Don't Let Fear Be The Driver

by Kelley McCarthy
A few months ago my boss gave me this image during our 1:1.

 Since then the image is taped to my computer screen in my office.  My morning ritual is to look at that image and the other encouraging notes and quotes that others have sent me before I start my day. This ritual reminds me of my inner strength and the supportive people who surround me.  Starting each day with a grateful heart makes the toughest days bearable. After the meeting with my boss, I made a promise to myself to never let fear take control and be the driver. But, the reality is, fear is an emotion we all face on a regular basis sometimes daily. 
This summer the universe provided me with a few awesome opportunities for which I am very grateful for. One opportunity in particular, was way out of my comfort zone and skill set, but I was determined to learn as much as I could in a fast paced environment in a short amount of time.   I remember staring at the image and saying to myself “live in confidence not in fear this summer.” However, I failed to take my own advice and let fear kick me out of the driver’s seat and take over. Sadly, that opportunity ended yesterday.   While there were other underlining factors that played into the mutual decision of both parties, I had yet again let fear win. 

 My favorite author, Danielle LaPorte writes about fear + other tough stuff in her book The Fire Starter Sessions. She starts the chapter off by saying respect your fears. Respect my fears? Is she crazy?  Why would anyone want to do that?  Fear is inevitable, and there are lots of things we fear as humans. Not begging accepted, fitting in, heights, the unknown, the list goes on. Lets talk about the fear of not being accepted. When that happens we tend to tailor our personalities, pick and choose our words, alter our thoughts and opinions just to fit in.  Danielle states this beautifully in this chapter by saying,

“we want to notice fear and meet it directly while it’s still an emotion, and not a behavior. We want to confront it or comfort, diffuse and transform it before it seeps into our actions and starts running the show.”  Once it starts running the show, we then start to criticize ourselves for having these fears. We beat ourselves down by saying things like I wasn’t strong enough, I wasn’t ready, I didn’t have enough time or training, I wasn’t confident enough.  How many of you have done this?  I did it yesterday as I was trying to process all of my emotions. That’s when I realized I need to stop making excuses and respect my fears. The more I denied them the more they will keep coming back to kick me in the ass. Over the last 24 hours I have been asking myself how I let my fear of imperfections, new environment, and performance ability get in the way of this opportunity. What was the point? The answer can be summed up into one word: Confidence.  I lacked the inner confidence to perform.  I focused on the fear of my learning curve and trying to live up to the high expectations that I set for myself.  This opportunity may have been short lived, but the experience and lessons I learned are priceless.

 What are some of your fears? How do you stand up to them?

Student Affairs - the First Years

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