12/07/15

Squash The Fear Monster

By Melanie Spring

It's time to squash the Fear Monster.

“I don’t know enough to work on that project."
“What if they figure out that I don’t know the answers?”
“What if I don’t have the right questions?"
“What if I fail miserably?"
 
Sound familiar?
 
When was the last time you were walking along and fear jumped out and scared the living daylights out of you? I’m going to guess it was within the last few days. Maybe even this morning. Fear can be such a big scary thing - the proverbial monster under your bed. It can jump out and take you down in two seconds flat. IF you let it.
 
I recently asked my friends and colleagues if there was one thing in their lives they could improve about themselves that would affect everything else in their lives. Many talked about physical or financial changes, time management and patience, but something deeper stood out the most: “Confidence" and "Be more outspoken!"
 
When I dug a little deeper, one super capable woman had been told by her boss to be more aggressive about speaking up when she wanted to take the lead on a project, add her ideas, or give better advice than her coworkers. But she said, “being aggressive just didn’t sit well with me." When I asked about this fear of speaking up, she has two Fear Monsters. 1 - worry about not having thought her responses through all the way, and 2 - worry of getting shot down. 
 
There are studies that say this is a woman thing and that men have no problem jumping into things they haven’t fully thought through, but I truly believe this is a human issue. I’ve seen it from men and women at all levels. We all have fears - we all have something standing in our way. But we don’t have to have it all figured out in order to move forward.
 
Moving forward is a one-foot-in-front-of-the-other kind of thing. We have to take a step in order to figure out what the next step is. That one step could be speaking up. Or it could be making a decision. Or forgetting for a moment that we could fail.
 
How many times do we start over because we don’t have it all together? How many times do we lose out on something huge just because we didn’t take the step?
 
I stand here with a big Fear Monster standing in MY way. I have a big to-do list item that has been moved from one week to another because I am worried about the greatness that could come after I complete it. Or the lack of results altogether. But today, I will make progress. Because I’m done letting it jump out and scare me. 
 
Cheers to squashing the Fear Monsters and taking the next step - even when we don’t have it all figured out.