Fear is a survival mechanism that kicks into gear when you’re brain senses danger and even risk. Fear and risk are vital components for personal and business development. When you are in a risky scary place, then you start to come up with creative and interesting ways to survive and develop. You test yourself and your ability to succeed. I actually think that we don’t test ourselves enough. I have taken 2 huge risks in my life that scared me. The first was throwing all of my clothes in my car and moving from Los Angeles to San Francisco. The second was quitting my full time job with a steady paycheck to venture out on my own. I’ve done both successfully thus far and I’ve never looked back. These are two pivotal points in my life that have really helped me grow and excel, both professionally and career wise.
It’s easy to get comfortable if you have 20k sitting around in a savings account because you know that even if everything went to hell that you’d still be able to survive on your savings for a full year without having to do anything. It’s good to have that cushion to bail you out but it can also be damaging to your creativity and your ingenuity. I actually found a few great quotes on the importance of risk and fear that I wanted to share with you:
It doesn’t work to leap a twenty-foot chasm in two ten-foot jumps.
There is no security on this earth. Only opportunity.
Creativity requires the courage to let go of certainties.
Everything I’ve ever done was out of fear of being mediocre.
You must do the things you think you cannot do.
Fear is an emotion indispensable for survival.
The current economic conditions have really shown me that when people are faced with fear and risk that they can really kick ass. I’ve seen a few friends start their own companies, develop new project ideas, take off to travel the world, reconnect with old friends/family members, etc. I don’t think we need to look at fear and risk as obstacles but as catalysts to propel us into the next level of whatever it is we are going to do. I’ll be among the first to admit that I believe a bit more fear and risk would do be good. I’ve oftentimes debated leaving San Francisco to venture into other areas either domestically or internationally. As a consultant I really have no physical ties to San Francisco, but it’s still a gorgeous place to live and very idea/opportunity conducive, especially for social media.
I think we need to remember that there are also different levels of fear, I don’t want to be terrified, paranoid, or in a state of dread (although that may even be good). I don’t want to go into a state of psychosis and I don’t want to wake up in horror during the middle of the night. I’m talking about the kind of fear you get from making a radical change in your life (either forced or intentional), from taking on a big risk.
A lot of things I have done in my life came from my desire to want to increase my level of fear and risk. The startup I ran all of last year (which proved to be an invaluable experience), the social media consultancy I started this year, the book I’m working on finishing, my travels to various places, etc. I don’t feel like me unless I have something in my life that’s scary or risky; of course I could just be “chemically imbalanced.”
I want to encourage all of you to allow a little bit of fear and risk into your lives. I’m constantly battling with making crazy changes in my life, and I haven’t done anything that outlandish yet; and that’s because I am scared; but I’m getting to a point where I’m ready to embrace that and just go with it. So if one day I announce that I’m moving to Argentina for a few months or am going to go climb Mt Everest then I hope you will be scared with me and for me; I know I will.
Do you have anything in your life that scares you? What sort of risks have you taken lately?