My Greatest Fears
A few weeks ago I listened to a Seth Godin interview where he spoke about confronting your greatest fears so you can do your best work. I had some previous commitments but I also noticed that I was conveniently avoiding this post. I finally decided to confront my greatest fears so I can do the best work I possibly can. Life is short. Why wait any longer?
Money, Money, Money
My first fear was quite easy to uncover. With the new house now chained around my neck, I am carrying the biggest amount of debt I have ever carried in my life. Can someone queue up Panic Zone? I soon realized buying a house makes your mind focus more on money than ever before. I was chasing interest rates, looking at home-improvement upgrades, and shopping for vendors from cement layers to blinds installers.
Having covered personal finance for the past two and half years, my self-defense kicked in. I poured energy into stock investing, finding passive income streams, and trying to extract more income from my blog. Can I speak somewhere? Can I create an e-book? Can I book more advertisers? Everything was all about the money and I began to lose passion for my blog. My inspiring interview podcast series got placed on the back burner, my stock investments underperformed, and I was getting dejected at work.
Lewis Howes mentioned a quote, I’m sorry I don’t know where it came from originally, that put me at ease.
“Money will come when you are ready to receive it.”
Although I wasn’t as anxious, I needed to dig deeper into the fear. I thought if I did not generate more income I would get overwhelmed by future expenses such as my new mortgage, Baby Buck’s college tuition, my parents’ retirement, increasing health expenses, and my own retirement. I have always thought about others over myself. That’s why one of my greatest fears would be failing my family by being a bad husband and father. At the same time, disgracing my parents and being a bad son.
My first fear is a recent one because when I was not married and when I was not a father, my responsibilities were far less demanding. I lived within my means. I could take care of myself and survive on bread and water if absolutely necessary. My present reality is way different than before, due to the additional pressure of extra mouths to feed and extra heads to shelter.
My second fear is more deep rooted and has been with me since childhood. From as long as I can remember, I felt that I didn’t have a voice and that I did not matter. I have always been passive, soft-spoken, and content to be in the background. Friends, acquaintances, and co-workers occasionally walked past me like I wasn’t even there. But deep down I knew I wanted to be heard, to be seen, and to matter.
And The Winner Is
Do you ever look back in your life and think that there was a moment in time that dramatically altered your life forever? It sounds very dramatic, but I believe mine occurred in intermediate school. Do you recall yearbook awards such as Most Likely to Succeed, Class Clown, and Most Athletic? Sadly, I did not win any of those coveted titles. If you can believe it, I placed a heartbreaking second for Most Likely to Succeed. Classmates voted for award winners and I voted for the actual Most Likely to Succeed winner. As a consolation prize, I did take home Most Shy. Etched in my brain is an awkward picture of yours truly and the most shy girl in the class. Due to my already low self-esteem I adopted this most shy persona, kept even more to myself, and became socially awkward.
I carried this awkwardness to high school and most of college. I slowly came into my own a few years after entering the workforce and got married. I fully blossomed when I launched my blog. I thought I had a voice, I mattered, and I found my passion. Two and a half years since I started my blogging journey, I strangely felt déjà vu. My greatest fear returned as I felt I was losing my voice, not mattering again, and losing my life’s passion.
Soon after I drafted this post, a weight was lifted off my shoulders. I felt lighter than before. However, I struggled to hit Publish. Ironically, Srinivas Rao of Blogcast FM mentioned if you are having a hard time hitting the Publish button, you probably have something great on your hands. I sure hope so Srini! I hesitated because exposing my greatest fears, I felt naked, vulnerable, weak, and unworthy. At the same time, now that I am no longer denying and ignoring my greatest fears, I hope to face them head on, eventually conquer them, and hopefully free myself to become the best version of myself I can be.
“What we fear doing most is usually what we most need to do.” – Timothy Ferriss of The 4-Hour Workweek