Fear is defined by many as being afraid or apprehensive. We all have thousands of fears, many of which are very rational. These rational fears ultimately prevent us from being hurt in some way. We also all have hundreds or thousands of irrational fears. These irrational fears canprevent us from doing things that would ultimately allow us to be happier and more successful.
I constantly observe and talk to people who are holding back on career-related activities or career transitions because they are afraid. They have a fear of getting hurt (physically, emotionally/psychologically), failing, disappointing others, and the list goes on and on. I believe that these people are letting fear prevent them from pursing their dreams. This fear prevents individuals from maximizing their happiness and success.
What are you afraid of? Is fear preventing you from pursuing the career of your dreams? Would you love to transition out of research, and into a non-research career field but you are afraid of what your mentors or colleagues would say or think or how they would (or wouldn’t) support you in a non-research setting? Are you thinking about changing research-related jobs or about starting your own business but you’re afraid of failing?
My advice: ignore your fear. You’ll never know how happy and successful you can really be unless you fully pursue your dreams, and to do that I believe that you have to let go of some of your fears. You simply cannot and should not let yourself be inhibited by the possibility that you will fail or that you will disappoint othersor a thousand other “what ifs.” You just have to go for it! By ignoring fear you will:
- beliberated to pursue your dreams and passions;
- gain more respect from your peers;
- be asked to participate in more opportunities;
- be more successful;
- be happier.
Now, obviously you have to carefully and rationally ignore fear. For example, if you want to pursue a new career path, don’t quit your stable job until you have a new job offer. Also, I suggest that you should do a significant amount of homework on the career field you are interested in transitioning into in order to see if you would really enjoy doing the work that the job entails. On the other hand, if you want to start a business, you should do a significant amount of market analysis and strategic planning before you roll the business out to consumers. In short, you have to ignore your fear in a way that you will set yourself up to win and by win I mean that on some level, before you “go for it” you need to know that you are going to be happy and successful.
So, what fear do you need to ignore? What’s holding you back from being yourself, being happy, and being successful? Identify your fears, ignore them, pursue your dreams and passions (go for it!), and say hello to the real, happy, and successful you.
In my next post, I will describe my thoughts on a key area for managing fear: risk management.
Nathan Vanderford has a Bachelor of Science degree in agricultural biotechnology, an MBA with an operations management focus, and a PhD in biochemistry. You can learn more about Nathan at www.nathanvanderford.com.