happen?
2) Listening to this voice keeps us stuck in dissatisfying situations and separate from new things we’re called to do.
You desperately want to leave your soul-sucking job and start a career doing what you love: art therapy with children. But, that’s risky and not as secure as the current high-paying corporate job. What sounds better? Soul-sucking job or fulfilling heart’s desire? Fear will keep you from your heart’s desire, and that’s no way to live.
3) Even if the fearful voice ends up being right, you’d still survive.
What if the fearful voice is right and the business venture fails? What would you do? Chances are you’d survive. You might be disappointed and upset, and things may be difficult for a while, but I bet you’d pick up the pieces and either start again or find something else you can do to earn a living. Yes, even if the fear comes true, we usually survive.
4) Living life to its fullest means making choices based on faith and freedom, not fear.
When we make decisions based on avoiding a potential consequence of a fear, we create an internal struggle. The struggle is between choosing what we truly want and what feels like freedom, and choosing from a place of fear. Living life to the fullest means feeling the fear and choosing to move through it. It means not allowing it to drive your decisions and your life. It means choosing from faith and freedom despite the voice of fear.
5) When the voice of fear is quieted amazing things start to happen.
When we quiet the voice of fear our intuition begins to rise in place of it; actually, our intuition was always there. We just cannot hear it over the voice of fear. When fear is quieted, we begin to hear our intuition and can pay attention and heed it. We allow ourselves to be pulled in the direction of our intuitive nudges, in the direction of our heart’s desires and callings. It is from this space that our life begins to unfold exactly as it’s meant to, for each of us. Once the fear dissipates, the beauty of the life we are meant to live rises before us and we discover there is much more to life than avoiding scary “what if” stories.
The next time you hear that familiar voice in your head whisper, “what if I fail?” remember to respond with, “and what if I don’t?”
This blog was originally featured in The Huffington Post on January 31, 2017