• Advice

3 ways to use fear to your advantage

This is a post from a member of the Freelancers Union community. If you’re interested in sharing your expertise, your story, or some advice you think will help a fellow freelancer out, feel free to send your blog post to us here.

I felt stuck. Too scared and worried to actually do anything about it, I stayed sitting at my desk wishing for something better. I didn’t know what I wanted, I just knew that this wasn’t it. There was more to life than what I was experiencing and I wanted to discover it.

I was afraid to leave because I feared the unknown and also feared to fail before I started. I let this fear hold me back too much in my life before, I wasn’t about to let it happen again. I wanted to see what it would be like to be in charge of my own schedule and how I live my day to day. I knew it was now or never, and that this window wouldn’t be open for that much longer. I took the “leap of faith” and ventured on my own and haven’t looked back since.

What is holding you back? What is stopping you from becoming the person that you want to be? a lot of people’s go-to answers are the fear of the unknown, but when you really think about it, why let something that hasn’t happened to deter you away from your goals.

We all deal with fear in our lives. I think we are afraid of the wrong thing. Instead of being fearful of what could happen, we should be fearing of not doing anything at all.

Misguided Fear

Fear of the unknown can be terrifying. It can truly hold us back from becoming who we want to be. It keeps us from exploring things outside of our comfortable bubble and it limits our vision. It makes us stay at our normal jobs and makes decisions for us that we aren’t even aware that we are making.

We cannot allow this fear to control our lives. We shouldn’t be afraid of the unknown, we should embrace it. We should welcome it. We should invite it in and stay a while. We should look forward to it.

You can still feel fear, but instead of letting it hold you back you should use it as motivation. Don’t let something that hasn’t happened actually become reality. By fearing about a situation or reality that hasn’t happened yet, you’re actually proving it to be true by not going out and doing.

To me, that is the scariest thing of all. The fear of the unknown is easy, because technically you don’t even know what could happen five minutes from now. But the fear of letting something hold me back to become what I want to do with my life is what scares the shit out of me.

I may have taken a huge risk by quitting a normal a good job to try something new for myself, but I’d rather fail and get the experience than allow the fear to keep me comfortable. Fear itself doesn’t have to scare you, it actually can be your biggest motivator.

How To Use Fear To Your Advantage

Fear can be a good thing when channeled the right way. I spent many years letting fear hold me back from trying something new or breaking out of my comfort zone, but it wasn’t until I decided to embrace it that I was able to stop fear from controlling my life. If you’re dealing with a lot of fear in your daily life, follow the NEM cycle.

  1. Notice: What are you afraid of? What is holding you back from going out to do the things that you would like to be doing in life?
  2. Embrace: Now that you know your fear, start to embrace it. Welcome it in. Let your fear know that you recognize it, but you won’t let it control your life.
  3. Motivate: Instead of allowing your fear to hold you back, use it as a motivation. Think ahead in your life and picture yourself regretting not doing the things that you wanted because of your fear. Imagine what that feels like and be afraid of it. Don’t let the fear of doing something controls you, fear the action of not doing anything at all. Use it as a motivation to keep in at the forefront of your mind every day to chase whatever it is that you want out of life for the fear of living a life full of regret.

This system worked a lot for me in really sitting down and noticing what was the root cause of the fear and how I could embrace and use it as a motivator. Once you do this you will begin to see that fear has a weaker grasp on you. It’ll no longer be something that holds you back, rather it will be a tool to empower you. That is where the beauty in fear lies.

Try, Do, Fail, Learn, Repeat

For a long time, I use to allow fear to stop me from going after what I wanted. I used fear to keep me in my comfort zone and live up to society's expectations. I used it to base my decisions on and to keep me in my place.

It wasn’t just work related either. I use to let fear stop me from attending certain events or situations because I was afraid of what people might think about my hand. For context, I was born without a left hand. I lived my whole life without it, and never really had an issue with being left out of social circles, but I still used fear as a crutch to hold me back. I would hide out in my apartment or make an excuse not to go out. I was afraid of the judgment that never came.

I started to change the way I approached fear after my Mum passed away. Her passing came out of nowhere and what seemed like happened in a flash. It was a somber reminder that life can drastically change at any time, so you have to enjoy it and being doing the things that you want while you are here. I’d have to say it was during this time that I decided to really work on not allowing fear make decisions for me, and instead used it in my favor. I no longer wanted to be held up by fear, I no longer wanted to give it that power.

I’m not going to lie and say that it is an easy process. It is something that is still ongoing for me today, but I am starting to use it as a motivator more than anything else. Don’t let fear hold you back, life is waiting for you.

Max Pete aka One Hand Wonder Man is a freelance website designer and digital marketer. Max Pete also specializes in social media management, email marketing, content creation, and paid advertising. You can check out his work and get in touch with him via his portfolio