For millions of years our instincts helped us survive. When we’re under stress, our limbic systems want to either fight or run away. This was very helpful when we had to worry about physical survival, but now those same instincts get in the way of us achieving our full potential.
Consider how often we say we want career growth, but when the opportunity is in front of us we say, “Oh, I can’t do that.” The fear driving that response needs to be eradicated in order to achieve the impact we want to accomplish. We shouldn’t let our subconscious minds and latent fear rule. Instead, we need to cultivate our intelligent minds to subjugate our fear of failure or hard work to our long-term goals and potential.
The energy (and the opportunity) that comes from striving to be our best is amazing! Creativity and passion should trump fear. Real growth comes when we’re pushed outside our comfort zones. With this attitude, in addition to a passion for inquiry and innovation, we can often be the first to new markets and new opportunities, to say nothing of the new learning and skills we acquire.
Consider how advances happen when we’re not stymied by a fear of failing, and instead lean in to try things that are hard, things that others say are “impossible.” How inspiring is it that Thomas Edison discovered hundreds of ways not to build a light bulb before he sent electricity around the world? Babe Ruth held a record for strikeouts, not just a record for home runs. Henry Ford had two car companies tank before he created the one that revolutionized modern production. And Sony originally launched with a rice cooker that allegedly burned rice, before the company went on to become an electronics powerhouse.
All of these examples demonstrate that most things worth doing are hard. Successful people get to where they are in their careers because they make the hard become the easy. The most important things for all of us to realize is that our destiny is in our hands—it’s not controlled by the universe of outside forces. When you realize that, it can be overwhelming, but it’s ultimately very freeing. There are great rewards that come with taking the right risks. And what you find is that as you embrace this idea consistently, you build “muscle memory” for this approach and it becomes easier with each time. (e.g. Thomas Edison!)
Don’t be intimidated by fear. Let go of the fears that hold you back and get inspired by the big opportunities that you want to achieve. I often recommend, instead of saying, “I can’t,” say “How can I?”