A few years ago, I went through a personal crisis, I was in a relationship and it fell apart and my identity went tumbling down with it. I was an emotional, mental and physical wreck. I laid awake at night wondering if I would ever meet anyone again. if I would ever reach a measure of success and who I would become and kept drawing blanks, I had no idea where to go next.
Ever the perfect workaholic, my work didn’t slip in fact I added more things on and work was my medicine. One day I was at a working lunch with a client who knew me well and he said he would like to help me for once. I told him my dilemma (the client friendly version) and he went on to say, it sounds like you just need time out. He was right I did, but I couldn’t possible ask for extended time off from work, because [insert a gazillion and one reasons] …He then asked me a question…
Have you asked?
I obviously hadn’t and following his encouragement and armed with a robust business case style request, I asked my manager and to my delight (and horror at having to live up to what I’d promised) my manager said yes and although I’d offered to take it unpaid, he found loopholes with which to pay me, so there was no financial setback. I had a month off, lived in an orphanage in Tanzania and came back a new woman.
Why did I not even think of asking? Fear
Fear of failure, fear of rejection, fear of being deemed inadequate or weak, fear, fear and more fears….
You see… The greatest hindrance to our success is without a doubt, what lies inside of us. That may sound hyper philosophical, but put simply, every single day we make decisions guided either by our fears, or by our hopes.
That brief moment you’re about to speak, but choose not to for ease…
That deep sense you have that you deserve more but choose to ignore…
That moment you choose to watch a film instead of working on your CV…
That time you knew you were right but didn’t assert your opinion.
That time you asserted your opinion too much because you didn’t want to be ‘taken advantage of’.
Our fears shouldn’t guide us but they should be something we lean into to try and understand, because the fact is, they are a part of who we are and are not going to disappear.
What should you be asking for, that you’re not for fear of something?
How do you view fear and failure? Who would you be without fear? Who would be if you chose to transcend your failures?
I hope you’ll join me on this journey of working with our failures and fears. Buckle up, as this one will be bumpy.