Every venture I have taken began with fear. When I started my business, fear was present. When I hosted my first conference, fear was present. When I started my first magazine, fear was present. The goal is not to eliminate fear, but to act in spite of it. Psychology Today says, “Fear is a vital response to physical and emotional danger—if we didn’t feel it, we couldn’t protect ourselves from legitimate threats.” The question becomes, “Are our fears legitimate and should they control our actions?”
“Thinking will not overcome fear, but action will.” This is a quote by W. Clement Stone that I live by. It’s a simple notion that pushes us to do more than visualize our dreams, but to live them. If you allow yourself to become comfortable with ideas and thoughts that are never accompanied by action, you will remain stagnant, comfortable and non-progressive. Though fear may appear to be your main culprit, using it as an excuse to remain at the idea stage is the one entity that is holding you back, not the fear itself. This speaks more of your character than your ability. If I sound harsh, it is because I know your capabilities and strengths significantly outweigh your fears. You have not tapped into your own power to realize that.
I challenge you to pursue your dreams and goals beyond the idea stage. If fear has been your deterrent in trying new things, identify its roots to determine its cause.
Stop Playing Safe, a book written by Marjorie Warrell, states, “…the power of the human spirit can only be fully unleashed when our purpose for living transcends merely surviving.” It is not until you tap into why you are here that you will be able to function outside the realm of fear.
How important is it to try new things? According to Marcus Taylor, author of Get Noticed, trying new experiences improves your communication skills which has a positive impact on your social and financial success. Taylor states, “Research done by The Dale Carnegie Foundation suggests that roughly 85% of our social and financial success in life is determined by our communication skills.” Superior communication skills are vital to success, because of the need to interact with people to complete any transaction. Whether it is monetarily, socially or virtually, in most cases it is impossible to complete a task alone.
Now is the time to set your goals and dreams in motion. The following steps will help you get started.
Write down your dreams. These are the visions you have that are defined by your purpose. Be specific. Identify what you want to accomplish and who it will benefit. Example: I would like to start a non-profit organization that provides professional female mentors for at-risk girls, ages five to 18, in the D.C. area by October 2016.
Write down your goals. These are the actions that allow you to realize your dreams. Again, be specific. Example: I want 10 new professional mentors for the program by September 2017. I will add one new mentor a month. Your written goals should identify what you want to accomplish, a completion indicator, and what you need to accomplish it.
Secure a mentor or accountability partner. You need someone who will push you to take action and measure your success.
Identify 5 new things you can try this week and do them. It can be as simple as a new food, meeting a new person or taking a fashion risk. Get out of your comfort zone so you can get in the habit of taking new ventures. Take an extra step and write down how trying these new things made you feel.
As a former college mentor used to tell me, “Girl, you can do this!”
This article was originally written for Walker’s Legacy by Vonna Matthews.