Four Questions to see if Your Fear is Holding You Back

Since choosing this month's theme, “New Year, No Fear;” I knew I'd have to dance with some major insecurities that would undoubtedly come my way. Isn't that how life works?

In the past week, I've been asked to do three things that are totally out of my comfort zone!

I have debated and deliberated and wrestled with whether or not I should accept these offers.

On one hand, I've just finished reading Essentialism, from which my greatest takeaway is, "If your gut response isn't immediately a 'Hell yes!' then you should say 'Hell no.'"

I love this way of thought! It sounds freeing and ensures that I cultivate only a life that I am fiery passionate about!

In this case, I would say "No," to each of the three events I've been asked to take part in.

But the wise part of my brain (the part I am going to need to lean into more and more to overcome fear) begins to whisper, “Is the reason you’re not saying, ‘Hell yes’ to any of these offers because you’re afraid?”

At first I’m defensive. “How dare you?!” I demand. “Why would I be scared?” 

But then my conscience convicts my heart.

“Maybe,” I sheepishly admit to my psyche.

And if I'm afraid, I must certainly accept these three things, shouldn't I? To prove to myself I'm not a coward? To teach myself that I truly have nothing to be afraid of?

But what if these events are not a good use of my time? Then, I'll be dreading them for no good reason—except the fact that I never should have said “Yes” to them!

In my epic dilemma against my fear and my "should's," here are four questions I've created to discern how to make these tough decisions.

1) What would I gain by attending?

  1. A new experience.
  2. A new skill.
  3. New relationships.
  4. Credit card debt.

2) Will this event lead to further opportunities?

  1. Absolutely!
  2. Perhaps.
  3. Not foreseeably.
  4. Definitely not.

3) Am I passionate about what will take place at the event? 

  1. Yes!
  2. Kind of.
  3. Not really.
  4. It makes me gag.

4) Why am I afraid? 

  1. I'm afraid for my safety.
  2. I’m afraid I won’t belong in the group of people.
  3. I’m afraid I won’t have anything to offer to further the event.
  4. I’m afraid of the momentous time commitment.

Each of these questions are important and should definitely be considered, but I think I need to focus most on the last one. So, once again:

4) Why am I afraid? 

1. I'm afraid for my safety. (Thankfully, this is rarely the reason.) 

2. I’m afraid of the momentous time commitment. (Always important to think through!)

3. I’m afraid I won’t have anything to offer to further the event. (My struggle for self-worth always likes to bring this up when I’m trying to decide whether or not to go.)

4. I’m afraid I won’t belong in the group of people. (Full confession: this is the basis for my fear a majority of the time.) 

If your reasons for saying “no” vary, and your answers reflect a lack of passion, growth, or future opportunity, then go ahead. Politely decline.

However, if you always come back to one main fear-filled reason, like I do, for why not to do something, perhaps that’s your sign to DO IT. That this is the perfect opportunity to confront that ugly fear, and let it know who’s boss. It feels uncomfortable, it feels out of control, and it feels uncertain, sure to end in your demise, but that’s the Fear-Bully talking.

Jump anyway. GO anyway.