2020 has had more than its fair share of adversity.
We kicked it all off with forest fires Down Under, followed it up with Brexit closer to home, and are now faced with the small matter of a global pandemic and looming economic crisis…
…yep. More than its fair share!
It’s not surprising then, to feel fear. That’s fear of all varieties, by the way.
After all, this is a scary time.
It’s perfectly normal to feel fear for our health and for the health of our families. For the health of the whole world.
It’s also normal to be fearful for our livelihoods. Many people have lost their jobs, had their education disrupted, or had their pay and conditions altered.
This all happened so fast, and no matter how much support is (or isn’t) available depending on your individual circumstances, it’s perfectly normal to feel fear.
How you respond to that fear is what makes the difference.
It’s often said that ‘Necessity is the Mother of Invention’, but at Trinity, we think we can go even further than that…
…we think that adversity can be the mother of opportunity.
In her book, ‘Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway’, Susan Jeffers presents us with some uncomfortable truths regarding fear.
The first and most important truth is that it’s never going to go away.
No matter how you respond to fear, it’s always going to be a factor in our lives. Not just the great big, existential fears like coronavirus and climate change either.
Fears such as the dread that a relationship might end, or that a best man speech could flop, these types of fears are always going to be factors in our lives too.
How do we overcome them?
DO IT ANYWAY.
Acknowledge the fear.
Give it a name.
Know that it is there and then do what you were going to do anyway.
No one ever does anything fearlessly, the first time they do it. That fearlessness comes from experience.
The experience of failure and the experience of fear.
Without going through the trauma, the chaos and the challenge that fearful situations present us with, we can never seize new opportunities. We won’t even see the opportunities in the first place.
As Jeffers explains perfectly bluntly, we may stay alive, but we won’t grow.
You don’t have to literally risk your life by the way, and sky dives and bungee jumps aren’t for everybody. But if you don’t expose yourself to fear, if you don’t throw yourself in head first and ‘do it anyway’, you could be condemning yourself to a life less extraordinary, and much more ordinary.
Pay cheques, annual leave, clocking in and clocking out…
…it’s all a bit safe. It’s all a bit secure.
It’s not at all scary.
So, if you have that idea, that spark, that moment of inspiration, especially right now, it is up to you to seize it as an opportunity.
It will be scary, of course it will, but do it anyway.
If recent events have taught us anything, it’s that nothing is really ‘safe’ anyway. The most secure jobs have been lost and the plans of millions have been put on hold.
If the safe option is no longer safe, then there surely has to be even more reason to choose the scary route.
The first step is deciding. Decide that you want to apply for a new job. Decide that you want to gain a new qualification. Decide that you want to start a new business.
It’s a mental shift. You can do it.
It’s a scary decision. So what?
The next step is committing. This means taking action. You don’t need to fly blind. Speak to people in the know. Ask for support.
Make a plan and then stick to it.
You’re going to feel afraid that you’ve made a mistake. You’re going to be scared and you’re going to want to turn back.
Don’t. Keep going.
The third step is to be consistent. It sounds easier than it is, but the importance of consistency should never be underestimated.
It’s daunting to stick to a schedule. It’s normal to be afraid of reaching new targets and achieving certain goals.
Susan Jeffers would tell you to remind yourself that ‘you can handle it’.
Remind yourself on a daily basis, on an hourly basis even, that whatever comes your way, you can handle it.
You can. And you will.
Be consistent with time measured targets. Reach for the realistic and inspire yourself with the aspirational.
Where will you be in 6 months’ time?
Still afraid of course!
But you’ll be afraid of new things and new challenges.
Everything you’re scared of now, you’ll have confronted and conquered. You’ll have been overwhelmed and you’ll have overcome.
Opportunity can come from adversity, but you have to go through the adversity first.
Just like we tell our children when they go hunting for bears, we can’t go over it, we can’t go under it, we’ve got to go through it.
We can’t have the invention without the necessity.
We can’t have the opportunity without the adversity.
And we absolutely can’t have the success or the life we want to lead, without being scared stiff…
…and then doing it anyway.