Although there are a million or more reasons that hold people back from living the life they want, there are a few that come up over and over again and if we really want to simplify things we could just say it’s fear. The top three that I hear over and over again are fear of failure and fear of rejection.
These are two large headings which could contain many subheadings, but let’s take a look.
Things people say that indicate Fear of Failure:
- What if I try something new and it doesn’t work?
- What if I lose all my money?
- What if I get hurt?
- What if I embarrass myself?
Again, we could come up with many things here, but these are what I hear most often. So what if??
If you try something new and it doesn’t work, that’s ok! If you read the history books most things didn’t work on the first try, it was a series of errors that helped create new things. If you don’t try, it definitely won’t work. If Howard Schultz gave up after being turned down by banks 242 times, there would be no Starbucks.
Take calculated risks if your “what if” is about money, plan accordingly and realistically. Work with a financial advisor, small business administration, etc and plan before you take the big leap. Know what you’re backup plan is if you need it. With that being said, think positive and plan your strategy, if you enter into a venture focusing on losing there’s a high likelihood that will happen. However if you enter with a winning attitude and focus on a successful outcome, your chances of succeeding are much greater!
As for getting hurt, I give you the same advice of taking calculated risks. If you’re doing something that can cause physical impairment prepare yourself as best you can before taking the leap. If you’re afraid of emotional pain, most likely there will be some, so do your best to plan how you’ll handle it. Have a coach, mentor, confidant and/or friend to help you along the way. Focus on the positive. Visualize your perfect outcome.
If there is anyone out there who has gone through life without embarrassing themselves I’d love to meet you! We must learn to laugh at ourselves, I could tell you a many stories of how I’ve embarrassed myself, here’s a few: sitting down and completely missing my chair in my new bosses office, presenting anti-harassment training in front of about 100 people with my zipper down, tipping over my motorcycle in the middle of the road and holding up traffic because I couldn’t lift it up on my own, etc. (I didn’t get hurt, physically anyway, just lost my balance) I lived through all of life’s embarrassments and I’m usually one of the first to laugh. I often tell people, you have to laugh at my life, I do! Learn to laugh at yourself.
Thoughts people have and things people say that indicate Fear of rejection:
- Everyone else thinks I should….?
- But, there are a lot of people that would like to be where I am now?
- This is against everything I’ve been taught
- “They” won’t talk to me any more
The fear of rejection is so much more than being rejected in a one-on-one relationship. The statements above and the whole idea of making a big change or leap of faith cause people to fear societal rejection.
You may want to skip college and wander around the world for a year or two, or forever, but “everyone else” thinks you should go to school and be responsible. You may have a great job, be married to a wonderful person, live in a great neighborhood, etc and “everyone” tells you there are so many people who would like to be where you’re at. If these things aren’t right for you, it really doesn’t matter what everyone else thinks. If you want to truly be happy in your life, you have to create the life YOU want, not what others think your life should be. You need to live authentically to be truly happy.
When thinking about what you’ve been taught, whether that’s your formal education, spiritual education, societies rules, etc., it is hard to feel like you’re going against those things. I urge you to do your research and you’ll see there are others out there who think like you, feel like you, etc. You were taught one way, but there are more ways than one for almost everything.
Dr. Suess said it best, “Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind”. If you lose a friend, acquaintance, connection with a family member because you follow your dreams, where they really there for you? Find people to surround yourself with that will support you and love you for who you are.
In order to have joy in your life and live to your fullest, you must be true to yourself. If you know what you want, go after it. If you’re unsure, figure it out. You’ll be happiest if you create your life rather than letting someone else create it for you!