I was on the phone with a client the other day and we were talking about stepping through fear vs. doing what just feels plain hard or unpleasant. And I realized there is a very clear difference between the two.
Yes, to grow we must experience some discomfort, and conquer some fears, it’s just part of the process. If we want to stay in our comfort zone, chances are we’ll stay pretty much where we are in all areas of our life and our business. If we want to grow, or we want our business to grow, and we want our reality to be different than what it is right now, there’s a good chance we’re going to have to endure a little discomfort as we step into it and “grow ourselves” up to that next level.
I’ve done this repeatedly in my business, when I’ve made decisions to start a new business or hire a mentor or try a new marketing activity. And in the cases where I’ve had a core KNOWING that this was something I was supposed to do, even if it scared the heck out of me, it always grew me and my business forward. Always!
And the bigger the leap and the bigger the fear, the more I and my business grew.
However, sometimes we’re doing things in our life or our business that just feel downright hard or unpleasant. They’re “uncomfortable” but on a different level than the growth activities. These are things we really don’t want to do, things we don’t enjoy at all. Yet they are things that we feel we “should” be doing because somewhere we got the message that these are things we “need” to do to be successful. So instead of doing them because at some deep level we KNOW they are the path to growth, we are doing them because we feel like we SHOULD be doing them.
So that’s your first clue: Doing something because you KNOW you need to vs. doing something because you think you SHOULD.
As I look back at the times I’ve done things that weren’t screaming at me from that knowing place, but instead were being done more out of obligation, or a feeling that this is what I’m “supposed” to do, I not only experienced discomfort while I was doing them, when I came out on the other side, it STILL did not feel good.
So here’s how you know the difference.
When you step through fear and come out the other side, you are exhilarated and you want to do it again. It’s energizing. It’s like you have conquered something and it feels amazing. The pain or fear was temporary and you see it for what it was, a necessary part of growing and getting to where you are now.
However, when you are doing something that is difficult or scary or painful and you come out on the other side and you DON’T have that same feeling of exhilaration, that’s a great big red flag. When you definitely don’t want to run right out and do it all over again, that’s a sign. A sign that maybe that activity belongs in the “should” category and isn’t something you really ought to be doing.
THAT’S how you can tell the difference.
YES, to grow you have to experience some discomfort and you may need to do things that scare you and conquer some fears. But if what you’re doing is just plain hard and painful and there’s no exhilaration on the other side, you’re probably not on the right path. In fact, there’s very likely an easier path that will get you there faster and more joyfully, even if you have to step through some fear along the way.