What feelings are evoked when you hear that word? I would imagine a sense of anxiety, foreboding, physical discomfort and a visceral response, maybe even to the point of feeling physically threatened. When you are “scared,” you are experiencing fear or the notion of oncoming fear. You are emotionally, mentally, and physically beginning to anticipate the future threat, the oncoming adrenaline rush.
“Fear,” like “hate,” are extremely strong words that pack a major emotional punch, and yet these are words that have become part of our everyday vocabulary. Fear, especially, is a word that I have come to notice on a rather frequent basis in and around the blog world–this is the time of year that many of us experience major changes in our lives: graduation, the transition to summer, maybe a bit goal race. Regardless, we are anticipating major life changes that will result from a significant event, and, not knowing what lies beyond that event, or how that event itself might fare, we feel uncertain. Many have admitted to being “scared.”
But are we really scared? SHOULD we really be scared? Should we feel fear? Or, more precisely, should we feel nervous?
On a particularly debbie downer day, when I was feeling snakebit and a bit lost both with regards to my physical progress but also upon coming down from the high that comes with making major decisions (and the inevitable OH SH*T that follows), that I didn’t so much need to “turn that frown upside down” or something belittling like that: instead, I needed to gain a new perspective: fear vs. nerves.
Upon further reflection, I came to an important distinction: Fear corresponds with a threat and maybe even regret. Nerves stems from a sense of excitement and anticipation. Like the line between genius and insanity. And we know which side of that line I am on (shutupshutup).
Last week, everyone’s favorite little ranchcookie spoke of graduation fears (the post that prompted me to preempt my scheduled topic for this week to talk about fear/nerves instead), and admirably spoke of how she was trying to come to terms with the notion of accepting “failure.” Well, as someone who has unsuccesfully attempted to gain paid employment in her chosen career path for the past 6 years (see why I changed routes here), and has been turned down/overlooked more times that I care to admit, let me tell you what, I know a thing or two about failure.
Here is what I had to say back to her:
I WANT TO GIVE YOU A HUGE HUG LIKE RIGHT NOW. ::TACKLE HUG::
You are going to hear people not to tell you to be afraid–that you’ll be great, get a job, and life will be hunky dory. And guess what? Maybe you will, maybe you won’t. Actually, I am going to write my next tough talk on this. Stay tuned. So, in order to tease you/not give away all of my secrets (yes, I’m evil), hear this: things may not end up the way you expect, or think that they should, or that you feel that you deserve for them to, but, and here his the big kicker: HAVE FAITH that AT THE END OF THE DAY, you will get to the place you will be. That’s cryptic–not where you need to be, but where you are. It isn’t for us to say what is right for us. But it is for us to decide how we react to what happens.
Don’t be AFRAID. Be NERVOUS. Fear–it brings with it tinges of harm. Nerves have an undercurrent of excitement. Enjoy every moment of every day between now and then, and after. They are all gifts. And you are a smart (ranch) cookie, you are beautiful inside and out, and you are learning everyday who you are. Continue to grow, and to allow yourself to grow.
You got this. I have great, great faith. But I’m always a text/email/call/tweet/carrier pigeon away.
Right now, I too am about to start over, to step out of the shelter of school–you spend all of your time waiting for it to end, so that you can start your life, but then, when you have your degree in hand, the pressure actually comes–pressure placed on you by you to get a job and/or to perform. To live up to the expectation you have set for yourself.
If you get nothing else from these 800 odd words, please hear this, a phrase so important to me that it is the tagline of my future business:
Life is about Moving Beyond Expectations.
And eating ice cream in compression pants. 😀
I challenge you not to belittle your feelings by saying, “oh, I shouldn’t feel scared, how silly of me!” But rather to acknowledge and then question them. Do you feel fear? Or are you feeling nerves? I think you will be surprised at how it changes you perception of the decisions you have to make.
When have you thought you felt fear but, in retrospect, were feeling nerves? Would knowing the difference have had any effect on your mentality at the time?
Tell me one simple (or epic!) way that you have moved beyond expectation (yours, others’) in the past week. Can be as simple as running without headphones, or as big as doing a 20 miler for the first time. Or maybe you cooked fish for the first time!