[This post is Part Four in a four-part series. Stayed tuned next week the story that inspired all of these amazing steps to becoming open to your unique mission in life!]
N is for No Fear
Last week we talked about expectations—the good, the bad… and the completely unnecessary.
We learned that the only way to be a better consumer of our opportunities and open our eyes to the possibilities in our lives was to try—in every way—to live a life free from unnecessary expectations. How do we let go of the expectations of others or even the crazy ones we have for ourselves?
Step Three in becoming open to your unique mission in life was no longer allowing unfounded expectations to define the decisions in our lives.
And this left you wondering, I'm sure…
Ok, Tracy. If you’re so smart, how on Earth am I supposed to do ALL of these things?!
I’m just ONE person.
And to that I give you Step Four...
The most crucial step in becoming open to your unique mission in life.
The last step is learning to look fear in the face and choose your opportunities, possibilities, and expectations regardless of how scary they look or feel.
The N in open stands for “no fear.”
The only way to embrace the opportunities in your world, seek the possibilities you cannot yet see, and let go of the expectations of others is to choose a life of courage over a life of fear. You don’t have to pretend you’re not afraid. You have to be brave, and as Brene Brown says, dare greatly.
FDR said, courage is not the absence of fear, but rather, the decision that something else is more important than fear.
You have to choose something that’s more important than fear.
So that begs the question-- what’s more important than fear?
That answer, my friend, is:
Over the last few years I’ve learned a great deal about regrets.
In fact, I wrote an entire blog post on regrets.
It was one of the most popular posts on TT.com to date.
Just a little reminder in case you missed that one…
Shockingly enough, there are only two types of regrets.
Yes, just two.
First, there are regrets for the things that we do. These are called regrets of commission.
Second, there are regrets for the things that we do not do. These are called regrets of omission.
Regrets of commission (things we did) are understandably horrible. We’ve all felt the sinking feeling in our gut when we do something wrong or say something we shouldn’t have. It’s a terrible feeling to know that something you’ve done has had a negative effect on another person.
That guilt sucks.
So you might think that regrets of omission (things we didn’t do), wouldn’t be nearly as awful.
You, my friend, would be mistaken.
You might even think that these two types of regrets would be equally painful.
It turns out that regrets for the things we do not do are actually worse.
Regrets of omission (things we didn’t do) don’t have a consequence or a outcome that’s regrettable. There isn’t a person you hurt or a word you wish you hadn’t said. Rather, there are a thousand things that didn’t actually happen. And more accurately, a thousand things that could have happened.
Regrets of omission (things we didn’t do) have an infinite amount of possible consequences or outcomes. So instead of having one specific regret, we have an endless number of “what ifs” and “maybes” that can haunt us for forever.
Regrets of omission never get resolved.
They never go away.
You almost never feel "better".
Remember that company that I parted ways with in my last post?
Let’s pick up our story there.
When I was asked to leave that company, I had a literal Come to Jesus moment.
All I remember was praying and crying. A lot. And the subject of my praying and crying was one central theme. I’ll share it with you here because I have a feeling that many of you have found yourself on your butt, at 3 am, in front of the open refrigerator, looking at baby pictures of yourself, and wondering where it all went wrong…
Thinking the exact same thing I was thinking…
Lord… just tell me what you want me to do and I’ll do it.
Just tell me what to do… and I’ll do it…
No other words had been spoken in my life so earnestly.
I had risked so much by leaving Wall Street, and I had worked so hard to find my way after that. I was trying so hard to follow God’s path that I just could not understand why it wasn’t working out.
That’s when I had another meaningful relationship step into the rescue.
I was talking to my friend and mentor, Aaron, who I’ve mentioned in posts before.
Aaron owned a successful consulting business for many years and has seen good times and bad, for sure.
He shared with me this insightful idea, that I did not want to hear at the time.
The real hard work begins once you’ve agreed to get on the path.
EE Cummings is famous for having said that, “to be nobody but yourself in a world which is doing its best, night and day to make you everybody else is a hard battle.”
And in that moment, I got the very clear message that there was no time like the present to start battling.
So, at the end of last year, I decided to skip out on a life of regrets and chase my dream.
For the last year I’ve been building my own business working with individuals who want to find work they love and organizations who want to hire people who love their work. It’s been a long, hard, daring road, but I’ve always kept this in mind:
“Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all.”
Helen Keller said that.
Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all.
I choose the daring adventure.
And I challenge you to do the same.
Have a daring adventure. Dare every day. Do whatever you need to do to meet your fears with courage, and dare to be great. Dare to dream. Just dare to do something out of the ordinary tomorrow.
I can be that simple.
Dare for me means: Don’t Accept Reality Ever!
Don’t accept reality, ever.
Dare to lead. Dare to make the impact you know you can make. Dare to be who you were meant to be.
You don’t have to be fearless. You don’t have to let go of all of these fears to be great. You just can’t let them stop you.
You might be thinking, oh Tracy, you’re fearless, and that’s how you’ve done everything you’ve done.
Once more, my friend, I hate to tell you this…
But you are so… so… so… very wrong.
I’m certainly not fearless.
Everything great I’ve ever done has been a terrifying prospect to me.
Standing on the national stage for softball tournaments at the age of 12. Leaving Texas and going to Yale at 18. Trying my hand at Wall Street with no financial background at 22. Taking a trip around the world on a boat with complete strangers at 25. Working for a famous author who I’d never met at 26. Starting my own business with zero training and zero prospects at 27…
All of that was f-ing terrifying!
None of it came easy, but my goodness, every bit of it was it worth it.
Everything I’m proud of came from a moment of intense fear that I met with courage.
I promise you that everything you’re ever going to be proud of in your life, everything that makes you great, everything worth doing will also be a terrifying prospect to you.
Get ready for it.
Because, it will be your job to feel the fear, and do it anyway.
Your job is to feel the fear, and do it anyway. To meet your challenges with courage. To inspire others to do the same because you did it first.
That’s what we’re here for.
And that’s how you can finally become open to your unique mission in life.
Now I want to hear from you!
What have you chosen that is more important than fear?
How has your life changed because you chose courage in those moments?
Leave your thoughts in a comment below.