by Deborah Hartung, founder of Pivot PeopleTech
There’s a saying that has always really resonated with me: “In life, we regret more the things we didn’t do, than the things we did.” I know these words to be true and I am sure that you’ve experienced the very same thing at least once in your life to date. If we are all honest with ourselves, we know that the reason why we don’t actively pursue the things we want. Is because of some or other form of fear. We are afraid of failure. We are afraid of what others may think or say about what we are doing. Worst of all, there’s always a small part of us that is afraid of actual success and of truly owning our greatness.
I don’t want to live with regrets and I don’t want to look back on my life and see only missed opportunities and roads not travelled. I want to have stories to tell and lessons learned that I can share with others. I want to be able to say that I did it all and I have no regrets. I want you to be able to do the same. So here’s what we’re going to do:
Fear of Failure
Our ego is a powerful and destructive force in our lives and she tends to feed us a lot of complete and utter BS about a lot of different things. If you’re afraid of failure or of rejection (which is really just another form of ‘failure’ in your mind), there are two things that I have found really work for me and help me deal with this fear. “Failure” is a demon of our own making and it’s really just a way of shaming ourselves and others for not achieving a goal they set out to achieve. Please banish this word from your vocabulary. There is no such thing as ‘failure’. There is only disappointment at not getting what you had wanted when you initially set out and there is always learning, growth and opportunity to be found in not getting what we wanted.
Another technique that I personally find helpful in defeating the fear of ‘failure’ or rejection, is to ask myself ‘what is the absolute worst that can happen?’. I lay it all out there for myself. All the scenarios in my head of things that most likely will never come to pass. I write them down and I sit with them and I look at all of these little gremlins and I apply all the logic and all the analytical thinking I possibly can. I consider whether these ‘worst things’ will matter in a day or a week or a year and I’ve not yet come across one single thing that is going to matter long term or impact my or my family’s lives forever. Once you’ve faced the worst things your mind can conjure up, this fear has no more power over you.
Fear of what others may think
You only have one life and you need to live it on your own terms. Your goals and dreams are yours and you need to do the work it’s going to take to make those a reality. Distance yourself from negative people who have a problem for every solution. Surround yourself with people who are smarter than you and people who encourage and support you to be the best version of ‘you’. Stop caring about the opinions of others who likely don’t understand what you’re doing or who aren’t brave and bold enough to chase their own dreams and follow their own hearts. You cannot allow the opinions of others – opinions that won’t matter in a week or a year, anyway – to deprive you of your joy and living your purpose.
Fear of Success
I know this sounds counter-intuitive, but it happens to us more often than we think. Part of this is because we have been programmed and socialized our entire lives to think that there is somehow something wrong with wanting to have wealth or career success or to be as fit and healthy as possible or look as good as possible. It’s all just part of the very societal machinations that benefit from us being little grey cardboard cut-out humans who are compliant and don’t question the status quo. They benefit from us playing small and it allows them to hold onto their power. The multi-billion dollar global diet industry benefits from us believing that being voluptuous or curvaceous or carrying a few extra pounds, is unattractive or unhealthy. The global phenomenon that is the self-help industry is benefitting from our insecurities and our beliefs that there is something ‘wrong’ with us. Just do ‘you’ and set the intention to be the best version of ‘you’, possible. Stop playing small and robbing yourself of your best life.
As you set your goals for the next year and you start planning how you’re going to achieve these, keep in mind that your fears – all of them – are liars and they will keep you playing small of you let them. Do not feed the fears. Do not focus on the risk so much and focus instead on the reward. You won’t always get what you wanted and some people are going to say no to your ideas. Get up and try again tomorrow, drawing on the lessons you have learned and seek new opportunities for growth and improvement. You aren’t here to play small or hide your sparkle.
You are a Lioness of Africa. Go out there and own it, girl!
Photo credit: Joyce McCown on Unsplash
Deborah Hartung is a consultant, coach, author and speaker, and the founder of Pivot PeopleTech. She loves helping entrepreneurs find their unique voice and leadership style in order to empower them to create amazing places where people truly want to work. She has spent the majority of her career in HR and labour relations management and consulting, gaining experience in all fields related to the human experience in the workplace. While her main focus remains on consulting, coaching and training in the HR and labour relations space, Deborah is passionate about people and technology and the opportunities for the advancement of humanity in the digital age. Professionally, Deborah is known as an HR turnaround specialist with a proven track record in improving workplace culture, employee engagement and organisational effectiveness. www.pivotpeopletech.co.za
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