When it comes to your work are you more driven by what inspires you, or by what scares you? “For the sake of what?” are you willing to speak up, transition your career, start a new business or take on a great big job when there’s more chance of you failing than the one you’re in right now.
Fear is the number one emotion that stops us from living the lives we most want. Fear that we’re not good enough. Fear that we’re not worthy. Fear of what might happen if we succeed. Fear that it might all fall apart. Fear keeps us small and stuck in jobs that don’t fulfill us but feel safe.
But is there really anything safe about living a life where you feel disengaged, disillusioned or desperate to be doing something other than how you’re currently spending your days?
“In order for you to get outside your comfort zone and stop playing it safe, you need to have a clear purpose,” recommended Margie Warrell, best-selling author and courage coach, when I interviewed her recently.
“Courage isn’t the absence of fear. It’s not actually fearlessness,” she explained. “Rather, courage is action in the presence of our fears and self-doubts.”
When we take action by starting with small steps, over time, we become more and more fearless. Instead of our fears running our lives, we’re more driven by what inspires us, than by what scares us.
The challenge is that we’re neurologically wired, to overestimate the probability that something will go wrong, to underestimate our ability to handle the consequences of risk and the long-term costs of comfortable inaction. These factors cause many of us to be risk-averse and consequently we don’t take the actions we really need to take, we don’t put ourselves out there, and we resist new challenges.
Margie notes however, that there is a big difference between being well off and having wellbeing. It’s easy to mislead ourselves into thinking that if we just had the success we wanted, then it would be simple to show up and shine in ways that truly mattered.
But it actually works in reverse.
Only when you can answer clearly ‘for the sake of what’ you’re willing to put yourself at risk, can you be as courageous as you can be, as purposeful as you can be and as successful as you can be. Margie suggests taking the following steps to stop playing safe and find the courage to do what really matters to you at work:
For the sake of what do you get out of bed each day?
If you’d like more tested, practical ways to show up, shine and succeed at work grab the free podcast series from some of the world’s leading thinkers in human flourishing.
This article first appeared on Live Happy Magazine.