“Are you paralyzed with fear? That’s a good sign. Fear is good. Like self-doubt, fear is an indicator. Fear tells us what we have to do. Remember one rule of thumb: the more scared we are of a work or calling, the more sure we can be that we have to do it.” – Steven Pressfield
We live in a world obsessed with being fearless and using wartime lingo around it —overcome, annihilate, eradicate or punch fear in the face.
And it’s not working.
Because fear is not something to get rid of, rather:
Fear is something to lean into.
Fear is something to face head on.
Fear is something to use as a compass.
One of the biggest myths of success goes as follows:
“If I succeed —then I won’t ever feel fear again.”
And nothing could be further from the truth because:
Fear never goes away —it simply transforms into something new.
Let me explain:
Before Elizabeth Gilbert wrote one of the bestselling memoirs of all time in Eat, Pray, Love —she was full of fear.
And her fear was common one for a creative:
She had fear about putting her work out into the world —afraid no one resonate.
And then it happened:
Exponential success, fame, Oprah, a movie based on her book and a plethora of opportunities.
Did the fear go away?
No —it did not —instead, it transformed into something novel:
The fear that her best work as a creative —was already behind her.
And therein lies the lesson:
Fear is not something to get rid of —because it will never go away.
What if we shifted our relationship with fear, and saw it for what it was?
A compass towards what matters.
A North Star towards your grand vision.
A feedback loop directing you where to go.
And instead of it taking us further away from what we desire —what if it brought us closer?
The fear about finally quitting your 9-5 means to lean in.
The fear about launching your platform means to lean in.
The fear about asking them to marry you means to lean in.
The reality is:
The screenwriter, creative, entrepreneur you admire today feels the same fear you do on a daily basis.
(Some of those who are most successful feel more fear —because now they have something to lose.)
The only difference between you and them is that they have made leaning into their fear a daily habit.
Instead of seeing it as a reason not to do something and letting the ego run rampant with excuses:
They use it.
They honor it.
They lean into it.
Last, to circle back to Steven Pressfield:
If you care about what you’re doing —it deeply matters to you —then you should be feeling fear.
It means it’s coming from a place deep within you.
Instead of running away from fear —why not run towards it?
On the other side of fear is a level of performance and fulfillment you’ve only dreamed of.
And it’s waiting for you.
Will you lean into your fear?