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Building Your Future: Conquering Fear in The New Year

by A. Montalbano on 12/14/15

When I was a young girl, I wanted to design homes.  When my sisters were reading literature, I was busily sketching structures, obsessing with tools, and collecting Architecture Digest, my natural flow of things. So I went on to fill my school class electives with courses that were hands-on building or design such as woodworking and drafting.  My dream came to a crashing halt after discovering the fear of math proved the obstacle.  Really?

Instead of a studying home/building design in college, I entered the world of the psycho-social sector.  Wait..wait, here is the great part of my discovery. While I strengthened my intuitive skills, Fear still continued to lurk and take hostage of me. Over the years, it became evident, Fear would not be removed not matter how long time spent in developing valuable ideas.  Many attempts would be launched, but later scrapped. 
So my creative side grew disabled and my ideas back-logged simply due to Fear of what I could not see beyond what I knew.   I missed the boat of opportunity in my thirties and forties.  How did I conquer Fear, learned to move forward and jumped full throttle on the boat of opportunity in my late forties? 

1.  Accept Fear.  Though it took me years to figure it out, my realization should help you find courage earlier.  It goes like this:  Fear never leaves your mental and physical being.  It will creep into every goal you plan, every headache felt when working your plan and every freeze frame your body goes through when you hit a road block.  Accept it and make it your nemesis or just like training your pet, make impact that makes it known you are in command of YOUR pack.  Fear is ready to rear its ugly head every time you make a productive move toward your goal and even when you hit a road block.  Exhaustion will be a major part of your mood but fear tries to disguise itself as exhaustion, don't give in.  Take a break, and there will be more than one break to pause in between, remove yourself from the project/plan: go on a mini-hike, a mini-vacation, a mini-pilgrimage, a mini-journey to the highest peak in the world or whatever it takes to return refreshed and able to see your project/plan in a better light.  Even the greatest U.S. Generals had to conquer fear before a brilliant move saved the world.

2.  Learn to ask for Guidance.  Asking doesn't make you look like a goof, not asking does.  Its called a stubborn streak. Its not negative but it will make you waste time to reach your goals sooner.  No matter how hard you try to understand a formula or study something on your own and it still appears foreign, you are losing the battle against Fear. Retreat!  Because you will drop everything in the name of fear.  Hey! guess what?!  Someone else has been through the same experience but found a way to relate to it easier.  Seek that wise man/woman.  Whether its a tutor, a mentor, your father, your grandmother, or an executive, pull out that cell phone you rely on for every move you make and don't be afraid to make an appointment with a someone who can jog your memory or provide another way of looking at things differently.  They will be more than willing and excited to talk about what they love doing, offering tips, resources, and practical techniques about what you need to move forward.  Small Business Administration is where I started.  Retired Executives : SCORE.org was my business mentor.

3.  Perseverance. Without this quality, your ship won't sail the seven seas.  You may believe some people are born with it but not so, it is acquired.  Perseverance is an obsession to finish your project/plan.  The desire to see what comes out of your creative idea is a strong sense of conquering Fear.  It can be as delicate as a flowing stream of water but as long as it continues to flow, eventually the will of its mighty power will break down the hard rocks below it.  You can't regret what you haven't experienced.

4.  Complacency is a Crime.  There is a cycle of fear and complacency and they breed off each other.  Neither one allows you to grow out of your shell.  Telling yourself that you can't is worse than someone telling you that you cannot.  I had a goal, but it took years of insurance experience under my belt to move above and beyond the customer service positions that were in abundance before me.  Always take a valuable skill from your organization or employment with you, like a way to organize better, taking courses, how to speak in a crowd, or any positive impact for future growth.  Sharpen this skill or behavior and move forward, especially if you know there is no potential for growth in your current position.  Waiting for things to happen sabotages the purpose of where you really belong and what you are best at doing. 

Today I challenge Fear. And though I never became a home designer, after a start on my second career as a licensed insurance specialist, the boat of opportunity sailed into my harbor. Moving forward as a certified construction risk specialist, I have returned where I belong, back in the world of the building trade where I am surrounded by my own kind: home builders, designers, and construction artisans. I am honored to associate myself among the greatest and it took 2 years to realize where the greatest congregate.  Yes, I do continue to feel the fear bug at every corner I turn but I am grateful that the corners exist.  No longer does the fear take control. Instead, fear makes me curious to turn those corner and see the fruit of my labor at which I work hard to reach. And guess what?  Around those corners are successful people who walked the same journey and are waiting to greet you and help you grow.  Hail to the Trade!

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