Making Fear Your Friend
Fear is the body’s instinctive method of protection. We develop our fears based on past experiences. When you find yourself in a situation similar to one in which you’ve been hurt or injured in the past, you experience fear. While these reactions may sometimes be unfounded, just think what would happen if that instinct didn’t exist: you’d burn your hand on a hot pan and then go back and burn it again because you had no fear. This stroke of evolutionary genius is also a major roadblock in our path to higher consciousness and achievement. Why? Well, for most of us, nothing is more daunting than sharing our true selves—but your life isn’t fully lived, and your potential isn’t fully realized, without being able to do that very thing.
For most of us, the journey to unlocking our creative potential happens far from physical labor and instead is made up of emotional labor, using our mind more than our body. But overcoming a challenge through physical labor, such as learning to shoot a basketball, is the perfect metaphor for what you must do to overcome the fears associated with emotional labor. When learning to shoot a basketball, inevitably you’ll miss many more shots than you make. But players like Steph Curry don’t become great shooters by quitting when they miss; instead, they shoot the ball thousands more times until they reach their goal, paying close attention to why they fail and pushing through their fear of failure or embarrassment to refine their process. That’s how you become great: by confronting your fears every day and overcoming the pain, embarrassment, or frustration until you reach your goal. As Curry’s college coach pointed out, he was consistently the “hardest-working player” with a “fire that raged within him.”
Steph Curry confronts his fears every day.
We must apply the same approach to our emotional labor. As you manifest your creative potential every day you’ll experience fear—fear of rejection, fear of failure, fear of standing out. Your job is to confront and overcome these fears every day. As Seth Godin puts it, “The difficult task [with emotional labor] is confronting the fear of failure. That is what we are paid to do, that is what we are rewarded for.”
What matters is that, every day, you constantly improve and overcome the challenges in front of you, accepting fear as your partner in the process. Every fear you have, every challenge you face on the road to unlocking your creative potential is like a level in a video game. When you learn to embrace it and overcome it, you move on to the next level on your journey and get one step closer to manifesting your best self.