I feel afraid a lot these days. I chose to be an entrepreneur, which means I have to craft my own role, set my own target and pave my own path toward it. Surprises always hit me directly in the face, and sometimes, they hit hard.
James Altucher wrote a beautiful article about fear. He said fear and mastery lead to desire. This is a good thing because desire leads to every part of the body feeling more alive. Every part of your brain is now on alert.
1. I’m afraid to make a cold call.
I’m afraid of talking to stranger and asking for money for my services. It sounds silly, but I still practice my script before I dial the numbers. I pray that the person on the other side of the phone will be kind to me.
Every single call is like going into battle. Even though my ego hurts at first, when I come back from battle again and again, I expand my capacity to bounce back every time.
2. I’m afraid I don’t know where my next paycheck will come from.
No matter how exceptional your product or service is, you still have to get out there, talk to people and sell to them. This is how you create your own reality.
I’m so afraid of not having a business that I’m not afraid of having thick skin anymore.
3. I’m afraid when I can’t control everything in my life.
We’re not superhuman. We can’t do everything.
I’m afraid when I count on a transporter to deliver my expensive machines. I worry when I count on a supplier to deliver my stock. I worry when I count on a barista to turn up at an event on time.
But somehow, I’ve realized my fear is simply my own projection of future events. I learned to let loose and make contingency plans. I learned to be more accepting, so that people are forgiving when things don’t go as planned.
4. I’m afraid when I travel alone.
I wrote about how much fun I had when I traveled, but I didn’t write about the parts where I’m always afraid before I start my solo journeys. I try to get brave enough to just get out and talk to people.
As I adapt and learn, their familiarity and openness reduces my fear. I truly appreciate everything that goes right when I go with the flow.
5. I’m afraid when I get lost.
The last time I was in Laos, I had a map in Japanese, and I couldn’t speak the Lao language. I will never forget how anxious I was when I got lost in the middle of Vientiane city.
When I finally reached my destination, I felt like an invincible warrior who had just conquered the world. It amazed me that all I needed was a smile and some sign language. This world really is a beautiful place.
6. I’m afraid to speak in front of a crowd.
Been there, done that. But I’m still afraid. Each time before I speak, I tell myself I’m awesome 1,000 times.
I believe that when you care so much about what you’re talking about, you try to get other people to feel the same way. Your role isn’t to deliver a perfect talk.
Instead, you need to provide an inspiring story that penetrates through people’s hearts. People can tell when you speak from your heart.
7. I’m afraid of losing the people I love.
The thought of it makes me sad. But I’ve learned to deal with it.
Sickness and death are natural phenomena, but fear is a choice. We always have right now, and we always have the choice to make the best of every present moment.
8. I’m afraid to write from my heart.
It scared me when I wrote about all the things I was worried about. It made me so vulnerable, and I exposed so much of myself.
But I love stories, and I believe everyone has a unique story that should be shared with other people.
If my story can make one person feel less lonely, or if it can inspire one person to make a tiny shift in his or her life, it’s worth it for me to expose all my imperfections.
9. I stopped being afraid to love.
I’m not afraid to tell my parents and brothers I love them. I’m not afraid of trusting and loving people. Because of this, I have everything I need when I start feeling afraid of other things.
Sometimes, I wish I had the security and certainty to know what’s going to happen in the future. But in the long run, I’m sure that would lead to a very boring life.
We need both certainty and uncertainty in life. I don’t enjoy being afraid of the unknown, but we need it to keep ourselves alive. I know it makes me learn. It forces me to be resourceful, and it builds my resilience.
Courage is not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it.