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I’ve officially become a podcast junkie: This is how I found Jerry Colonna’s Reboot podcast.

One of his episodes, “You are Not Alone in the Fear,” discussed failure, but not in a way I’ve heard anyone else talk about failure.

Mostly, you hear people say that failure is a good thing, a great learning experience, fail fast, fail forward, fail your way to success, blah blah blah.

We all hear these things and try to rationalize that this must be true. After all, we’ve all experienced some form of failure or another to varying degrees and we’re still here, right?

I don’t know about you, but that still doesn’t make me look forward to the next time I will inevitably fail at something.

And that’s when I came across this quote from the podcast: “Cognitive awareness does not create transformation.”

Fear of failure is just the surface of what we actually fear. Failure is just an abstract.

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What do we actually fear? That we won’t be able to look at ourselves the same way, that we were wrong this whole time, that our purpose was meaningless, that we will be permanently – as the guest says in the podcast – crushed?

The reason stepping out of our comfort zone is scary, even though we intellectually know it’s the only real way to grow, is because it’s also the only real way to fail.

When you know it’s finally time to start paying off those credit cards, or start saving for a home, or finally quit the job you hate, but just can’t bring yourself to take the first step, ask yourself why.

What are you really afraid of? Once you find the root of your fear, you can transform from it.

I’ve been thinking about this since I listened to the podcast and here’s what I’m really afraid of: I’m afraid that everything I worked so hard to learn and everything I put myself through was actually for nothing.

I’m afraid that I’m going to end up perpetuating the system I’m working so hard to change.

I’m afraid that I’m still just the shy, quiet teacher’s pet who is really good at following directions, but doesn’t really know how to lead.

WOW. I just wrote that last sentence without thinking much about it and it just hit me. Hard. I truly had no idea that I was holding on to that.

Ask yourself what you’re afraid of when it comes to the next big step you want to take. Then pull out some paper or a blank Word doc, and just keep writing until you stop.

I’d love to hear from you. You don’t have to actually tell me what your fears are (you’re welcome to if you’re comfortable!), but let me know what your experience was like going through this process.

The more we share, the more we bring the fear into the light and no longer need to hide behind it.

Pamela Capalad is a Certified Financial Planner™ and the owner of Brunch & Budget. She worked in private wealth management for 7 years and wanted to find a way to help the average person with their finances. She loves helping freelancers and small business owners feel confident about their finances so they can focus on growing their businesses.