Be Afraid

I’ve come to see that “What would you do if you were not afraid?” is an unhelpful question because of course we are afraid; especially when we are contemplating reshaping our lives in pursuit of our dreams!

A crucial step in the pursuit of our dreams is the processing of fear. 
Fear shows up in many ways, some of them subtle- for example what’s expected of me and what other people think of me can be a big deal. Many a son or daughter’s dream has been crushed by the heavy weight of a parent’s expectation or disapproval.

I don’t think dreaming should be a fearful thing; to dream is to liberate ourselves from the expectations and opinions of others and ironically our expectations and opinions of ourselves. To dream in some ways is to release ourselves from the burden of expectations of others.

Strictly speaking fear doesn’t shut down our imagination, we do. Why? Because when we allow ourselves to imagine we start to imagine the worst. That scares us and we shut down our imagination. 

In the pursuit of our dreams one of the most powerful ways to deal with fear is to process it. 

Allow your imagination to run wild with the worst that could happen and then ask yourself how bad that would be.

It sounds scary and somewhat counter intuitive but for most of us most of the time we’ll discover the worst-case scenario is not that bad or scary. One of the ways to disarm fear is to force it to be specific. 

I guess that’s my way of saying what Jeffers said far more eloquently - face your fears and do it any way.

If, by the way, the worst is that bad then do what all good project managers do and have a contingency plan in the event the dream turns into a nightmare. Plan for the best but be prepared for the worst. You are never in a mess if you have a plan!

Remember if you don’t process your fear at this stage then you will more than likely not allow yourself to imagine, and lack of imagination is the reason most of us don’t dream.

Mark Lawrence is a leadership and culture consultant