”Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. The fearful are caught as often as the bold.”
– Helen Keller
How often do you push yourself? Do you regularly step out of what’s comfortable or what’s safe for you? Do you have to be in control all the time? How often do you give yourself a challenge to do something you wouldn’t normally do?
We all have them — comfort zones. Our metaphorical well worn pair of shoes or warm blanket that we keep nearby to keep ourselves feeling safe from the big bad world outside. I used to have a whole bunch. I was a perfectionist and I’ll be brutally honest with you — all perfectionists are ABSOLUTELY TERRIFIED of stepping out of our comfort zones. We do. What we do. And we do it PERFECT, DAMMIT. And we’ll keep doing it and doing it because perfect isn’t a destination, it’s a never ending journey of exhaustion that keeps us SAFE.
I wish it weren’t true. A part of me wishes — desperately — I didn’t have to step out of what’s safe and comfortable in order to achieve success, but there’s just no getting around it. Every time I write on this blog, every time I share something about myself that I’ve never talked about before, I cringe and want to delete it! Every time. But I know enough now to know that hiding doesn’t make it go away. And my job, as a life coach, filmmaker trainer, and even as a mom , is to tell the truth. Even when that truth is about me and even when that truth is uncomfortable. Because once I have the courage to do it, I give permission to someone else to do the same thing. And that’s the JOB. I’m not just here doing the work with clients, I’m here DOING THE WORK.
If you want to have an extraordinary and successful life, you’re going to have to learn how to dance with the fear of failure in order to take the risks you need.
Oh, it sounds good in a story, right? Christopher Columbus — setting sail for uncharted lands. D-Day during World War II — a bold and risky march uphill to defeat the Germans. But in real life, when its YOUR LIFE, these choices are achingly painful. The reality is most of us need someone to push us out of our comfort zone before we’ll actually step out (ahem…insert coach here).
Here’s why it’s important to do it, though. The reason why I love that Helen Keller quote is because its so true. We often have a false belief that not stepping out of our comfort zone keeps us safe. It’s a known quantity. The truth is, that belief is total bullshit. You can get knocked on your ass just as easily from your little corner in the shadows. This is the way life works. We all fail sometimes. Our fear of failure doesn’t prevent it from happening. We often think that failure occurs because we have stepped out of our comfort zone, but I’ve been knocked on my ass enough times to know that that’s just a part of life.
However, the price of not being uncomfortable, not trying, not Daring Greatly, is that you nurture and grow your fear of failure. Every time you don’t try, don’t speak up because you don’t want to rock the boat, don’t promote yourself and your gifts, don’t do that thing that you’ve always wanted for fear of what others will think — every time, you convince yourself that it can’t be done. You ingrain and imprint a belief that your mind works to make true.
Don’t let your mistakes, failures or setbacks define you. We’ve all had disappointments, but you have the power to give those disappointments a meaning that works best for YOU. Don’t let them be an excuse for why you can’t have the life you really want.
You are stronger than you think.
Thankfully, there is an antidote to fear. That antidote is COURAGE and ACTION. What are you not acting on that could change your life? If you knew that you could not fail, or that if you did, it would still be alright, what would you start doing today? What actions would you take?
Understand that courage needs to be nurtured as well. Courage loves momentum. Start small — speak your truth, don’t agree to things you don’t want to do, whatever it is for you. I find that if you do a little something every day, you start to train yourself into a higher threshold of tolerance. Just like strength training, courage can be practiced. Whatever you do, TAKE ACTION. Get started today.
What kinds of things can you start doing today to build your courage? Let us know in the comments below!