I nabbed the idea that everything you want is in the unknown from a podcast hosted by Rachel Hollis. To give you a bit of a background, she’s dragged herself up from nothing to become wildly successful. Although my aspirations as a freelance copywriter are different from hers, I find her podcast content pretty inspiring.
Reflecting on the thought that everything we all want is in the unknown is designed to help us overcome our fears of success. I don’t think many of us fear becoming successful, but we do fear the process that takes us from now to getting what we want. This was something that held me back from starting to pursue my PPL, because aside from working as a flight attendant, aviation is incredibly new to me.
Working past your fear of the unknown
At its most extreme, fear of the unknown is called Xenophobia. Xenophobia involves an extreme fear of people and situations you’re unfamiliar with. It leaves you unable to exit your comfort zone, resulting in a lack of growth. Of course, what most of us associate with the term is an overwhelming fear of foreign persons. That’s not what we’re discussing here.
When you fear doing something, question why that thing is making you feel afraid. Is it because you’re worried you’ll fall flat on your face and embarrass yourself? Or, perhaps it’s because you’re worried you’ll realise something doesn’t live up to your expectations? Whatever the reason is, unearth it.
Once you’ve identified one or more reasons, start asking what is the worst that would happen if that thing did happen. For example, let’s say you are worried about embarrassing yourself, you can question what will happen if you feel embarrassed. Then, take your efforts further and question what will happen if someone tells you you’re embarrassing. Will you be in any pain? Does that person really matter? Will the world end?
Upon arriving at your worst case scenario, just ‘what if?’ and ‘so what?’ the hell out of it until you have nowhere else to go. Usually, this results in you feeling more comfortable with pushing against your fears.
Make a note of all the times you did something scary and it was okay
I doubt that many of us would have progressed to our current states had we not tried anything scary from time to time. For example, as silly as this may seem to some people, I was utterly terrified of trying to be a flight attendant. I loved being on planes, but they all seemed like well-preened ethereal creatures to me. As anyone who actually knows me will tell you, I do not fit into that box.
Not only was it okay when I did try, get rejected, and then subsequently find an airline I loved, I blossomed. My confidence skyrocketed, I created memories to last a lifetime, and I generated a fresh sense of enthusiasm for learning how to fly.
Whenever you’re wondering whether you have the gumption for something, create a list of all the scary things you tried. Then, write down how it turned out. Focus on how it was okay, because in the vast majority of cases, things usually are.
Imagine your best case scenario
One of my favourite approaches to meditation quite literally involves just sitting down and fantasising. I reflect on the best case scenarios that are involved in me stepping into the unknown and picturing where I want to be.
To me, this allows me to remain focused on my goals. When I’m working on some of my more boring projects as a freelance copywriter (and yes, they do exist) it helps me keep my goals in sight. Although it’s always wise to enjoy the journey and not place too much value on the destination, it never hurts to keep your goals in sight.
If you have ways of working past your fears and stepping into the unknown, I would love to read about them.