I spent a decent portion of my 20s limited by my fears or trying to avoid them altogether. If you're honest with yourself, you'll see how you also spend a great deal of time, energy, and effort in order to avoid fear.
The truth is that fear cannot be eliminated. It's wired into your DNA and an evolutionary tool to help you survive. So why do some people succeed, or live boldly, while others live a life of mediocrity? The reason is successful people understand how to live with fear.
If you want to live boldly, and make bold decisions that are aligned with the life you truly want, then you need to understand your fears so you can reduce their power and achieve the results you want despite them.
Life is too short to live a half-lived life. Here are five powerful fears that keep you from living your greatness, and how to overcome them.
1. I'm scared that I won't be enough
Our society, and especially consumerism, is designed to make you feel like you're not enough. We think, "If I can just get that promotion, sell my company, or make a million dollars, then I'll be enough." Or, "If I can just buy that Mercedes, or that house, I'll be enough."
The problem with this approach to life is that no amount of money, success, or stuff will ever be enough. That voice never stops. Once you buy a house, you'll notice all the houses that are bigger than your house. Or you'll only see the people who own two houses. It never ends.
The truth is that you are enough, right now, as you are. You don't need to keep searching outside yourself. Once you accept this, you then have the freedom to do anything you want.
2. I don't know how it will end
The reality is that no one knows how most things in life will end. Yet you move forward in every area of your life despite not knowing the outcomes. Bold moves aren't any different.
For example, you won't start that new business because you don't know how it will end, but you will go see a movie without knowing the ending. What about sports? You don't know if you'll win the game when it starts, yet you play it anyway.
The only reason a bold move is more difficult than watching a movie is because you've applied meaning to the outcomes of the decision. You rely on those outcomes for your sense of self-worth or your identity. While giving up that meaning is easier said than done, if you treat a bold decision like a watching a movie, you'll be able to go for it.
3. I'm afraid I'll look bad (or won't look good)
If you take a moment and reflect, and if you're honest, you know how much energy you put into looking good, or avoiding looking bad, for others. We invest way too much of our self-worth and identity into external validation, and it manifests as the subconscious and conscious actions we take to look good to others.
The key to remedy this mindset is to put your focus back on you. Live for yourself and act in a way that is aligned with your integrity. This helps you take your power back, instead of giving it away to others.
4. I'm scared I might fail
It's scary to go all-in on starting that business or making a big jump in your career. It's scary to choose the path less traveled and live boldly. It's even scarier when you know that one possibility of any decision is failure.
The truth that few people realize is that the fear of failure starts from the fear of not being enough and the fear of looking bad. Again, you need to separate yourself (and your identity) from the outcomes. The truth is you don't know how anything in life will turn out, so put your focus on living boldly instead.
5. I don't know how to do it
If you think about it, you've never known how to do anything in your life. You didn't know how to take your first steps, say your first word, ride a bike, or have a first kiss. Yet you did it. Why is starting a business or making that career switch any different?
Life, business, and careers are a process of figuring it out. So many people (especially successful people in tech) try to make the journey seem more sophisticated and brilliant than this. It's actually very simple: All we do in life is figure things out along the way.
You can't eliminate fear from the human experience. Human beings are hardwired to feel fear in order to survive. Fear will never go away, and neither will the voice inside your head that creates fearful thoughts.
Stop trying to defeat fear, or be fearless. Instead, dive into these fears and reduce the attachment you have to each one. What's on the other side of that process? The answer is the courage to show up to your dreams and live boldly despite the fear. Consider this list and find the courage inside of you to boldly move forward.