Halloween is a big deal for kids, well, at least for my kids. They’ve been debating since summer ended and school began what they would be. A witch? A princess? A firefighter? A fairy, a frog, a fisherman? Or perhaps Elsa, Dorothy, or Hercules? The struggle is real. After much debate, I’ve now got Peppa the Pig, Black Panther, and a fallen angel running around my house. It’s kind of funny how much time and effort kids (and for that matter, adults) put into imagining, planning, and creating who they are going to be for one night out of the year. What if we put that much time and effort into thinking about who we want to become as a person?
I know, I know, let’s shift gears before I ruin the Halloween fun and get too philosophical on you. Halloween is about tricks and treats, the suspension of reality, and scaring the pants of your friends and family. In small doses, of course, while you’re still in control. That physical, primal feeling of being terrified is not something that many people experience in life. Experiences are what drive us. And since we no longer live in the days of tigers and warring families, we don’t often feel that primal fear. Many enter into it willingly around Halloween through haunted houses or simulate that primal fear through scary movies. Now, psychological fear on the other hand. That, us mere mortals, have on lock. The fear that you won’t be able to give your children everything they want, the fear of public speaking, the fear of quitting your job and staring your own business, or the fear of being judged. While not life-threatening, those fears are just as real and can cause a visceral response, not to mention a whole lot of worry, stress, and anxiety.
A few months ago, I asked my team a simple, yet powerful question: What are you most afraid of? Many of our real estate team CEOs and leadership team members took several days to respond. As they should. It might be a simple question, but it’s not a simple answer. Sure, on the surface level, they thought of things quickly, like being afraid of snakes or heights, but that wasn’t really what the question was about. This is not a water-skiing kind of question, but rather a deep, scuba-dive into your subconscious. It’s there that those fears live and it’s there that many of your limiting beliefs live, where your self-sabotaging behavior thrives, and where your decisions stem from. It’s time to shed some light on those fears and free them from the darkness. Only then can you actually make progress.
Here are a few examples of the responses I got:
- Fear of rejection.
- I’m afraid of not achieving balance – between work, home life, and fitness. I could work all day long every day and be perfectly fine… but I have to remember to budget in time for other things as well that are going to make me more productive in the long term.
- That my children will not live long, healthy, and happy lives.
- Fear of complacency.
- Fear of thinking bigger. I have a hard time seeing myself as a successful professional woman, even though I built a thriving real estate business on my own and make more than my husband makes in a year.
- Fear that I won’t find or figure out my purpose/meaning in life.
- I am afraid of not failing fast, failing often , and failing forward so that I
can build a big business and live the biggest life possible that I
and my family deserves.
- Not making a big enough difference in the world – at home, in my relationships, at work, in life in general (not providing value or being seen as someone who provides value or “mattering”).
- I am afraid that I won’t live up to my potential.
What about you? What are you most afraid of?
Here’s the thing, it can be pretty scary just to think about this question and to be completely honest with yourself about what you fear. Chances are, whatever that fear is has been dictating your actions and holding you back from what you truly want for years. But the beauty of this question is that once you name that fear, then you can get to work overcoming it. After all, the problem named is the problem solved. You can’t move past your fears without confronting the. Figure out your fear and then learn to dance with it.
Here are a few examples of my fears and the dance steps I use to push through:
- Fear of Failure – Every time I step out of my comfort zone, fear of failure jumps up and says hello. This fear manifests when I take a risk with money, with a business, or putting myself in a situation where I risk embarrassment.
Dance Steps – When the fear of failure rises up, I stop and ask myself, “Will I regret NOT doing this?” If the answer, is yes, I go for it. I have a huge red sign in my office that says, “No Limits. No Regrets,” as a constant reminder to live life without limits.
- Fear of Mediocrity – For the first 15 years of my life I lived someone’s else life – a life I was told was how it was supposed to be. I have a burning desire to never go back to that level of consciousness and never want to put limits on my life.
Dance Steps – If you are not growing, you’re dying. Every day I strive to have as many experiences as possible. I don’t have to be the best at everything, but I have to know that I have done my best. Each day I journal and reflect on whether or not I could do better in all areas of my life.
- Fear of Losing Talent – I fear everyone just walking out of my organization.
Dance Steps – I work on my leadership and personal development daily so I can be the best leader possible and stay one step ahead of my team and organization. I always push to find ways to train, excite, challenge, and grow the people in my organization. If I am providing as much value to them as humanly possible, they will never want to leave.
Once you’ve named your fear, then how do you counter-act it? What is a daily habit you can implement into your life to dance with your fear? Look, your fear may never completely go away, but learning how to deal with it, move past it, and not let it rule your life is critical to success. When you all fear to turn into courage, you grow. Learn to use fear to fuel your fire!