We all know the daunting feeling that comes with starting — or trying to start — something new. A new profession. Trying out a new hobby. Learning a new skill. Perhaps even writing and publishing a post here on Medium. Whatever it is, the feelings can be overwhelming even petrifying at times.
Will I fit in? What if I don’t know what to do? I hope I don’t make a fool of myself. Will people laugh at me? These are a few of the questions that run through our minds as we overthink the task ahead. And the answers we give ourselves can be enough to make us quit before we have even begun. But why?
Self-Doubt Is the Killer of Success
The two main reasons for these scary yet unnecessary thoughts and feelings are the fear of the unknown and self-doubt. These two emotions have no doubt caused many people to never reach their full potential. I for one can think of more than a few situations where I have missed out on things as a result of such feelings — maybe you have too?
They say you should live your life without regret but thinking back of times when self-doubt has won the internal battle makes me wonder of how different my life could have been.
That, however, is a very negative frame of mind and instead — as I am more of a ‘glass half full’ type of guy — like to focus on the times where I did overcome the self-doubt, the fear of the unknown, and took the opportunities that were in front of me. And I think of how my life turned out for the better because of them.
One such example of this is when I decided to leave my home country of Northern Ireland and start a new life here in New Zealand. That decision was laced with fear and doubt but I overcame it and it has been the best thing I have ever done with my life. I’m sure you can think of a few life-changing moments also?
Either way self-doubt and the fear of the unknown have the power to change your life, for better or for worse. It’s your decision how you let it affect you.
Fear is Your Friend
It’s human nature to be wary of the unknown. It’s an emotion that we can’t stop but we can control it. We can use it to our advantage. Fear is your friend, welcome it into your life.
When you are feeling the nerves, the butterflies in your stomach, get excited and embrace the emotions your body is showing you. Think of how alive you are feeling at that very moment, the adrenaline pumping, your fingertips tingling. Could there be a bigger sense of living?
Don’t let fear be the reason you don’t make it. Everything is scary until you get started. Take that leap of faith into the unknown and see where it leads. It could be the best thing you have ever done.
“If you’re afraid to lose then you ain’t going to do anything” — Tyson Fury
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