Since Christmas time I have been procrastinating about one email. Yes, I admit it. It is very embarrassing that I can procrastinate for that long about something that would probably take me two minutes. Fact is, I am procrastinating because I am a bit scared of the outcome of my decision. It has become so bad that at night I was waking up and thinking about it. And maybe even this post is a way of procrastinating to fight my fear. Just because of one email! (I have to admit it is not ONLY about one email because it is just the tip of big iceberg I have to deal with but for matters of simplification and because it actually is the thing I think most about at the moment, let’s assume it is one email.)
So when I met my friend Vroni for lunch today, I told her about it and she immediately said, “Why don’t you just send it? Do it tomorrow, no do it today when you come home.” So the drive home I was thinking a lot about how to structure this email and what it would mean for the future. I was actually listening to a podcast where American entrepreneur Arian Simone discussed fear and how to deal with it. “How would you decide if you weren’t afraid?”, she asked in that podcast.
And then I started thinking: How would I decide? Well, I would just finally hit that send button of that email that has been parked in my draft folder for days. And then, of course, I would just not think about it anymore. But then I thought a bit further. Why am I actually afraid? What is the worst that can happen? In my case, the worst that can happen is that I get no or a negative reply. Is that really so bad? Actually not, I will probably never see this person again. So I can actually only win.
What I learned throughout my career, my travels and my private life is that the only thing we should fear is fear itself. Fear is normal, but at the same time toxic. The problem with fear is that it prevents us from making decisions which would be the right ones for us. “What if”-scenarios (and most of the time only the worst-case ones) push us down a path we would probably not have taken if we were not afraid. Whether it is the fear of quitting a job we hate because we are scared of not being able to pay our bills, the fear of offending somebody or, like in my particular case, the fear of the potential outcome. What if you let fear walk you down a path that will make you unhappy in the long-run?
There are so many books, podcast, blog posts and seminars about how to work against your fear. While I do think that this advice can be useful, I also think that we can only work on it by actively fighting our fear. And this has be done the hard way. After thinking thoroughly about the topic of fear – during a 1.5 hour car ride – I came to the conclusion that I do not want to give into my fear. I really do not want to look back and tell myself that I was too scared to send that email. I do not want to have to tell myself , “Had I just been bolder.” When I finish this post, I will hit the send button, shut down my laptop and will spend the evening reading a book. Let’s see how that works 🙂
How do you deal with fear? Can you share any tips here with us?
PS: I did hit the button!! Thank you, Vroni! 😉 And now I am off reading my book!