When I first had the idea for doing a series of videos and posts entitled The ABCs of a Purposeful WIP, I thought using alliterative terms to describe the behaviors and habits that I attribute to my own growth would be both lyrical and easy to remember. But at the same time, I worried about coming up with such terms for every letter of the alphabet. It seems the opposite is true. (At least for now. Ask me again when I get to Q, X, and Z and I may have a different answer.)
Take F, for example. Last week was all about Fueling Faith and although I should be moving on to G this week, there are two more F’s that are far too valuable to be left out: Finding Focus and Facing Fear. As you can see from the title of this post, Facing Fear won out. Not that finding focus isn’t an important factor in making progress. It certainly is. I decided against it because we’ve already discussed Disabling Distractions and Embracing the Essentials. And if you’ve got those two down, you’ve got focus.
So, let’s talk fear. First of all, I’m not referring to the kind of physical reaction our bodies have when facing an actual external danger, but the internal kind. The anxiety and doubt that is rooted in our deepest seated insecurities. It’s that inner voice that pipes up anytime we try to step out of the ruts we get stuck in or whenever our goals include growth and development or sometimes when we even just think about trying to tackle those big, scary dreams. It’s the voice that says “I can’t” or “I shouldn’t” or repeatedly warns us about the consequences of failure.
It’s those types of thoughts that are largely responsible for so many of us not reaching our potential, not reaching for those big goals and dreams, not reaching for that better version of ourselves. We are simply afraid. And that fear can be paralyzing. It keeps us stuck. It keeps us playing small. It keeps us underestimating our worth and our abilities. And unfortunately, there’s only one way to overcome it and that is facing it head on.
For years I allowed fear to hold me back from making progress on my novel manuscript and if I hadn’t decided to face it down, I would still be stuck. I wouldn’t be nearly finished with the third draft. I wouldn’t have created a website or a Facebook page or a Twitter profile. And I certainly wouldn’t have started making Facebook videos.
Unfortunately, simply deciding to face my fear didn’t make it magically disappear. Every time I sit down to work on my manuscript or write a blog/social media post or record a video, my fear of failure is still very prevalent. It still tells me that I’m not a good enough writer, that I don’t have anything important or interesting to say, that I’m never going to succeed. But I’ve realized that the more I continue moving forward in spite of my fear and the more I take back my power from fear, the more I grow and develop enough courage to take the next step and the next and the next and the next.
And that, my friends, is progress.
So what about you? How has fear kept you stuck? What has it kept you from achieving and what action step can you take this month, this week, or even this afternoon to face down that fear in order to make progress on your goals?