What if fear didn’t matter?
What if fear is not something you should avoid? I’ve written about this topic before and I probably will again because I believe in it so much. It has been one of my guiding principles for the last 15 years.
I’m not talking about the kind of fear we inherit from birth of things like cliffs, fire, or lions… Let’s keep those fears. 😉
I’m talking about the kind of fear you feel when you face major life changes. Or when you embark on a new and challenging journey.
One book I read talks about how our brains work. That we are basically programmed to fear change. Thousands of years ago this fear probably saved our lives. During major climate changes, new predators, warring tribes, change was probably not a good thing most of the time. But the result of thousands of years of programming is that now when we are faced with big changes our instinctive fear kicks in. The bigger the change/challenge the bigger the fear.
Steven Pressfield wrote, in his book The War of Art, that we can use that fear (he talks about resistance or opposing forces, a little different from fear) as a compass. The more we fear something new, the more resistance we experience from the world around us and in our own heads, the more we should push forward. That the amount of resistance/fear we feel is in direct correlation to the importance of the goal we face.
In June it will be 3 years from when I started an extremely challenging journey. I joined a group of like-minded (read crazy) entrepreneurs from across the US, Canada, and even New Zealand. All of us had this common goal to change the way we do business for the better.
I remember the day I submitted my application to join. It was 6/19/2015, early summer. I used to sit in the backyard with my laptop on a long extension cord so I could work outside with my flowers. I was anxious.
You see, this wasn’t some sales group that made a bunch of promises on how I could get rich without working hard. In fact, it was the exact opposite. This was a program for socially conscious people on a mission to have a business that creates good in the world. There was an application in essay form, a screening process, and then only if you made it past that, a conference call.
I was so nervous for this conference call. I picked out a nice blouse and I was all ready to be on live video chat, I was outside in my yard… to have a pretty setting behind me.
I was so disappointed when I got on the call and it was just a screen share and I couldn’t see the person talking to me!
Still, I was nervous, hoping and praying I would be accepted. At the end of the call Ryan Fletcher, now my Impact Club co-founder, said, “So, are you all in?”
I responded with a resounding yes and I have been ALL IN since that day.
But as soon as we hung up something happened. The fear kicked in.
I knew what the challenge was. First up, learning to write. No small task! Our group’s foundation is writing and more specifically storytelling. Learning how to share your authentic message with others in a way that is compelling and interesting.
Have you ever tried to write? It’s not easy. There is fear of being judged and my fears about my skills, especially my insecurities about not completing college. All of those negative conversations flushed up to the surface. It took me 6 months to mail out my first newsletter. I wanted to throw up with nerves.
What if nobody reads it? Why would anyone care what I have to say?
Thank God for those of you who read my stuff and sent me encouraging emails and texts. Those of you who respond on Facebook too. Your messages mean the world to me. Really, you have no idea.
Every day we conquer our fears. It has been one of the hardest things I have ever taken on. Not just writing my Newsletter, also collaboration on our book, The Value-Driven Approach to Sell Real Estate, then launching the podcast Union City Advice Givers, and weekly emails and blog posts. All of that is tough to execute and stay consistent. I still feel fear each time I’m putting my words on paper and having the courage to share them with all of you.
A little over a year ago we all got together in Orlando, FL (during Hurricane Matthew) and an idea, Impact Club, was born. If I had given into fear 3 years ago I wouldn’t have been a part of it. Instead, today, we are 50 members strong in the Union City chapter of Impact Club. We are getting ready to write our 4th big check to a local charity on April 11th.
Nationwide, Impact Club had donated over $550,000 to deserving local causes all across the US. None of which would have happened if we’d given into our fears.
So next time you feel true fear when facing something new, ask yourself, what if my fear doesn’t matter? See what happens.