I think one of the biggest fears we face is our lives is fear of failure. I also think a close second is the fear of success. How can that be? How could the two of these be related and do we even know when we have those fears? Sometimes we feel like we are sort of "stuck" in our lives. Not really moving forward or backwards, but just sitting. Being in this position can be frustrating, however, a lot of us would prefer that feeling because although it is monotonous, it is comfortable. No real stress other than the frustration and it's a known frustration at that. So we spend a majority of our time that way until we can't take it anymore.
Either One Means Change - I once heard a minister's wife say that "when the pain of staying the same becomes greater than the pain of change, we will change". I think this is such a true statement. Our lives have things that change that we can't control, so, when there is a change in our life that IS within our control (like buying a new home, changing our jobs or even just changing our routine) we will put it off for a long as we can, even if it would be a fabulous change for us! We put off things because we feel we won't do them correctly (fear of failure) and we put off things because the change might lead to new challenges (fear of success). Change is unsettling. It takes us out of our "safe" place. Our comfort zone. It means we can't predict what will happen next and that means we have no control of our steps until we have to take them. As humans, we all like our environment controlled. So, if the fear of success or failure is rooted in being afraid of change, how do we combat that?
Identify Sources of Fear - I believe one of the biggest fears one can have is the fear of the unknown. When we are facing something new for the first time, we can have a slew of terrifying thoughts and scenarios we play out in our heads because we actually have NO IDEA what to expect. I also believe, if we can identify what we are truly afraid of (even if we have no clue of what is happening next) we can begin to face the threat of that fear. Give what you are feeling a name. Be specific about what is bothering you. If you are afraid of looking for a new job, then what is it about doing that, that scares you the most? That you might not find one? They it won't pay enough? Take time and really identify what the real basis for your fear is.
Face Fear Head On - After you have figured what the main fear is, write it down. Stare at it. Think of all of the worst case scenarios that could happen if this fear happens. What would you do? How would you handle it? What if the worst case scenario was THROWN on you and you had to face it no matter what? What course of action would you take? Who would you get advice from? What would be the very first step to take? Then, think of a fear that would be WORSE than the worst case scenario of that situation. My family means everything to me and fears of something happening to them is paralyzing...HOWEVER, when I am afraid of a new task with my job, or a new activity I am going to try, comparing the fear of success or failure to something happening with a family member, well the fear of success or failure pales in comparison. Sometimes it only takes a slightly larger fear to keep other fears in perspective, too.
Knowledge is Power - Okay. So you have identified what you are really afraid of and put you have put it into perspective. The next step to truly face success or failure is to research everything you can about whatever task, step or idea you may have. The more you know, the more confidence you will have, not to mention the more you will become familiar with the change you are going to be making. Ask for advice from mentors. Talk to others that have faced what you are facing, whether they have succeeded or failed! Sometimes hearing about someone else's failure and how they handled it might just be what you need to hear so you avoid their mistakes or to realize it's not the end of the world if something doesn't work out like you think. In applying this to real estate, if you have fears of buying or selling your home, talk to an expert about the process. Talk to someone who has been through it as well and learn what you can about how everything works. Talk to a lender to see what you can and can't afford. Take control of your finances and make a budget to be better prepared as well. The more you know, the better equipped you will be to face whatever problem may pop up.
Success or failure in general are such relative terms. One person's failure may be another's success. No one is always 100% successful all the time. In fact, most truly successful people at something have failed way more times than you might think. Even those who have failed at major things in their lives aren't necessarily terrible failures in general. You may see someone as a failure when you have no idea how far they may have truly come in some adversity in their lives. Regardless, not trying something because of fear in general is putting your life on hold. You can't push "pause" forever and expecting to keep seeing your story move along. Eventually things just shut down. Time doesn't last forever and we need to make the most of it while we can, so take that chance! Face those things that keep you from moving ahead and see what happens! You might be surprised on how well you handle whichever path the journey might take you on...!
Until Next Time!
Jen Lush--Associate Broker and Mother of Managing Broker Photo Credit: Ian Kim