As I continue my journey on the purpose path I notice myself being constantly pulled in one direction or another. Sometimes, it's where I thought I would go. Other times it's not where I want to go at all. I also noticed that there were and still are several fears plaguing me that prevented me from experiencing purpose in the way I know I should. These three fears have held me back at times, but thankfully due to a great group of friends, a character that welcomes spontaneity, and the consistent chain of growth I see I've found it incredibly rewarding to monitor these fears and disregard the constant "what ifs" running through my mind.
1. Fear of mistakes.
Sometimes when we reach a fork in the road that requires us to pick a specific route we freeze. We have don’t have a fear of choosing, we have a fear of choosing wrong.
Some of the questions that cross our minds are:
- What if I never get this opportunity again?
- What if I make the decision and get stuck with results I did not expect?
- What if this was not the best decision?
All of these concerns are valid for any logical, rational person but it's also important that we learn to challenge our thoughts as well.
There are very few opportunities that cannot be recreated or improved. In other words, if you can't get that opportunity again you can surely get a better one. Missed opportunities could simply mean the best has been saved for last.
In terms of being stuck, it all depends on your perspective and effort. The question then becomes what will you be willing to do in order to get unstuck. You've gotten yourself out of a tight spot before. Why couldn't you do that again?
2. Fear of change
When we have our minds set on something, we tend to be rigid when better opportunities or more powerful opportunities are presented. There is a management theory out there that states when a person has spent time, energy, and money on something they will continue to do so even if they know it is failing.
Again, this is a problem of perspective. I have a popular saying: "Rejection is only redirection". Often times it is not that we have failed, what has happened instead is an increased awareness of our options to impact the world around us.
Don't be afraid to let go of something good and end up missing something great. Time spent doing something does not indicate the value it adds to your life. Accept change in purpose as it morphs into different faces or directions.
3. Fear of transparency
Most times, purpose is birthed from our hardships in life which makes us want to keep it to ourselves. We fear transparency because what has happened to us in life often goes against the story we tell ourselves every day.
Because of this conflict with our identity, we often keep our hardships a secret and carry a heavy load. However, we should always seek self-acceptance which includes the impact of our tough times on our lives as well.
If we want to find purpose and meaning in life we cannot allow fear to stand in our way. We must make tough decisions, live with the consequences, and make changes when necessary.
Gabriella Payne increases engagement in teams and communities through inspiration and strategic development. She works with universities, athletic groups, and corporations to help students and recent graduates transform their futures through strategy development workshops. She is also an advocate for healthy relationships and teaches a series called "See It Coming".