My highest teaching is this: do everything you can to get beyond fear in your life and work. By doing that, you will find greater success than you can imagine.
Fear holds us back like nothing else. But it’s so tough to root out because it’s pervasive in our lives—it’s in our relationships, our self-image, and, especially, in our work. The work-related fears can be the worst: fear of not making enough money, not being successful, not meeting the expectations of others (usually our boss), or fear of being judged harshly by those around us.
Any one of these fears can stop us. Why? Because they cut us off from our inner guidance and our intuition, and they lead to what I call “disconnected action”—action taken without the support of our deepest talents. That leads to poor decisions, less effective results, and often to mistakes—sometimes serious ones.
So how do we get beyond fear?
My counsel is, do not trust the impulse to act when you feel driven by fear in moments of decision. Instead, notice that fear is there. Don’t fight it; just become aware of its presence. Then, if you can take some time, don’t act till the fear has passed. You know that old advice, “always sleep on a decision”? One reason that works so well is because it’s hard to carry fear through a good night’s sleep.
It can also work to sit to meditate if you have that practice; your decision will be wiser when your mind is calmer.
If time is short and you can’t postpone the decision, try putting your attention on your heart. Ask yourself, What am I feeling in my heart? I’ll often let my attention sit there for a moment, or even just hold an awareness of my heart in the background while considering my options. This almost always eases my anxiety and helps me think more clearly. Give it a try!
Take a “dream check”.
Fear leads to poor decisions, but even more important, persistent fear prevents us from advancing in life. The fear of leaving a “secure” job is a huge one. And even if you feel you are pursuing your dreams, I want you to ask yourself periodically, “Have I let fear reduce the scale of my dreams? Am I accepting less because I am afraid I cannot do more?”
I say take a “dream check”! Take a moment and ask yourself, “What would I do if I knew I could do anything and not fail?” You may have heard this before, but have you actually done it yet? Sit down and write a list. What would you do? Think outside the box, listen to your heart while casting away all self-limiting doubts.
This simple exercise, if done with sincerity, openness—and with fearlessness—will show you amazing things. Do it now, and repeat it often. You’ll love the results. On the other side of your fears, you’ll find your dreams just waiting for you to claim them!
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