You have to do what you dream of doing even while you’re afraid.
I had a dream once. I wanted to escape a job that offered a lot of the trappings of “good,” like benefits, wages, stability, etc., but was dragging me down into a physical, emotional, and spiritual abyss. My dream was to find work that brought me joy. I had no idea what that could look like, I just knew that I wanted it. At the time, I was immersed in learning about archetypes, Carl Jung, Joseph Campbell, and mythology.
One day, I was reading a beautiful picture book, Rumplestiltskin, to my 4 year old daughter. This was, and still is, one of my favorite folktales. As I read aloud, a light began to dawn within me. Sharing these stories would bring me great joy. I would become a traditional storyteller! What? Wait, what’s that? I had no idea but I was eager to do the research. I knew that a local bookstore held children’s events every Saturday and sometimes they hosted storytellers.
As I called the event coordinator up, someone I’d never met, and asked, ‘How do you go about hiring your storytellers?’ her response caused a tectonic shift that changed the direction of my life.
“When do you want to come in?”
We Have Nothing To Fear Except Fear Itself
She was assuming that I had credibility, experience… expertise even. This was a shock to me. Now, I was faced with a big question, would I seize the opportunity, or retreat into my comfortable and practical approach of ‘I’m just checking it out?’ Fortunately, I didn’t think too much, I leaped and chose a date 30 days away. Come hell or high water, I was going to find out what it meant to be a storyteller. Twenty-five years later, storytelling has brought more joy to my life than I’d known was possible.
You have dreams, too, even if you haven’t said them out loud to anyone, including yourself. The story you have about how deserving or qualified you are is where your fear shows itself. It’s a completely normal feeling and it can wear a familiar face that likes to be called ‘being realistic.’ It’s a very socially acceptable disguise for a number of reasons. For instance, it tells you that you’ll never fall flat on your face or suffer the embarrassment of overreaching if you’re ‘realistic’ about who you are, what you can achieve, and what you deserve.
Focusing on what you believe you cannot do is one way of letting fear hold you back. When you experience this, take an honest look at yourself, your life, and your dreams.
You Can’t Be Pregnant Forever
All the hard work and preparation and daring and luck are nothing compared with the ability to not blink.
In the physical world, you can only be pregnant for so long and then you’ve got to give birth. Dreams, however, can stay comfortably inside for as long as we let them. We can read, plan, research and sketch out our ideas as a way to get ready for the birth, or, as a way to stall it.
What dream have you been working on? Are you ready to bring it to life? Have you been held back by the need to know everything about how it might fail? What’s holding you back, making you ‘blink’, and giving you pause?
If you find yourself still in the dreaming phase and unable to take the leap into making it a reality, try this. Divide a piece of paper into 4 columns. In each section list your answers to these questions:
How would taking action limit you? If you left your comfort zone, what could you lose?
How does not taking action benefit you? There’s always a plus to not leaving your comfort zone.
How does not taking action limit you? There’s always a loss you will experience by not leaving your comfort zone.
How does taking action benefit you? How could leaving your comfort zone create a positive result in your life?
Let yourself write freely, without judgment, because this is a process of discovery, not criticism. Remember that this is an experiment with results, not success or failure. Commit to the exploration and allow yourself to feel curious about this. You can do this on your own or with the help of a qualified professional who will support you respectfully and unconditionally. You may still feel the fear, but as the saying goes, you’ll very likely do it anyway.
Zette Harbour is an iPEC certified life coach and an award-winning professional storyteller. Her column, Successful Awakenings explores the limitless power of awakening to the brilliant and beautiful story of who you truly are. Sign up for vibrant and vivacious updates at Morphosis Coaching.com and receive your FREE guide, Awaken to Your Native Greatness. Follow Zette at Morphosis Coaching on Facebook. Her column, Successful Awakenings explores the limitless power of awakening to the brilliant and beautiful story of who you truly are. Sign up for vibrant and vivacious updates from Zette at Morphosis Coaching.com and receive your FREE guide, Awaken to Your Native Greatness. Follow Zette at Morphosis Coaching on Facebook.