Funny little word, fear.
It rhymes with tear and career. But I digress.
Fear is a normal biological reaction to the unknown. At its best, it protects us from legitimate danger.
At its worst, fear destroys relationships, prevents good decision-making, and leaves us trembling behind closed doors, unable to venture out.
My senior year of college, I had a manic breakdown. I was hospitalized for ten days, and when I emerged with my sanity once again intact, spring break had arrived.
For months my roommates and I had been planning to go on a road trip. I was looking forward to it, ready to relax with my friends, when I had an anxiety attack the night before we planned to leave. The technicians at the emergency room gave me a few pills to help me quiet down and sent me home.
The next afternoon my roommates sat me down and told me that I was no longer invited to join them on their road trip. In not so many words they told me I was a liability for which they did not want responsibility.
I walked out of our house and down to the creek. And I wept.
They were afraid, and I paid a heavy price. All of my friendships with those roommates didn’t make it to graduation.
After college, I hit the job force in earnest, beginning a job as an online magazine editor. It was perfect, considering that I graduated as an English major.
Except that it wasn’t. After four months, my boss told me to find another job. With student loan payments pending, I took the next available job that came up, which was selling loose leaf tea at the mall. That decision began a three-year career search involving a succession of temporary jobs. It was scary.
But at the end of it, I found my current job, which is a stable position in real estate with more opportunities on the horizon. By pushing back my fears and refusing to settle for less, I discovered something far more important that just a good job.
Each small step forward is a small victory over fear. It’s better to inch forward little by little than not move at all.
And that discovery has made all the difference.