I made a decision the other day. I was running around London (before the first in-person speaking event I’ve done in months!), dutifully wearing a mask, and found myself tutting silently or rolling my eyes at anyone who wasn’t. I did it any time anyone came within less than 6 feet of me, any time someone didn’t use hand gel at the entrance to a shop, and any time anyone behaved in a pre-COVID way. (You know, behaved normally?)
And then, quite suddenly and without any prompting, I stopped. And I made my decision: I was not going to live in fear of my fellow human beings, and I was not going to view every inanimate object or molecule of air as a potential disease-carrying-threat. I was done. Fear had taken up far too much space in my brain for far too long, and I was done. Yes, I would continue to follow the “rules” and be “sensible”, but I wasn’t going to live in judgment or fear while doing so.
And then it got me thinking about a conversation I had just a few days ago with a new-found friend in Genoa. She was telling me about the work she and her partners do around helping women reclaim the space and energy normally given over to fear. And that got me thinking about just how much space and energy fear takes up in our lives. And how many things we do or not do on a daily basis because we are afraid (COVID aside).
On any given day, how many of us don’t send an email, make a phone call, or have a conversation because we’re afraid of rejection or confrontation? How many of us don’t put ourselves forward for an award/a promotion/an interview/insert-anything-here because we’re afraid of what people will think of us? How many of us don’t start working on our businesses because we’re afraid of failure? How many of us keep working at jobs or playing a role that shrinks our souls because we’re afraid of losing prestige in the eyes of others?
Fear, fear, and more fear – big, small, existential, trivial – it follows us throughout our day. Every. Single. Day.
But, my dear Entreprenoras, it doesn’t have to be that way. We don’t need to let fear boss us around. We can tell fear to shut the hell up and get the hell out. We can realize that fear isn’t always protecting us (often just the opposite). And we can view fear for what it is (information) without presuming that the information is telling us to stop or stay small.
When we decide against fear, that decision changes everything internally. And so often our fear is internally manufactured, anyway, not externally real (unless we’re face-to-face with a tiger!).
So the next time we find ourselves being/doing/saying something – or not – because of fear, let’s stop. Let’s take just one step closer to where we want to be instead of where our fear has told us to stay.
Let’s decide against fear and for ourselves.