Have you made no progress in your goals and dreams in recent months?
Have opportunities for progress come your way but you did not seize them? Do you regret not taking those opportunities because you realize they are not coming again?
Take a moment to think about why you let those opportunities to escape you.
Fear is the one and main reason why we let opportunities for our progress to slip past us.
Fear causes us to play life safe.
Fear causes us to believe that we cannot handle the bumps and obstacles in our path of success.
Don’t get me wrong. Some fear is good. Fear of dangerous situations that could harm you physically and emotionally will help you to avoid those situations. For example, fear of road accidents and rules ensure you put on your seatbelt when driving. Fear has the potential for you to adopt mitigation and safety procedures that prevents you from flying through th windscreen in a vehicular collision.
But this same fear and our tendencies to use safety procedures could become so severe in other areas of our life that we lose out on opportunities to achieve our goals and opportunities for our own growth. And most times when we allow opportunities past us we tend to slow down and even lose sight of our goals and dreams.
Fear and being overly cautious work against us in areas of life that allow us to grow. For example, fear of rejection may prevent writers from submitting their article to publications and journals. But, when you don’t even pitch or submit your work, you miss on the opportunity that your article might just be accepted.
Fear of the unknown future stops us from seizing all opportunities before us.
What most people don’t realize is that you need to seize the opportunity to really find out for certain whether you will progress or not. When you make the decision to allow fear to stop you from seizing the opportunity, you guarantee your failure. Playing it safe guarantees failure.
One of the regrets of the dying is the regret of not having the courage to live a life true to oneself. We tend to regret not doing something rather than doing it. We regret their unfulfilled dreams.
Playing it safe and giving in to fears are not helpful to living the life you want. Here are 3 tips to help you to take action on your dreams when you want to play it safe.
1. What are the worst things that could happen to you?
First consider what is the worst thing that could happen to you. What feelings are you afraid of anticipating?
Our fears manifest in different ways: fear of failure, fear of success and further commitment, fear of inadequacy, and fear of unworthiness.
Each of these fears have different anticipated feelings.
Fear of failure is related to disappointment and embarrassment.
Fear of success and further commitment bring up anxiety about greater responsibilities.
Fear of inadequacy is about you believing that that you are not competent.
Fear of unworthiness is related to you feeling you do not deserve to have this opportunity.
Recognize the fear and the anticipated feelings.
2. Does the situation allow you to grow or connect?
When considering the best things that could happen to you, think of how the opportunity will help you grow. Here are a few questions you can ask yourself to determine if you can grow if you seize the opportunity.
Will you gain more knowledge?
Will you learn new skills? Will you get to apply th skills you currently have?
Will you gain a better quality of life?
Will it help you to network with new people who could support you later on? Will it help you to connect to a group you always wanted to serve?
Will it bring joy and peace to your life?
3. Turn your fears into opportunities
Sometimes we cannot see the good in our fears. But, if you are feeling afraid of a situation, you need to look at it closely. An opportunity is lurking somewhere in its vicinity.
We all tend to make instinctive decisions based on our fears. Instead, slow down and assess the benefits and threats of the fear. The benefits might just show you the way to the opportunity.
4. Turn opportunities into actions
An opportunity remains an opportunity unless you take action. Taking action is what will lead you to progress in your goals and dreams.
To turn opportunities into action, think through this statement:
“If I could change my life right now, I would [action].”
If the action is small enough that you could immediately do it then do it, or pencil it to be done within the next 24 hours. If not then take that action and chunk it down smaller and smaller until it becomes several specific actions you could take.
For example, “If I could change my life right now, I would write a book on how to lose weight based on my experience.” The smaller actions that you could take might be:
- Think of the different things that helped you to lose weight
- Put these into chapters
- For each chapter, write a short story on how you used the main techniques.
- For each chapter write down the techniques
- Do research on how other people used the same techniques or how they adapted them
- Do research on the scientific evidence for the usefulness of the techniques
- Review the outline
- Draft one section at a time
- Hire a developmental editor and copy editor to edit your draft
- Send the draft to the developmental editor
- Revise one section at a time
- Send the draft to the developmental editor again
- Revise one section at a time
- Send the revised draft to a copy editor
- Review the book chapter by chapter
Some of the chunks above can be done in one sitting such as putting your ideas into chapters. Others will require more chunks. For example, writing a short story on your experience for each chapter involve a number of actions such as brainstorming the story points and then writing the draft.
Your fears could either prevent you from making use of opportunities to progress your goals and dreams or act as a catalyst for them.
Always think logically through the benefits and worst case scenarios that could happen if you seize an opportunity. Even so, you will realize that each opportunity will help you to grow.
Your fears will always be with you. But, don’t allow them to prevent you from creating the life you desire. Convert your fears to opportunities and convert your opportunities to actions. The life you want will come from you taking action.
Is it easy to convince yourself to move past your fears to grab the opportunities presented to you? No, but the effort is worth it in the long-term for you to create the life you desire.