Fear Holds You Back, Let It Teach You

by Kenneth Rayman on November 21, 2018
Fear keeps us from experiencing our potential, we all know this. That inner monologue can be the worst enabler of the fear. Though two years of personal growth have taught me lessons that have changed my life, I worry that those words seem trite. Personal transformation IS a change however, it just looks small in theory but is big in practice and continous and unending. At that two year mark, I got a diagnosis that has plagued my family for the last 15 years, taking the lives of my mother and my brother. With a life altering moment as this, perspective was given to any fear and not living life to the fullest.

I joined support groups but realized that social media, like it’s ability to give hate a loud platform, gives the desperate a platform to complain and be passive bystanders in their own lives. Engaging in personal growth allowed me to shift my mindset enough to know that complaining does nothing and what I saw in the groups were people who had given up and let life drive them instead of them driving it. My only thought as I unfollowed the groups was, “instead of moping, taking pictures of bruises and discolored extremities, asking if you should go to the ER, realize that time is short for us and do something now!”

As a coach I’ve started working with recently discussed on her podcast, “living ‘safe’ doesn’t guarantee safety.” Baby steps will get you on the right path; but as I’ve learned from another coach, if you’re focused on the end goal, your baby steps will seem futile if your mindset isn’t right.

“Mindset is key” also sounds trite as well but while Mindset is “the thing,” focus on what works for you. For me it was finding out that my weaknesses or issues were preprogrammed in my mind and out of date. The concept of my brain running on out of date software, where my fear felt with “failure” had the same intensity as if I were being chased as a caveman by a predator, was the context I needed. The fear was irrational in comparison to a limited intelligence that only understood a creature with sharp teeth and three times the strength may be stalking me.

Yet finding these nuggets that provide “AHA” moments and that connect unrelated ideas through context and critical thinking can be detrimental. It can be detrimental if you don’t know when to stop devouring information and act. At one point I had 7 different podcasts on my phone’s app. That was unsustainable as I could not keep up with that many. Nor had a few maintained their usefulness; either the message had changed or I started to divert from the interview style. Either way, I chose to follow only those I truly resonated with, only following the person to other podcasts when they did interviews with them. I added to my library of “mentors” but I ended up subtracting more; finding my core, but remaining open to others. Living in a big city means you get stuck in traffic often and podcasts for me were a lifesaver. Rather than mindlessly listening to the same cd or music on the radio, I could turn my car into what Jim Kwik calls “a university on wheels” but having too many podcasts leads to information overload since you won’t be stuck in traffic every day.

I learned something from GaryVee the other day as well, “If you have a voice telling you can’t do it, someone else put it there.” That saying rang true for me as I always felt like, and still do at times, that I don’t have drive or ambition to do what my heart calls for because I’ve been trained to think about survival first, “fun” second. But survival mode peaks at the moment it’s need is met and the cycle starts all over again preoccupying you to never give in to your interests, and when you do you feel guilt.

I recently had a thought of how I was always “needing resources before I did something” or that I couldn’t do it because of self confidence and self consciousness and then I met a gentleman at Mindvalley U who is unable to lift anything over a few pounds and wheelchair bound but has accomplished so much in the realm of disability advocacy that he’s spoken before governments, founded his own company, and travels the world independently with his assistant. Returning home from Tallinn, I felt a shift in my life because the leap I took to see the world and therefore the difference in my “regular” world. With the gentleman I met and very soon discovering a man my age in Chicago with my same disability in a Facebook group making the best of his life by sharing his thoughts as motivation, I said to myself, “What have I done when they have done what I’ve wanted, with less?” The guy from Mindvalley hadn’t let his disability hinder his travel around the world and the guy in Chicago was sharing his voice with the world and here I was worrying about resources before doing anything. I had the equation backwards because of fear.

Fear kept me in a computer’s “safe mode.” The lights were on, food was in the fridge, etc., so I should be happy and grateful. Grateful? Yes. Happy? No. I was in a dead end job waiting for a door to open to an opportunity that I wanted but repeatedly never came and all the while neglected taking the chance of just going for it and living my dream.

Since deciding to do this full time I’ve had only one thing stopping me from hoping on a plane and going on another Heart Called Discovery and that was my sick puppy who passed away a week and a half. I wanted to make plans for her to go to family while I was gone but she was too sick and I had to stay until something was figured out with her before either of us hop’d on a plane to our respective adventures.

I’ve had the naysayers already but I hear their concerns as my past fears and I can’t and won’t let them win again. I am following my heart instead of living in fear and doing what I’ve wanted to do all along and never had the courage to do before. Fear stole too much time from me; are you letting fear steal something from you?