I used to believe that something was wrong with me when my dreams scared me shitless. Sometimes just thinking about their boldness made me wanna curl up in bed. I thought this was something I needed to overcome in order to reach my dreams like the successful peeps.
What I’ve recently realized is that being scared out of your mind is a natural part of the journey. Everybody I admire regularly steps out of their comfort zone to reach for dreams that feel incredibly big and ambitious. I used to think that they had something figured out that I didn’t, that they knew a magic ingredient to living your dreams that is only shared in the successful dreamers VIP lounge over some felix felicis (yes, I’m a Harry Potter fan).
I thought they had a mystical step by step formula that would make the fear disappear so they could make stuff happen. There is no such thing. If any, here’s the one I’ve come to identify walking through my own life with my nerd scientist glasses on:
The oh so secret formula to reaching your dreams (aka a recipe in developing courage)
1. Acknowledge the fear. There’s no way around admitting that fear is there, and ignoring it won’t get you into the cool kids’ club. If you deny it, it’s likely going to find a way of sabotaging you in the form of procrastination or busyness.
2. Trust in your dream. You don’t need to be without self-doubt (!) to live your dreams. You can debate whether or not you’re a fraud numerous times per day and still move forward (although I wouldn’t recommend it, it’s not a lot of fun). All you need to do is find enough courage to trust that your dream is out there waiting for you, and that if you can just move towards it, it will eventually happen.
3. Listen to your fear. From time to time, listen to what fear tells you without taking it personally. Remember, fear might tell you you’re a complete slimeball for even trying, so don’t pay to much attention to its language. But do make an effort to understand why you’re scared and if there’s a limiting belief at it’s root that you need to address moving forward.
4. Show up consistently. Identify the #1 thing you need to do to reach your dream and do a little bit of it each day. Make it small enough so that fear won’t talk you out of it. Then just do it. Show up again and again. If fear wins and you miss a day, get back tomorrow. Remember, it’s consistency over intensity.
This is courage.
Courage doesn’t mean making fear and self-doubt disappear, but taking action in spite of it.
So if you have this big vision and it scares you shitless, that’s okay. Just make sure that fear doesn’t talk you out of taking action.
If you want to learn more about courage, I always turn to Kate Courageous when I feel I need some guidance. If you decide to hang out at her blog, tell her I sent you.
- "This Is Too Big for Me" – No, It's Not. Here's How to Beat the Odds
- How to Escape A Life That Bores You to Death
- Too Much to Do Too Little Time: How to Get Off The Hamster Wheel
- Why You Need to Live Your Dreams to Make Your Life Meaningful (spoiler alert: you will die)
- Unhappiness 101
- How to Do What You Love, Change the World & Get Paid to Do it
- Let's Challenge the Scientists: The Happiness Experiment (join us!)
- What to Do When Everything Plain Sucks: A Gentle Suck-Day Survival Kit
- The Beauty of a Morning Ritual: How it Can Help You Get Your Joy Back
- Burnout Is Not Cool. I Know You’re Serious About Your Dream, But Stop Killing Yourself Over It.
- Listen to your intuition. It trumps your rational mind.
- You can’t skip the fucking journey (& why I haven’t been blogging as much)