The word is FEAR
As a society, we’ve let our fears pile up inside of our brains and multiply like a germ in a petri dish. The more we let the fear live inside our heads, the more momentum it builds. Momentum can be extremely beneficial or devastatingly punishing. The less we challenge our fears, the stronger they become. Fear is the antithesis of a muscle. The less you challenge it, the stronger it gets every single day.
I NEVER want to post as a hypocrite, so I’m going to tell you a list of the recent fears I’ve tackled. Each of these fears caused noticeable challenge and changes needing to be made to my life. With each fear, I’ll provide some background. I want you to know everyone has fears. Not everyone will put them out in the open.
- Stomach Disease – A few years back, I was diagnosed with a stomach disease (Ulcerative Colitis) and it was extremely challenging for a while knowing when nature would call (i.e. I went to the bathroom a lot!). To say this changed my life would be an understatement. This caused me to be worried any time I went anywhere for more than 20-30 minutes. Well I obviously traveled frequently for work, so this was NOT an easy task. The bigger worry was the potential embarrassment I may encounter should the worst possible scenario happen while traveling with co-workers. I was terrified about this frequently and until I finally told others of my situation, I felt like I was hiding potential doom every day.
- Cancer & Tobacco – My addictive personality and chewing tobacco made for a beautiful relationship (totally joking, but true). I thought when I went in to get my stomach issues looked at I was going to be told I had cancer. I mean after all, I’d earned it with the frequency of tobacco placed between my lip and gum. Thankfully, this was not the case and all the reason to stop the habit immediately. FEAR in this case won for the positive. What wasn’t easy was kicking the habit. Eventually I got there with the help of my wife and great friends, but I was literally afraid to quit at the start. Sounds stupid (I know), but true.
- Parenthood – My wife and I planned to start a family soon after we got married. This was a little over five years ago. After a few years of it not happening, we thought it may never happen. This fear wore on us. It beat us down every time someone asked, “Why don’t you guys have kids?” We didn’t have the heart to tell them we’d been trying, yet we did have the anger building up to stare right through them. I truly believe it started to get better when we told others of our challenge and found many others like us struggling with the same issue. For those that know us, we’re now the proud parents of a beautiful baby boy named Landon. I think we turned the corner when our fears and anxiety met the light of day and openness of conversation with cherished friends.
- Complacency – This may seem extremely odd compared to the previous (and definitely more serious) elements of fear listed above, but it is real. I’m terrified I don’t do enough. I don’t take enough calculated risks and go bigger, faster, harder than I’m currently doing. I fear someone else is putting in more effort and could be getting a step ahead of where I stand today. For some reason, I believe this is the fear of growing older and not looking back with regret. I can’t stand the feeling or thought of regret.
Why do I tell you all of this?
Because fears have a much tougher time living in your head and gaining momentum when they’re introduced to oxygen and the world. I don’t know this to be 100% true, but tell me the number of times you’ve heard of someone, only one person, in the ENTIRE WORLD facing a challenge? It doesn’t happen too often!
This is the exact reason we have to get our fears out. Share them. Write them down. Talk about them with those you trust. Fears do not stand a chance when they are introduced to: oxygen, friendship, and action. The reason is pretty ridiculous and simple. Fears grow with stagnation. You have to do what author Jon Acuff suggests when he says, “Punch fear in the face!”
Fears are CRUSHED when challenged.
ACTION ITEM: I want to you put one of your fears out in the open. If you’re comfortable with it, I’d really love to see a list of fears fill the comments section of this post. The tribe will be there to support you. I promise. Get comfortable in attack mode.