I’m sure you’ve heard the saying; everything you want, but don’t yet have, is on the other side of your comfort zone. Does it annoy you as much it does me? People who say it, often have a smug look on their face, like, the cat who got the canary, or, the penguin who woke the polar bear with symbols, and, survived! Do you ever want to slap these people and tell them, that your life is okay, and you don’t need them prancing around telling you what you should and shouldn’t do? Me too!
Fear is a word, actually a feeling, that either paralyses or propels, all depending on how it’s perceived. Unfortunately for many people they allow the feeling to paralyse them. It’s important to understand here that feelings don’t just appear out of thin air, they aren’t lucky or unlucky and no one else is to blame for your feelings. Every emotion we experience is the result of a thought. Again, no one chooses your thoughts, except you. People may try to influence you, television will start to coerce you, and society will definitely impact you, but you are in control of your thoughts.
Therefore, if you choose your thoughts and your thoughts lead to the emotions you experience, then you are responsible for your emotion. There are many destructive emotions, but the one we are talking about this week is fear. You may have heard the acronym of fear as False Evidence Appearing Real. What this is actually saying is that we incorrectly perceive, or think about, a situation which leads to the damaging emotion of fear. Now, don’t get me wrong, we are not ever going to eliminate fear, and in fact some fear is good, because it keeps us alive. It stops most of us from getting too close to the edge of a tall building, picking up a venomous snake, or endangering our life in some other way. However, we seem to default to fear far too easily these days, and I can tell you it is robbing you, and I, of the life we were put on this planet to enjoy.
Honestly, is it really worth being scared of making the phone call, unsure of what the person at the other end of the line will say? What’s the worst that could happen? Should we really be afraid of trying something new when the worst thing that could possibly go wrong is making a mistake and then learning from it? Why be afraid of changing careers or starting a business when it could possibly lead to the greatest joy and achievement of your life? Why be afraid of attempting to regain lost health, when it will happen predictably, one day at a time. I have spoken to many aspiring authors, so scared of what others will think about their book, it stops them from ever writing it. There is only one way they will ever know what other people think. The tragedy is that it could have turned out for them like Harry Potter did for JK Rowling, but they’ll never know. Fear is stopping people, maybe even you from doing exactly the thing you need to do to have what you want. Are you ready to do it anyway?
Just have courage for the first step.
Any great achievement is the culmination of small daily steps. No one flies, like superman, to the top of the mountain, they walk up one challenging, painful and slow step at a time. The top seems unreachable, but each step is doable, so all you need is to have courage to take that first step. Great things will happen, one day, one step and one little scary action each day, so have just enough courage to take that first step.
I have spoken before about 1500m swimmer, Kieren Perkins, an Australian Olympic legend. He swam in three consecutive Olympic games, 1992, 1996 and 2000, winning two gold medals and one silver medal. I think we can all agree, that’s a pretty impressive achievement. Now, do you think, when he was a young teen starting on his swimming journey, he ever considered that a possibility? It would have been a terrifying and overwhelming thought that may have even stopped him from swimming. His coach was very smart. Instead of teaching Kieren to watch other swimmers and compete to beat them, he taught him to just focus on daily improvement.
Kieren’s only goal was to beat his previous best time, irrespective of the other swimmers. In one of his early competition races, when he was a child, he dived into the pool, swam the race, looked up at his time and saw that he had swam faster than ever before. So excited, he jumped out of the pool, ran around yelling to his mum and dad, ‘Did you see that mum & dad, did you see that? Look at my time!!’ His mother, a little embarrassed, said, ‘Yes, dear, well done, let’s go home now.’ She was embarrassed because Kieren had come dead last, by a long way in a 50m race! He didn’t care, he was thrilled to have beaten his previous best time.
It was this daily commitment to just improve one day at a time, that took him to the top in the sport and help him to achieve what most people would consider impossible for them. I’m sure a young Kieren would have also thought it impossible for him. What was possible for him, however, and for you, was the next step, the next swim and the next day. You will never have to fight a dragon, stop a moving train, win a gold medal without any training, sing perfectly without any practice or do anything that contributes to you being as fearful as you may be right now. Just have a little courage to take the first step.
Is this making sense to you? You truly are good enough, and, the amount of fear you may be creating around the things you want is unnecessary and destructive. So, if this is you… stop it! Understand very clearly that you only need a little bit of courage to simply take the first step. Trust me, this will be the most courage you will need, because once the first step is taken, you will be feeling clearer, more confident and the next step won’t take as much courage. Or the next, or the next, or the next. You just need that little bit of courage to get started. In fact, just as Benjamin Mee said to his teenage son, ‘You just need twenty seconds of insane courage, and something great will always come of it.’
If the best-case scenario excites you, if the worst-case scenario is bearable and if you have no conclusive evidence to prove that you can’t achieve success, then have the courage to get started and see where it leads. I can tell you, from personal and purposeful experience, this has always been my approach in life, and, served me very well. It has helped me; play professional football, build businesses, become a successful author and led me to many other wonderful blessings in my life. It will do the same for you. So, please, for your benefit, that of your family and the life you are destined to live, have a little courage today, and, take the first or the next step.