We humans like duality. It makes things easy. It keeps things simple. There's good and there's bad. There's stress and there's relaxation. There's ambition and there's laziness. There's courage and there's fear.
And let's face it — there are few things we like less than fear.
But what if we shone some light on those dualities? What if we realized that, in actuality, they're just two sides of the same coin? What if we picked the fear up from the shadows and embraced that part of ourselves — that part that every single one of us has?
When you flip the coin, fear doesn't look so bad. In fact, fear is the single greatest tool to help you become successful. Your fears can help you accomplish everything you've ever wanted in life. All you have to do is lean into your fears instead of shoving them in the shadows and running away.
Here are four ways that your fears can make you successful:
1. They identify your self-imposed limits and beliefs.
Fears are subjective, and courage isn't about overcoming someone else's fears; it's about overcoming your own. So fears point out where we're personally holding ourselves back from moving forward, and what underlying beliefs are keeping us there. Fear stems from feeling unsafe if you engage in a particular activity. So it helps you unravel your limiting beliefs.
2. They show you what's important to you.
Fear is a strong reaction. If something weren't important to you, you might feel annoyance or anger or maybe even low-level anxiety. But you definitely wouldn't feel fear. That racing heartbeat, those sweaty palms, that clenched stomach are all symptoms of caring a lot about something. Whatever you're most afraid of is an area that you care deeply about — and potentially one of your hidden passions.
3. They're a compass for success.
Without a doubt, fear is the strongest indicator of an obstacle to success. The things you are afraid of are the very obstacles you need to overcome to become successful. With each fear you push through, you prove to yourself that you're capable of surviving something terrifying, and you earn yourself more confidence. In facing the scariest moments of my life — fighting a debilitating illness, telling my best friend I loved him, quitting a high-powered job and starting a new company — I always reached new heights of success, regardless of the outcome.
4. They're the best tool for self-growth.
As wellness and spiritual seekers, we're always on the lookout for positive, enlightened ways to learn more about ourselves and the world. But the truth is that the so-called "negative" parts of ourselves can teach us just as much, if not more, than the positive aspects. Fear shows us areas where we want to grow and expand. And we'll never run out of fears in this lifetime. Every time we conquer a fear, we find a dozen new ones, because it's helping us dig through the layers and find the courage to be ourselves.
At its heart, success is really about self-acceptance. It's about having the self-esteem and courage to be yourself, live the life you were born to live, and create overwhelming abundance for just being you. Not anyone else — just you.
Fear is a part of you. A huge part of you. One that we all want to run away from and hide, because it's unpleasant. It's uncomfortable. And it's unknown. Just like growth.
To become successful — successful on your own terms — you have to lean into your fears. You have to shine some light on them. You have to let them show you the next steps to success.
Even if you're scared. Especially if you're scared.