How our fears hold us back

Living near the coast in South Carolina, I love the water. I love to swim. But getting there was anything but a pleasant journey. 
 
It all started with my swim lessons at the local YMCA when I was a little boy. My mom took me to my lessons each week. They taught me all the basics of how to swim, tread water, etc. But, I still had a lingering fear of the water that was hard to overcome. Well, let’s just say that I don’t have a certificate from the YMCA certifying that I learned how to swim.
 
In my late teens, I nearly drowned in Nassau after a long day that included snorkeling. Not paying attention to how long I had been in the water, I had grown tired and was trying to make my way back to the shore. I got caught up in the wake of a passing boat and I was just too tired to continue. I knew for sure that I was moments away from drowning. Thankfully, one of my friends came to my aid.
 
Later in life, I knew that to overcome those lingering fears I would have to do something bold. Facing my fear head-on, I signed up for scuba diving lessons and passed the course.
 
Fear is holding you back when you exaggerate your problems 
 
Every leader I know faces challenges and obstacles. It comes with the territory. But when you allow fear to magnify them beyond what they truly are then you are allowing fear to win. Make it a point to surround yourself with people who will help you put things in perspective. See the challenge for what it is but don’t allow fear to make more out of it than what’s there.
 
Fear is holding you back when you entertain negative attitudes 
 
When negative attitudes infiltrate our minds or come to us from the people around us, it can cause fear to be present. Negative attitudes feed our worst fears. It magnifies our problems, displaces hope, and diminishes confidence. This is why you must approach the challenges to your leadership based on sound judgment and a proper perspective and not based on fear and negative attitudes.
 
Fear is holding you back when you are unwilling to take risks
 
Here’s a sad truth — many leaders never reach the full potential of their leadership and giftedness because they’d rather play it safe and settle than take a risk. This not only hurts you but caps the potential of the people and organization you lead. Fear is one of the leading causes of dreams being deferred and goals being unattained. You certainly don’t want to throw caution to the wind and be careless, but you will never be all you can be until you decide fear is not going to hold you back.
 
Fear is holding you back when you don’t embrace it
 
Fear can be a healthy thing when channeled properly. It’s only when you acknowledge your fear, confront it, and resolve to not let it control your life that you will overcome it.. Discover the underlying reasons for it and act accordingly. Don’t be afraid of fear - figure it out and move forward.
 
Final Thoughts
 
Christian Nestell Bovee said, “We fear things in proportion to our ignorance of them”. And that’s why we must not be afraid to confront our fears or allow them to hold us back. 
 
©2021 Doug Dickerson. Read more from Doug at dougdickerson.net.
 

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