What if fear was a call to be brave?
I’ve been studying different emotions for years now and I have a pretty good grasp of why they exist and what they show up to help is with. I remember a moment a few months ago when I was feeling afraid because I had received a request that I didn’t know how to respond to. I wanted to help and yet I noticed that I had so many things that I had already planned to do and I knew if I accepted this request, it would take away from the things I had planned that also needed to be done. Not only that but it was also something that would take me one hour with the client and actually would involve over two hours of travel time.
As I was talking this through with my partner Dave, he asked me, “at what price would you be willing to do it?” I paused for a moment because the first thing that came to my mind was: “it’s not all about the money! I’m not a greedy person!” But then that wasn’t his question. So I entertained his question and realised that there was a price at which I was willing to make the sacrifice of my time and the other things I had planned. I felt deep shame when I realised this and I had lots of judgement about it too. Then he said, “Well, if you don’t do it, then they won’t get what they want either”. He was right.
Here was my dilemma: I had an unexpected request that didn’t quite fit into my plans and that would require me to go out of my way and give up some of the other things I had planned. On the other hand, if I fulfilled the request, I would be really helping someone who asked for my help and I love helping people. So my heart was saying, “go help, it’s the right thing to do”. My head was saying, “if you keep doing this then you will never get your business going”. Dave then added, “if you don’t get your business going then nobody will benefit from what you have to offer.” And he was right… again.
What I realised was that I was feeling afraid to ask for more than my regular price. I was afraid that I would be seen as greedy or that my client would perceive that I’m in it just for the money (which I know I am not) and then I was also afraid that the client would just say no and I would then know that I’m not worth that amount. So yes, lots of fear.
I had to respond with something and so I decided that giving my client options would be the best way forward. None of the options were perfect, but they were all options I would feel comfortable with and that I could stand behind. The client went away to think about it.
In that time, I looked at how fear had been helping me. Fear shows up to help us protect or prepare ourselves. In this case, it helped me to look through all the options I had, to evaluate each of them and ultimately to find new options that I could propose to the client. Had I not felt afraid, I would have simply replied that I’m not available and missed an opportunity. Or I would have accepted it and afterwards felt frustrated that I didn’t respect my time enough.
Then it dawned on me that yes, fear had helped me to prepare and on top of that, this fear was also a call for me to be brave. I had suggested options to the client that brought up a lot of fear for me.
I read a story the other day of a mother and her daughter going to a water park with all the big slides. The daughter was scared and didn’t want to go. The mother empathised with her daughter and said, “you know what, I’m a little scared too. How about we do it anyways.” They ended up going on the slides and having a great time.
Sometimes we are also just afraid of the unknown. It’s a healthy fear that ensures we prepare ourselves and make sure we don’t run into something dangerous without thinking about it. But once we have evaluated the thing we are scared of and if we can conclude that it probably won’t put us into too much danger, then sometimes it might be worth considering the fear as a call to be brave. That’s how we get out of our comfort zones and that is how we learn and grow.
Do you have something in your life that you are afraid of at the moment that might be a call for you to be brave? I’d love to hear from you - share in the comments below.