“Take into account that great love and great achievements involve great risk.” ~Author Unknown
It’s funny how our minds make up imaginary fears when we are inspired to try something different. It happens on every level. From moving across country; to quitting a job; to starting a new job; to cooking a new recipe; to learning a new craft; to traveling to a foreign land. It doesn’t matter whether the risk is large or small, for some reason our minds resort to fear and we end up being discouraged to try anything new. Yet, how many times has something terrible actually happened after trying something new?
Playing it safe is an easy way to remain the same. What can change in your life if you’re content with the way things are? Already in this blog, I’ve written about two stories that relate to great risks. One story is about my first trip to Egypt and the other talks about moving to Los Angeles, California. Both moments in my life were scary and involved great risk. In both cases, I had no idea what to expect and my fears were conjuring up ideas of doom and devastation. Yet, both occurrences brought me the greatest joy, wonderment and achievement that I have ever experienced.
As fearful as I was about traveling to a foreign land in the midst of war and conflict, my mind was focused on the ancient art and artifacts that I would see. In order to blend in with the locals, I planned on wearing a hijab (traditional muslim headscarf). Even though I saw hijabs as a form of repression, I made it fun by experimenting with layering different fabrics. I used pretty pins and barrettes and color coordinated everything with my outfits. Instead of focusing on my discomfort with gender inequality, I looked at it as if I were a gypsy traveling in an exotic, mystical land. I mean, where or when else could I stylishly wear a scarf on my head and not worry about how my hair looks? I was able to overcome my fears and discomforts by reminding myself of the great love and achievements that I would encounter and inherit on this trip.
Before moving to Los Angeles, I had a corporate desk job with a salaried pay check and benefits. While every bone in my body desired to be a full time artist, I was afraid that quitting my job would lead to severe unemployment and even homelessness. I was not going to let that stop me from fulfilling my dreams. How? By being conscious of my true feelings, I was able to recognize fear. From past experience, I knew that fear was a trick. Because of this combination – being aware and recognizing false fear – I was able to tell my mind to pay attention to the prize. I trusted myself. I believed in my dreams. I knew I was not going to let myself down.
When you apply this wisdom to your personal and work-life, you’ll soon see that fear is really a falsity. Both thoughts will always be racing through your mind. You will think of fears. You will think of wonder and amazement. But which thoughts will you let be predominate? Do you see how that implies that you have a choice? It is your choice! You can choose to either give in to fear or have faith in the amazing.
Hopefully, you’re now able to see in yourself when you have caved and let fear win. Forgive yourself and chalk it up as a learning experience. Stop it from ever happening again by redirecting your attention to your goals. The next time you have an idea or inspiration to try something new, listen as your mind gives you “yea, but…” or “what if…” ideas. Recognize that that is fear. Tell fear that your ideas are worth your attention. And then actually give your ideas the attention they deserve.