There’s an emotion that will hold you back from having the life you aspire to if you let it.

It can prevent you from living a rich life filled with marvelous experiences, relationships and opportunities that bring you joy and help you become your best self.

That emotion is fear.

It’s normal to feel fear, especially when you’re about to do something new or put yourself out there in front of an audience. That’s just your brain protecting you from “bad things” happening, whether that’s failing or making a fool of yourself.

When You Let Fear Stop You

The easy way out is to give in to fear and stay in your comfort zone. But that keeps you from branching out, venturing forward and doing something new or different that leads to growing into your better self. And if you don’t move past your fear, it’ll hold you back and you’ll resent the fact that you’ve given into your fear.

Personally, I can find something to fear on a daily basis. And back in the day, that led me away from doing what was best for me and my career because it kept me from doing anything at all!

Like the fear of sounding like I didn’t know what I was talking about keeping me from speaking up in meetings. Then being upset when someone else said what I was thinking of saying and getting all the praise.

Or the fear of being rejected keeping me from even applying for the role. Then kicking myself when I saw who was selected. Or the fear of looking foolish which kept me from joining in on the fun.

Make Fear Your Friend

What counts is what you do with that fear because that’s where you have an opportunity to improve your life.

During my recent trip to Peru, I was reminded of how to make fear work for me rather than against me.

One of the people we met, Fernando, lives an adventurous life traveling the world and doing extreme sports and lots of things that I would be afraid to do. I asked him whether he ever experienced fear and if so, what he did to overcome it.

Fernando said, “Fear is your friend. If it’s your enemy, you’ll lose all the time.”

What a simple and freeing way to approach fear.

If you treat fear as an enemy, you’ll keep a watchful eye on it, fight it and work hard to avoid it. By focusing on your fear and thinking about it all the time, it allows fear to take on epic proportions. Exactly the opposite of what you want to happen. In essence, you lose.

But by embracing fear as your friend, you can treat it as you would a friend. Invite them in, greet them, listen to what they have to say, and thank them for trying to help you. Then you’re free to make your own choice of what to do.

“Do not fear failure but rather fear not trying.”
– Roy T. Bennett, The Light in the Heart

What Will You Do?

When your fear is warning you of dangers that don’t exist, like treating speaking at a meeting the same way as a life-or-death situation, remember to embrace fear as your friend.

Observe what it’s trying to tell you. See what you can learn from it. Appreciate it for trying to help you. Then make a conscious choice to take actions that lead to your bigger future.

So, what do you fear and how would it make your life better if you embrace that fear as your friend?

Leave me a comment and let me know.