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Stop Fear in its Tracks: Three Steps to Making your Dreams a Reality

Growing up I used to call my little sister The Queen of Excuses, her ability to mastermind excuses was impressive. I allowed myself to call her that because I was the “Get’er Done Daughter”. There was nothing I couldn’t do or that I wouldn’t try. Sadly, at some point in my adult life, I began to care too much about other’s opinions of me which crippled my “get’er Done” attitude with fears of inadequacy and failure.

My “I will” statements became “I’ll try” statements, my tenacious spirit became cautious, and good intentions replaced former action. I admire people who can honestly say, “New day new me!” I don’t know about you, but for me, it may be a new day, but I’m still the same overthinker who struggles deeply with imposture syndrome.

This pandemic forced me to take a hard look in the mirror and face all of the insecurities and excuses that have held me back from starting the business I first dreamed of 15 years ago, which were a lack of time, money, resources, knowledge, energy, and certainty. This pandemic revealed how little we actually control; there will never be a perfect time to start anything. We must be willing to leap in faith and do what we dream of doing. Yes, we will fail somewhere along the line, but failure isn’t final unless you give up.

What holds us back from pulling the trigger on our dreams?

I allowed the fears of failure, inadequacy, and the unknown to keep me from starting my own business, and do you know what my biggest regret is? Not starting sooner. I wish I had embraced the fact that that failing doesn’t make me a failure any more than being able to cook makes me a chef. I was consumed by the thought that I needed to know everything before I started, or I’d fail. I often wonder what opportunities I missed by not starting sooner. I learned a hard lesson: fear is temporary, but regret is forever.

Fear and doubt often kill the aspirations of our hearts before we even attempt to materialize them. We have been conditioned to believe that failure is the worst thing that can happen to us; however, failure is inevitable, it’s a part of life and it’s not fatal. Failure is simply a step we often are forced to take on the road to success. Once we redefine what failure is: a part of the journey to success, taking the first step seems far less daunting. When failure is a part of the journey, it no longer becomes the cliff that causes us to stop and turn around it but becomes the bridge to a different path.

3 steps to overcome fear and make your dreams a reality

1. Acknowledge your fear of the unknown: Remind yourself that the unknown can only become known by stepping into that space. Acknowledge your fear of failure. Remind yourself that failure is and always will be a part of success; it is failure that allows average ideas to become exceptional realities. Can one truly enjoy and understand success without adversity or failure?

2. Invite others in to share their wisdom: Suffocating the notion of “I” and embracing the idea of “we” is one of the best decisions we can make when stepping into unknown territory. There is wisdom in a multitude of counselors, you don’t have to take the journey alone. One of the hardest and most humbling choices I have made on this journey was to ask someone I admire to mentor me. I struggled with believing I was worthy of someone else’s time and energy. To date, this has been one of the most rewarding experiences that continues to help me face my insecurities and be accountable.

3. Accept that things won’t be perfect at first: However, they will continue to get better as you get better. Commit time to your craft and be a diligent student. Growth comes through adversity, trial and error, and facing your fears head-on. Growth and comfort can’t coexist. To do better you must know better, and to know better you must be willing to learn.

My dad always said, “There is no shortcut to any place worth going.” We can’t know the unknown until we step into it. Jump each hurdle in faith; trusting that though you don’t know what is on the other side you are capable of figuring it out. “You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.”- A.A. Milne


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