Do you have a dream that is SO big that you believe you will never get there? Maybe you’d have to move to a big city to accomplish this goal, and that thought is really scary when you are young and just starting out. What if I told you that you do not have to be so brave as to arrive in New York City the week after you graduate from high school. You only have to be brave enough to take the very next step on your path to get you where you really want to be.
The definition of brave from the Merriam-Webster dictionary is: having or showing mental or moral strength to face danger, fear, or difficulty: having or showing courage
The definition of courage is: mental or moral strength to venture, persevere, and withstand danger, fear, or difficulty
I hope you noticed that neither of these definitions say WITHOUT fear. They say “face fear or withstand fear.” Fear, at some level, will never go away. There will always be some new difficulty that you initially believe is insurmountable. This is what we will talk about today – how to move forward in spite of your fears. The good news is that you only have to be brave enough to take the very next step.
What is it that you want out of your life? I’m not talking about what you want and also think other people expect from you. I am talking about what YOU want, what you REALLY want. When you dream of who you would be if there were no limits or no roadblocks, if you could be anything you wanted in the whole world. What would you do? Are you on the path to that dream now? Are you taking the steps to make THAT dream come true? Or, are you planning on something that is safer, something that is a compromise in your eyes. Something that is easy to accomplish, something that you already have the skills and ability to do today. If you believe your passion is in the dream job and you feel like you are missing out on your life’s purpose, you have to ask yourself what is keeping you from pursuing the career that is calling to you. Could it be fear?
What are some common fears?
o Fear of failure
o Fear of making mistakes
o Fear of how long the path is to get to your goal
o Fear people will not understand
o Fear we’ll do all the work to get there and we will find we didn’t really want it
o Fear we really aren’t good enough to get there
o Fear that we aren’t worth it
o Fear that dreams only come true for other people
As we mentioned, the fear will probably not ever go away completely. The good news is that we can use a dash of bravery and we can use our courage to push through the fear. What is the first thing you should do when you have a dream that you want to bring into reality? The very first thing you should do is WRITE IT DOWN! I know, this sounds simple, but so many people won’t take the time to do that. Write it down – get a journal or a planner. Then take the following steps:
Write down the goal using SMART-ER techniques, this only takes a few minutes for each goal.
Break down the goal into action steps that can happen in the near term. Transfer these steps onto your near-term to-do list, as appropriate, and start working on them.
Now here is the way we conquer our fear: Just focus on the very next step. That’s it. You do not have to be brave enough to go from high school graduation to running a multi-million-dollar company, or to commanding an United States Warship, prepared to defend this great nation, or to the most well-respected movie directors of all time. All you have to do is focus on the next thing you have to do on the path from where you are to where you want to be.
Here are some steps you can take to become more courageous:
o Focus on the very next small step
o Remember your fear will never go away, and do the next step anyway
o Be Persistence – stay on your path!
o Ignore those who do not believe you can do this – yes, seriously – IGNORE THEM!
o Embrace the feeling of the fear and how exhilarating it feels to stretch yourself!
Here are somethings you can focus on to increase your bravery:
o Focus on previous times when you have succeeded, how did that feel? Remember the path you took to that success.
o Use the feeling of the success to motivate you?
o Did you have challenges? What did you do to overcome them? How did that feel?
o Do you have a memory of a time when you were felt brave? A time when you really stretched out of your comfort zone? How did that feel?
What happens if you do reach a brick wall and it seems too hard to get over? We recommend focusing on these thoughts – write them down in your goal journal as you think through the issue:
o How will I get past this?
o What is the very next step along my path?
o Do any opportunities exist in my world that I am overlooking?
o Is there anyone I know who has already accomplished this goal or at least this next step? Would they talk to me about what they learned?
So, you can see – those lofty goals are not really anything to be afraid of, as long as you focus on one piece at a time and just keep going in the same direction! I know you are afraid sometimes, and so am I! This only means you are human and that you have an active primal survival instinct. Fear is normal but, remember you do not have to be brave enough to take on the entire world on your own. You only have to stop, focus, break the task in to smaller pieces and then muster the courage to take that very next step – then take the next one after that. I’ll be rooting for you!