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The irrationality of fear

irrational fear and our career

It’s been nearly a year since I spun up my site The Winding Road to talk about careers. I didn’t quite know exactly what I was going to talk about but I knew it would have something to do with our careers and the non-linear trajectory that’s the reality for so many of us. 

One of the first things I wrote about was fear. 

Little did I know that fear would be such a prevalent feeling or so many of us a year later and not only as it relates to our careers and willingness to try new things, but a greater fear for our health and that of our loved ones.

I keep hearing the phrase “new normal”. It’s not so new anymore and it’s certainly not going to last forever. 

I realize that there are a lot of people who have lost their jobs and are having a tough time. I’m not going to pretend to know and understand exactly what you’re going through because I don’t - at least yet.

The fact is, we all are more in charge of our destiny than we think. We make decisions. 

We decide to play it safe or we decide to push things with the possibility of failing. 

Fear usually wins. Safe usually is usually what we think is the best bet. 

When we hold back out of a fear of failing, who are we worried about disappointing? Whose opinions concern us so much that we’ll keep ourselves pinned down?

Sure, there’s risk involved and some risk is greater than others. But humans are notorious for making irrational decisions. 

At the end of the day, it’s your life, not someone else’s. Chances are really high that those people you envision caring about whether you fail or not actually don’t care at all. 

Sometimes we’re more afraid of something succeeding than failing because if it works we’ll be exposed for not knowing as much. 

If it works, we’re now committed and in it for the long haul. 

If it works, expectations will go up. 

What if it doesn’t? Will it kill you? Are you a hermit and have zero relationships with people who could help you? 

Maybe it will and maybe you do. Then your decision tree looks a lot different than 90% of everyone else’s. 

Another way to look at it is to think about all of your options. Are there things you didn’t consider? Could you start it with very little change to anything else? Do you have constraints of time or money? If so, how can you work within those rather than fighting them?

Think about the worst-case scenario, the second-most worst-case scenario, the best-case scenarios, and then give them a probability of happening. 

You may be surprised. 

Don’t let fear win.

Conquer irrationality. 

Live your life.


Photo by Melanie Wasser on Unsplash