Laughing in the Face of Fear
How do you get through change when you're scared to death? Stay present, create a new reality, and find the humor.
Sometimes we make a change in our life that is needed but we feel unsure. You want the change and are excited to have it, but there’s a little piece of you that is fearful and uncertain. Unfortunately that little piece can be very loud.
Perhaps your whole life you were an engineer. Every day of your entire life you’ve been working at your corporate job, engineering things. You’ve discovered that you long to be an artist. So, one day you finally quit the engineering job and become a full time artist. You’re excited and happy to finally be pursuing your dream. However, in the back of your head, all you can think about is, “how am I going to pay the mortgage as an artist?”
Putting that fear and uncertainty aside can be challenging but it’s paramount to succeeding.
The fear and uncertainty is created when you project to the future: “What is going to happen down the road?” “How is this going to work?” “What will my paychecks look like now that Company B isn’t providing them?” “I’m used to a large secure corporation paying my bills.” “Who will buy my art?”
These are important questions and you have to ensure you can pay your bills but dwelling or worrying about them isn’t going to fix the situation. What will help your situation and grow your faith in your new path is being present and aware to today and each day on your new journey. Give thanks for your new career. Each day imagine your successes as if they’ve already happened. What would success look like in your new role as an Artist? What would be the small, easy to visualize success? Did someone buy your painting? Congratulations! How much did you make? Who bought it? Where will they hang it? Imagine all the answers that you would give when someone asks you this question. You’re creating the reality!
Is there humor to be found in your situation? Perhaps if you look back on your life, would you ever have thought you’d be an engineer? “I couldn’t do math in high school and then I became an engineer?” Can you laugh at where life has taken you and take away the power you’ve given to your fear and uncertainty as you embark on this new role? I thought in high school that I would be a marine biologist. I wanted to go to school in Hawaii and ended up at Gonzaga University (very inland) and studied business. I couldn’t be further away from marine biology.
One of my favorite movie quotes of all time is from Parenthood starring Steve Martin. Steve Martin’s character “Gil” was complaining about his complicated life. The grandma walked into the room and they had this conversation:
Grandma: You know, when I was nineteen, Grandpa took me on a roller coaster.
Grandma: Up, down, up, down. Oh, what a ride!
Gil: What a great story.
Grandma: I always wanted to go again. You know, it was just so interesting to me that a ride could make me so frightened, so scared, so sick, so excited, and so thrilled all together! Some didn’t like it. They went on the merry-go-round. That just goes around. Nothing. I like the roller coaster. You get more out of it.
Have you ever gone on a roller coaster and thought about anything other than sitting in that seat and experiencing the ride?
Stay present. Create a new reality. Enjoy the ride.