What keeps you from living the story you want? What keeps you from doing a difficult work that matters?
Is it fear?
I read an article on the internet last month about fear. The point was simple. Fear keeps us from living better stories. I certainly agree.
The author went on then to offer the obvious remedy. Stop being afraid.
But I would tell you something different about what to do with your fear.
Stop Being Afraid
I’m afraid of snakes. I was out of town recently and my wife sent me a text saying there was a snake in the house. I was thousands of miles away and I felt a shiver down my spine. That sensation was fear.
There are some things we should consider no longer being afraid of.
- Does the fear of flying keep you from taking your dream trip to Europe?
- Does the fear of Montezuma’s revenge keep you from going on a mission trip to Central America?
- Does the fear of failure keep you from starting your own business?
Many of our fears are irrational. They make no sense, and we need to tell the fear to get lost.
Sometimes we have to get over ourselves and grab the snake by the tail and put it in a box.
Some stories are about traveling. Some stories are about risky business ventures. Some are about snake handling.
But some stories, and I would argue truly better stories, are about living a life of sacrifice.
When we choose to give of ourselves, it becomes painful. Sacrifice takes our time. Sacrifice takes our money. Sacrifice may even take our lives.
Sacrifice is something that any normal person should be afraid of.
The more incredible your story is, the more it will demand of you. The greater the sacrifice, the more it will cost.
When you choose a life of sacrifice for the good of others, it will hurt. And you will be very afraid. Every single day.
Incredible sacrifice produces a fear so intense, that I do no think you can stop it.
Even Jesus was afraid.
What Will You Do?
Instead of shoving your fear aside, I think you need to embrace it for what it is. Anything else would be lying to yourself.
Your story doesn’t depend on whether or not you stop being afraid of what it might cost. In fact I hope you are considering doing something that makes you very afraid. Something that makes you stop and reconsider. Something that scares the living day lights out of you. Something that forces to ask yourself repeatedly, “What if?”
The issue isn’t fear, but what you choose to do in spite of it. The decision you make when you feel the fear.
Do you proceed or do you turn back? Will you take the next step or will you give up?
Better stories are born when you take a step forward despite your greatest fears. (Tweet that.)
And I believe that the only way you can begin when you are deathly afraid is when the story truly matters.
So, what are you afraid of?
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