“You did what???!!!”
“You will do amazing!!!”
These are the two distinctly opposite phrases I heard in response to my news that I had turned in my notice at my secure full-time job during the pandemic. Yes, I quit my secure and safe job to become unemployed and pursue my passion for helping people in a far more personal and deeply impacting way…and here I am.
“Why now? Why not wait until the world becomes a little more stable and that way if things do not work out, you can easily find another job with your skills, Heather,” says my pessimistic friend.
Please, allow me to explain this seemingly outrageous and foolish decision. People of all walks of life could use an extra bit of support and guidance now more than ever before and you want me to wait until things have a better outlook for myself? Isn’t that rather self-serving? Self-serving is not on my agenda, dear pessimistic friend. Besides, if I am to sit across the table from anyone and encourage them to face their fears and not allow their fears to dictate their mindset, I had best be prepared to face my own fears don’t you think!
My fear of financial instability has ranked right up there near the top since I was a child. What better time to tackle a fear than when the safety net is as stretched and saggy and near to collapse as it gets! I mean hey, what is the worst that could happen? The housing market is so poor, I am sure the bank would rather let me keep my house than need to deal with it themselves! I can live without television and Netflix and Doritos! Let’s face it, our standard of living has become excessively high in some areas of life. I have enough food in my freezer and cupboards to survive until next year I am sure and enough “stuff” that I could sell to keep the heat on. So, really, despite not having a steady income, I have plenty of security. No need to be fearful, right?
I did make the decision after cautiously weighing all the possible outcomes and potential solutions…and I quit anyways!
Going back to the two phrases at the top. Can you guess which of my friends lives a fear-based life and which lives an awareness-based life? I will not tell you the names of each of those friends; however, I will share some information about them both. My pessimistic friend struggles to be positive about anything in life. If there is any new big thing in the media, they are sure to find the negative in whatever situation it is. If I share an idea or plan with them, they are sure to find fault with it, reasons it will not work. My optimistic friend, on the other hand, finds the silver lining in every cloud. The glass is not only half full, but there is a steady stream into the top of it no matter how many unfortunate and traumatic events occur, that stream is still flowing, and the cup never falls below half.
Which person would you want as your friend? Which person do you want to be? Anger and pessimism are driven by fear. Fault-finding and naysaying are often driven by fear. Controlism in relationships is driven by fear. Frustrations with our work, our children, our friends, our employees are often based in fear. Many of us as young toddlers and children were taught to be fearful. Others were taught to be aware and cautious. There is a difference. That difference impacts our entire life. Fear and caution are not the same. The definition of fear from the Oxford Dictionary is this: an unpleasant emotion caused by the belief that someone or something is dangerous, likely to cause pain, or a threat. The definition of caution from the Oxford Dictionary is this: care taken to avoid danger or mistakes. Why do we need to be fearful of events or situations or people if we have enough knowledge and awareness to exercise caution in the face of those events, situations, or people?
I spent most of my life allowing my fears to guide my choices. No more. It has become my mission to educate myself in all the things I am fearful of. I also choose to live my life with the intention to succeed, no matter what setbacks are in store for me. I am perfectly comfortable with failing at things I attempt; however, failure is not in my vocabulary anymore. I like to refer to a quote that my friend and fellow hockey mom would say after the occasional hockey game, “We win some, we learn some.” I am all about learning and growing and that is why I quit my job during the Pandemic of 2020. I am NOT AFRAID. I will SUCCEED. People who want to overcome their own fears and learn how to challenge themselves to become better people will find me and we will work together to spread the word that “FEAR is a CHOICE.”