Fear Goes For a Ride (And It Ain’t Pretty)

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woman looking at the map

You’re thinking about doing something new or different. You want to start a new business, you want to produce a new program, you want to write a book, or you want to have that super difficult conversation with one of your employees or you partner.

Whatever it is you want to do, one thing is almost certain. Fear will pop up and show you all the ways you’re not going to be successful. And then Fear will ask you to go for a ride.

When you get in the car, where does Fear like to sit?

Behind the wheel taking you on a ride through the rough parts of town? You know, Assumption Avenue, Disappointment Drive, Rejection Road, and so many other dark and lonely streets and neighborhoods you really don’t need to visit again.

Or maybe Fear gets in the passenger seat yelling at you about going too fast or making the wrong turn or not seeing the hazard up ahead?

Or maybe Fear likes to get in the back seat constantly nagging you about how long it is taking to get where you want to go or just making a lot of noise in the back of your head preventing you from concentrating on the goal in front of you?

But here’s the thing. It doesn’t matter where Fear sits, he is smart, he’s strong, and he’s a pretty good driver.

I mean, he’s kept you safe all these years. Protecting you from disappointment, rejection, failure, and embarrassment. He’s protected you so many times, you’ve just gotten accustomed to him showing up and taking the reins every time you get the itch to go somewhere new or do something you’ve never done before.

It’s not that you enjoy being in the same car with Fear, you just find it comforting that you don’t have to go out there and make a fool of yourself, because Fear is there to keep you safe and sound.

But Fear is cruel. He keeps you from doing the things you really want to do.

Fear stops you from the big things like starting that new business and having that difficult conversation. But Fear also prevents you from doing some really enjoyable things like trying new foods, meeting new friends, falling in love, and singing karaoke on Wednesday nights!

If you took the wheel away from Fear, you could make all those things happen in just one night!

But how do you do that?

Well, first of all, you need to acknowledge that Fear is here, and you cannot make it go away. It’s just one of our saboteurs and it is here to protect us and that’s ok.

The reason we need to acknowledge Fear is that once we’ve admitted that Fear is in the car with us, we can tell it where to sit.

So where do you want Fear to sit? Certainly not in the driver’s seat. We’ve all seen where that leads us. And if you put him in the back seat, Fear will be an annoyance that will drive you nuts before you’re half way to your destination.

But what if you asked another friend to come along with you and Fear on this little trip? A friend called Courage.

Now let’s get something straight.

Courage is not the absence of Fear, but rather the judgment that something else is more important than Fear.

So you know where Courage sits in the car, right? Yep, in the passenger’s seat. Courage is your new copilot.

Courage gives you guidance and stamina in the face of Fear. She steadies your hand when Fear wants to turn around. She steps on the gas when Fear wants to hit the brakes. And Courage turns around and tells Fear to zip it or we’re pulling over and leaving him on the roadside.

When Fear starts to act up, let Courage be your wing man or wing woman. Ask Courage for a boost when you’re feeling weary. Ask Courage to give you direction when you’re feeling lost. And ask Courage to quiet your Fear down so you can focus on the road ahead.

Remember when I said that Courage is the judgment that something else is more important than Fear?

What is it that Fear is holding you back from? What is more important than the safety and comfort that Fear is currently providing? What might you regret if you let Fear win yet again?

What could you accomplish if you let Courage sit by your side? What greatness could you express with Courage guiding you onward? What would your life look like if you pursued all of your passions and dreams with Courage in the passenger’s seat instead of Fear?

You might try those new foods, perhaps make new friends, possibly fall in love, and maybe even sing “Don’t Stop Believing” at karaoke this Wednesday night? It could happen.

And if you have other dreams, like starting that business, getting that promotion, or having that difficult conversation, remember that Courage is the judgment that those dreams are more important than the ease and protection of Fear.

So next time you get in the car with Fear, where will you ask him to sit? The passenger seat, the back seat, the trunk, or maybe even tied to the roof rack?

Wherever you decide to let Fear sit, be sure to bring your best friend, Courage, along for the ride. She will protect you from doubt, disappointment, and despair. She will shut down Fear and give you the will and want to power through and achieve your biggest dreams.

Your Mindful Moment:

When Fear wants to go for a ride, be sure to invite Courage to be your copilot.

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