What Would You Do If You Weren’t Afraid?
I’ve always thought of myself as a fearless person. Before I can remember, my parents used to throw me in their jeep and take me to the dunes for some adventurous rides. As I grew up, I moved on to riding four-wheelers and dirt bikes on my own, giving me complete freedom and control over my destiny; one wrong turn and it could all be over.
At 15, my family moved to the United States from Chile and I was excited to explore a new world with a different language and culture. I went to college 2,000 miles away from home to go to one of the top engineering schools and then took a job in Utah, where I didn’t know anybody. Last year, I left my comfortable job of four years and completely switched careers to follow my dream.
While all that sounds somewhat courageous, I didn’t realize how much I’ve been holding myself back until I read “The 5 Second Rule” by Mel Robbins. If you pay attention to your thoughts throughout the day, you will be surprised at how many times your brain immediately shuts down your ideas. “That would be so stupid,” “that would be too hard,” “I don’t have the skills to do that,” “I wasn’t born a leader,” “that would take forever,” etc. The list goes on and on. Just pay attention.
Why does our brain work against us, you may ask? Our brain is not really working against us, it is just human nature. When we think of ideas, we know the implications could be great (what if I succeed?) and we get SCARED. When we get scared we have the human reaction of “escaping” so we quickly come up with excuses not to do whatever we came up with. It’s all a vicious cycle. You have to learn to catch yourself when you’re stopping yourself out of fear, and get the courage to pursue what your inner soul is telling you.
I had been wanting to have my own blog for years to share my thoughts and experiences with the world. I tried a few times but always closed it and deleted because I thought “it was stupid and who the hell would want to read that.” I felt it would expose me and I was scared of what people would think. But after I realized that I was holding myself back because I was scared, my attitude changed. Knowing that I was naturally shutting down my own ideas gave me a different perspective on how to deal with fear.
So I said fuck it and started writing.
I put out my first blog and it got one favorite (or clap now). ONE. But I didn’t care. I felt proud of myself for writing it and putting myself out there, it made me happy. For the next one I had a different train of thought. What if I do it through a publication? My brain immediately started coming up with excuses “publications are for actual writers,” “they would never want me to write for them,” “I only have one blog entry why would they ever consider me,” anyway you get it, excuses, excuses, excuses. And then I thought to myself, what do I really have to lose?
Taking a step of courage and failing makes you grow a lot more than just coming out victorious. If you didn’t fail, then you weren’t aiming high enough. I decided to apply for the “Code Like a Girl” publication and cried the next day when I saw that I was accepted as a writer. They published my article and it now has more than 10,000 reads along with some engaging responses. And, to top if all off, I’m now a top writer for “Women In Tech.” All by putting my fears aside and making a simple decision. I still can’t believe it.
You are one decision away from changing your life
Every time you let fear eat up your ideas, you are making the decision not to follow your dreams. Every step of courage counts. You don’t have to grow all in one day, but if you make small steps of courage everyday, your life will change.
I was thinking to myself after all these realizations.
What is life all about? What will make me feel fulfilled? What will make me happy?
It’s not money, security, or anything else. It’s allowing myself to be who I am supposed to be. To be courageous and let my inner self out and flourish. To be the best person I can possibly be. Now tell me,
What would you do if you weren’t afraid?