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Fear is a Good Sign

As a career coach, I often work with people when they’re in the process of a major career transition. They’re moving slowly towards something great and new, taking serious action towards achieving what they once considered an impossible dream. And at some point, usually right when they realize that they’re making progress and that the fantasy they’ve been harboring for so long might actually become a reality, they kind of freak out.

I know this well. It’s happened to me.

Truth be told, fear is a damn good sign. It means you’re on the right track. Fear pops up when something matters, when it really hits your soul and strikes a nerve. Fear says, “Whoa there, missy! You’re cutting pretty close to the bone. Why not back up and stay put for a while? What’s the rush?”

Whenever you’re chasing after something you want—and I mean REALLY want, with all of your heart and soul—fear will inevitably take hold. Where there is great possibility for joy, there is also great possibility for disappointment. Fear is simply your brain’s way of warning you not to get too excited about the reward without remembering the risk.

Fair enough, I say. Fear has a job to do and he does it well. But that doesn’t mean any of us have to let him run the show. It’s our job to recognize his presence, thank him for his perspective, and then carefully set him aside. Fear is not something that needs to be coddled or indulged.

Whenever you notice fear, take comfort in the fact that you’re on the right track. You’re doing something that matters. You’re getting closer to whatever it is you really want. That’s why it’s scary.

Does that realization take the fear away? Nope. But it becomes a much more acceptable part of life when you see it for what it really is. Don’t hide from fear, or ignore it. Demonstrate your courage instead.

Fear is a consequence of going after your dreams. It’s a required piece of the puzzle. If you want to live a life without ever confronting fear, stay right where you are. Let your dreams wither away and die.

If, however, you want to chase those dreams, grab them with both hands and make them your reality, fear is your friend. He will walk beside you. He will whisper in your ear. He will do his best to lead you astray. Let his presence reassure you. This path is moving you closer with every step. And each time you confront your old friend fear, hear his words and keep going anyway, you’ll gain strength, knowing you’re one step closer to the impossible dream.

Photo Credit: in da mood (Flickr)

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9 Responses to “Fear is a Good Sign”

  1. Elena says:

    I haven’t thought this way about fear till now. But I love the way you put it. It is very progresive to accept fear in this direction and bring new light to everything.

    I am glad I crashed into this article by chance opening a reference link. Do not do this very often.

    Wish success to everyone who have liked the text.

  2. peter says:

    I’m starting a new job tommorow and i am feeling the fear bigtime and also your right that i’m feeling the fear because i want to stick to this job soo badly. I’ve been out of work for 2 years and struggled to find anything i could stick with, and this job seems like a job i can stick with, its not too hard or anything. But i’m soo nervous and don’t want to stuff it up.

    Thank you for posting this


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  8. Ratanpriya says:

    So concise and powerful . It actually helped to overcome my fear of failure to an extent . Thank you for sharing such wise words.

  9. Lisa says:

    I hope you are right. I’m a failing engineer hoping to switch to a writing career and I’m afraid I will fail at this too. It is my ultimate dream to be a writer, but engineering and writing are at opposite sides of the spectrum. Very scary. Writing is a very difficult field to get into all on its own.

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