Do you have a dream that you wish would become a reality? An ambition so epic that you get goosebumps just thinking about it. Something that would make your life go from a 7 to a perfect 10.
We’ve all got something BIG we wish we could achieve.
If you’re reading this, you may dream of quitting your job – the one that’s robbing you of your time and energy in exchange for some money. That would then free up the time you need to build the business you’ve always wanted, or start that blog that you keep postponing.
I can completely relate with this. My biggest dream a year ago was to leave my 9-5 job behind, along with my career in engineering, to do something that brought me much more happiness – namely this blog and other side projects.
The only problem was that I was paralysed by the fear of the unknown.
Luckily I followed a little tactic to overcome it, and in this article, I’ll show you how you can do the same.
Fear of the unknown is just a mental barrier
I won’t sugar-coat it; fear is one of the strongest feelings that we can experience as humans, and it’s tough as hell to beat it. Most people never do, but I think you’re different 😉
“The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown”
― H.P. Lovecraft
As humans, fear has served us very well in staying alive. When coupled with common sense, they make a legendary team that prevents us from taking unnecessary and possibly life-threatening risks.
That’s great and all…but let’s face it; taking the leap into entrepreneurship isn’t going to kill you. Unless your business involves becoming a landmine remover – yes, that’s a real job and the 6th most dangerous one in the world.
Fear is a mental obstacle, which can seem like a tall, unforgiving wall – possibly with some barbed wire at the top. Yes, it will be difficult to climb over it, but let me ask you this:
Have you ever considered what’s on the other side of fear?
Until you climb over this wall and get to the other side, you won’t know what’s waiting for you. It could be everything you’ve ever wished for. Is that not worth struggling for?
The best things in life are often hard to get – even if that means failing along the way.
Did you ever watch Lost, the hit TV-series? Pretty much everyone watched the first season, but then stopped before the controversial ending.
I have to confess that I LOVE Lost. It’s not perfect, and there are plenty of filler episodes, but the characters are some of the best and most loveable out there.
But I digress – there is a scene in the first season (Episode 7 to be exact… #nerdalert) in which John Locke is trying to help Charlie to overcome his drug addiction. He uses his oversized hunter’s knife to point towards a cocoon that a moth is trying to break out of.
He then explains that he could help the moth by widening the hole with his knife, making it easier for the moth… but then it would be too weak for the outside world and probably die soon after.
The struggle that the moth was enduring to get out of the cocoon was a necessity. It kept pushing without any result again and again -repeatedly failing to break free…until it did.
This can easily apply to your own life.
I know it sounds super cliche, but failing is how you’ll learn the most.
It’s the struggle that’s going to make you strong enough to push through and ultimately succeed – like the moth.
I’ve always found this to be true. I’m not gonna say I like failing because let’s face it, it feels like crap, but I do always learn a valuable lesson from each failure – even if I don’t realise it at the time.
The 5-step method to overcome the fear of failing
Before you go away and postpone your dreams again, do this little mental exercise. Grab pen and paper – or keep it virtual if you’re a techie and/or environmentally responsible – and write down answers to the following:
What would you do if you knew for a fact that you’d succeed?
Would you keep postponing your project if you knew you’d succeed? Write down what you’d do to get started and make a checklist. One of the first items might be starting a website – I have a guide to get you started in 30 minutes here.
What’s the best case scenario?
What would your life look like if you went for it and started your own endeavour? Be specific here – what would you do day to day, how would you feel emotionally? How would you try to repress the overwhelming sense of achievement? 😉
What’s the worst case scenario?
Now that we’ve established that life would be awesome if you succeeded, let’s think about the negatives. What is the absolute worst that could happen if you followed your dream? Would you lose all your money? Would you feel like a failure? Would there be no coming back? Describe your fears in detail.
How likely are both scenarios?
Now take a little break and come back with a rational mind – or at least try to detach yourself emotionally from this. How likely is that you’ll succeed? If you work hard, stay consistent and use a proven business model, it’s pretty likely that you’ll rock it, given enough time. Now think about how likely the worst case is – this would only happen if you were extremely unlucky, or you gave up at the first hurdle. I don’t think that’s likely, considering how passionate you feel!
How would you feel if you never gave it a shot?
Write down what you’d feel and how your life would pan out if you never went after your ambition. If you never started your passion business. Be brutally honest here – this is what worked best for me because it made me see that the life I was leading would keep being a bit rubbish unless I did something about it.
You’ll now hopefully have written some powerful stuff. If you close your eyes and visualise the outcomes that you’ve written down this exercise will be even more powerful.
I did this little exercise back when I had my 9-5 job, and what I wrote and visualised really stuck with me.
Imagining a life in which I never followed my dream of entrepreneurship felt painful – especially because it’s what most people do. They play it safe.
The life I imagined for myself felt too good to pass, and I knew – and still know – that I’d be successful. Even if I fail now, it will never be as bad as what I wrote in my worst case scenario… I think it was something like ending up homeless, with no friends, no money and in the rain. Because rain just makes any situation worse!
Now go and follow your dreams, dammit! 🙂
PS. If you know somebody who isn’t going after what he/she wants because of fear, help them out by sharing this article with them using the buttons below!
Taking the first step is the hardest. When I started blogging, I was terrified to put myself out there and try it. Eventually I did and it then it became an everyday thing and not scary at all. Everything in life is this way, try it, and see what its like. Thanks for sharing.
Ricard Torres says
I still find blogging scary haha! 😉 But you’re right – it’s amazing how quickly we can adapt to anything through sheer experience.
Ms. Montana says
One of the obstacles I struggle with isn’t just the actual failure, but the feelings of failure. That feeling of failure is a huge barrier. I always ask myself, “Is this outcome worth the risk of that very uncomfortable feeling?”
Ricard Torres says
You’re right Ms. Montana – failure can be a gut-wrenching feeling, which is why most people fear it so much. I always write a pros and cons list when deciding on big decisions. If the potential outcome is huge, then it’s often risking failure. Sometimes the outcome of not going for it is bad enough to convince me to take the leap 🙂 Thanks for your comment!
Great insight here – thanks for sharing. Even in my worst failures I’ve learned powerful lessons that have helped me with future success. Definitely the worst thing is to not even try!
Ricard Torres says
Absolutely! I’ve actually just read a great quote on not trying – by The Rock, of all people! “We all must suffer two things: the pain of discipline or the pain of regret.”