Have you ever desperately wanted to quit your job and find something you love, but then—fear. Desperate, overwhelming, soul-crushing, stop-you-in-your-tracks fear.
Maybe you’re ready to quit or maybe you’re just thinking about it. Maybe you’re thinking of putting in your name for a promotion at work or maybe you’re trying to work up the guts to tell your boss you want to change your role. Regardless, your stomach’s a pit of despair, and your mind’s screaming at you to stop trying to change the status quo.
Feel like I’m reading your mind? Well, good news, I’m not! Rather, you’re going through something very common. In fact, I don’t know anyone, including myself, who didn’t freak out before making a leap.
So first things first. Let’s get over the idea that fear is a bad thing. It’s not—it’s a biological reaction that tells you when things are changing so you stay alert and react. Or, if you prefer explanations that sound less textbook-y, think of it this way: It’s also a tool to help you on your journey.
Think about the last time you were on a roller coaster. Were you screaming your head off wanting to get the heck off of it as you inched towards that first big drop? But then as soon as it ended, wanted to get a ride back on and live the thrill again? That’s the roller coaster effect.
So, if you let go of the idea that fear is a bad thing and instead think of it as a useful indicator that you’re about to do something amazing, what would you do differently?
For starters, you’d probably follow through more on things that scare you because you knew that getting through to the other side would be worth it. Maybe you’d finally make the first move to change careers because the initial discomfort would lead you down a path that you truly love. Or maybe you’d set up that meeting with HR to talk about an internal transfer. Or perhaps you’d sign up to give a presentation at the company meeting.
Whatever it is that’s currently getting you excited, yet also making you want to curl up in the corner, do it! Really. Whenever you feel afraid I want you to acknowledge your fear, and recognize that it’s giving you a choice: Stay stuck and make no progress—or push through it and get to the top of that roller coaster ride.
Yes, it’s scary, but it’s also thrilling and exciting and in both cases—the roller coaster and your life—the only way to get to the fun part is to push through that fear.
This article was first published on The Muse.