Fear is there to keep you safe, right? You use fear to tell you when it’s time to run away and hide under a rock.
Fear keeps you from jumping off a cliff to certain death.
Sorry Fear, but you’re not always right.
Sometimes, at the bottom of the cliff is a warm azure sea – the exact place you’ve been dreaming of – but the only way to get there is to take that leap.
Fear can be a sign to back away or…
You can use fear as a sign that you’re headed in exactly the right direction.
How the heck are you supposed to know the difference?
You just need to know what to look for…
What to Look Out for Before You Leap
I had the chance during the last couple of weeks to probe the minds and hearts of dozens of adventurers (and wannabe adventurers).
Thanks for taking time to pour your hearts out, you guys!
During those conversations, I asked several of you to imagine the perfect opportunity – the opportunity to make everything you’ve been working towards a reality – staring you in the face.
All you had to do was say YES.
How do you feel, teetering on the brink of your big break?
The answer was the one I heard over and over again…
It’s exciting but scary too.
I LOVED hearing people describe their dreams this way. It made me excited for them because it told me they were heading in exactly the right direction.
Excitement Plus Danger Equals Adventure!
Think about it…
How does a struggling actor feel when he lands a big role in a new TV show? How does a musician feel on the first day of a worldwide tour? How does a traveller feel on the way to the airport? How does an entrepreneur feel when she signs her first client?
How do you feel when you’re about to take that one action that will change everything?
(Quitting your job, sharing your first blog post, buying the plane ticket… whatever it is for you).
There’s plenty of excitement, right? You can see your dream life sparkling away in the distance, just within reach.
But man, that fear is REAL. Once you leap, you can’t go back to the comfort zone you’ve been living in. Once you leap, there’s no more time to change your mind.
Are you going to be able to deliver? Will you mess up and get fired? Will you get mugged the moment you step off the plane? Can you handle it? And if you can, who will you be when all is said and done?
(Because once you’ve leapt out of your comfort zone, you will grow and change. You will never again be the person you are today.)
Excitement plus fear equals a roadmap to your heart
When we’re about to travel any new road (whether it’s on a long trip, a new career path, or simply a journey into our own minds and hearts), doubt is natural.
Is this where I should be going? Am I making the right choice? What will happen to me now?
To settle these doubts once and for all, imagine yourself taking your big leap.
Is it Exciting?
You better damn well be sure it is, because, as Stephen said in his last post…
This is why it is so important that you are working on something you LOVE. It’s going to take time – and a lot of consistent effort – so you need to enjoy yourself along the way.
You have to show up every damn day. If your plan doesn’t stir the cockles of your heart and the deepest depths of your soul then…
Why the hell are you wasting your life on it?
Excitement isn’t enough on its own. You can be excited about Disneyland or seeing a new blockbuster. That’s cotton candy excitement – it looks enticing, but it will melt away as soon as you take a bite. (And it might leave you feeling a bit nauseous when all is said and done.)
The other part of the equation is…
Is it Scary?
Nothing that’s truly exciting (like, deep-down belly-tumbling exciting) is completely benign on the fear scale. When you imagine doing the thing you have your sights set on, does it kind of scare your pants off?
The fear you’re feeling is a sure sign that you’re about to step out of your comfort zone, that there are challenges ahead, and that growth is about to take place.
Fear doesn’t like change, so it tells you to back away slowly, hands in the air.
But if there’s something thrilling on the other side, something that excites you and entices you, don’t listen to your fear.
Instead, use fear like a big old signpost and follow it!
Where is your focus right now? What’s the taking up most of your time and energy?
Are you excited? Are you scared?
If not, it’s time to make a shift.
If so, AWESOME! Keep going. You’re headed in the right direction.
♥ Happy adventures, Jane & Stephen
Hi, I’m Jane, founder and chief blogger on My Five Acres. I’ve lived in six countries and have camped, biked, trekked, kayaked, and explored in 50! At My Five Acres, our mission is to inspire you to live your most adventurous life and help you to travel more and more mindfully.