Use Fear as your Compass

“Are you paralyzed with fear? That’s a good sign. Fear is good. Like self-doubt, fear is an indicator. Fear tells us what we have to do. Remember one rule of thumb: the more scared we are of a work or calling, the more sure we can be that we have to do it.” - Steven Pressfield. I’ve found this to be as true as anything in my life. Fear can be one of our truest compasses. That thing that makes us most uncomfortable, often times, is the thing we may need to run towards and embrace.

When was the last time doing the comfortable thing inspired anyone?

Comfortable is good for times of rest. And some of us desperately need some rest. But comfort is only meant for a little while, from time to time. Then we must look again to what scares us and head directly towards it.

Some will tell you that you should rid yourself of all fear. I think that is a sure way to repress your true feelings. Others will tell you to use fear as a motivation. It is a powerful motivation, sure enough. But I would rather use fear as a compass.

It scares you to death to leave your current profession and pursue your heart’s calling? That’s a sure sign that that is the direction for you. It makes your heart race and paralyzes you to even consider sharing your darkest secret with a trusted friend? You can know that that is the way to freedom. The thought of speaking up and telling those in authority over you that you disagree with them causes you to panic? It’s probably time to exercise your vocal chords. And so on, and so forth.

I don’t think its really a question of how much courage do you have to face your fears or to allow yourself to be uncomfortable. I think its more a question of, “how bad do you want to live a full and meaningful life?” If the desire for a full and meaning is there and if it runs deep, then chances are you won’t allow your fears to keep you at bay.

Instead you’ll use what scares you as a compass and know with certainty the directions you need to pursue. So how bad do you want it? What is it worth to you to live a full and meaningful life?

For a long time I’ve known that one of my next steps is to take on more clients as a mentor. I have all kinds of doubts and fears about that. Do I know enough? Can I sustain that kind of career long term? Do I want to leave the comfort of a steady paycheck for a riskier endeavor, even though the ceiling is much higher fiscally, the freedom is greater and it aligns more with my purpose. But the more I realize how scared I am of taking that risk, the more I realize the direction I need to go. It confirms my hearts true desires.

And I want to live a full and meaningful life. How about you? What scary thing do you need to move towards? What risk do you need to take? What person do you need to? What decision do you already know you need to make in order to have a more full and meaningful life?