Let’s face it; we all have a fear of something. I know people that are afraid of spiders, heights, speaking in front of an audience or flying in an airplane. While those things don’t impact me, snakes and needles are high on my list of things to avoid! While some fear is healthy as our body warns us of danger, fear can also be debilitating. When fear sets in, it causes us to stop in our tracks and lose focus of everything else around us.
I had the opportunity to serve on a women’s retreat weekend recently and the visual for the weekend showed a woman pushing through the gates of fear toward the hope of a brighter future. I began to think about the fears that we face in our daily lives. We may have the fear of financial despair, the fear of safety for those we love, the fear that the dreams we held are not coming to fruition. One thing I know about fear, it will steal your joy. How can you keep the fear of the future from robbing you of the joy of today?
In order to be an effective leader or a happy person, you must conquer your fears. Occasionally we find ourselves in a situation that was unplanned and unwanted. I never wanted to live alone. There was a time in my life, however, that my circumstances changed and I was a single parent part of the time and alone part of the time. There were times I fell apart and yet I learned so much during this time about life and about myself. I discovered some hidden talents and learned things that I never knew. I can truly say that I have conquered my fear of being alone. It is still not my desire to live alone, but I know that I can be happy on my own.
Often in our work environment, we have a fear of failure. Internally I believe we all want to be the best. Instead of embracing the gifts that we have been given and seeing the good, we look around envy the talents and abilities of others. The amusing thing is that those we want to emulate are also feeling inadequate. Comparison to others will never propel you forward and often creates a cradle of fear – the fear that you don’t measure up.
The only way to conquer your fear is to embrace it and push through. Each time that you face your fear and are not defeated by it, you become stronger. If you need someone to give you a push or walk beside you to conquer your fear, just ask.
When you conquer your fear, you gain confidence and satisfaction. I was amazed at the end of a school year, when a young teacher resigned her position and told me that she and her husband were going to drive north, find a city that they liked and stay there. Neither had jobs secured or relatives in the direction they moved. They did not appear to be afraid of what the future held, but were ready to find joy in the new environment they discovered.
I have personally witnessed people in jobs that they didn’t like, but they stayed in the job because they feared a change. It was only when they were forced out of that job because of downsizing that they flourished in a new career.
What fears do you face today? What is hindering you from enjoying the life that you have been given?
The truth is that none of us know what tomorrow brings. Why worry about what you cannot control? You woke up this morning – enjoy today. Don’t miss the gentle rain, the spring flowers beginning to open, the smile someone gave you today or the fact that you were able to give a smile to another. There is much freedom in living in the moment. Life is too short to not live it in joy. Cast your fears aside and embrace all that life has to offer you!