Five things to remember.
Opportunities are scary.
Because they often come after months or years of chasing them and in that time it’s easy to grow comfortable with the chase.
It becomes part of our identity and daily narrative.
Then, suddenly, that opportunity is within grasp.
And we freak out.
Turns out what it takes to chase an opportunity isn’t the same as what it takes to act on one.
Scared by the potential changes an opportunity may bring, it’s tempting to find ways to avoid acting on it — to self-sabotage, hide, and create excuses why it’s not the right opportunity or the right time.
But that’s just fear.
To move past it, remember these five simple things.
- It’s OK to be nervous.
Seth Godin has a great metaphor about marathon runners.
Even the best runners in the world get tired when they run a marathon — it’s not optional.
But successful marathon runners are willing to accept and endure the fatigue to accomplish their goal.
The same is true of opportunities.
A big opportunity may make you nervous, but that’s OK. It doesn’t mean you will fail and doesn’t mean you shouldn’t pursue it.
Being nervous only means you care.
It’s a reason to pursue the opportunity, not recoil from it.
Nerves are a normal side effect of what it takes to embark on something new.
- The alternative is scarier.
It’s easy to focus so much on the scary parts of a new opportunity that you forget the alternative is scarier.
Passing on an opportunity may calm fears momentarily, but it ultimately inflates them.
“What might have been” is a terrifying thought to carry and is why nothing’s scarier than a missed opportunity.
Consider that before you let fear hold you back.
A personal example: It was scary to launch my For The Interested newsletter three years ago, but it’s MUCH scarier to think about what I would have missed out on had I let my fear prevent me from launching it.
- Every opportunity can be undone.
Most fears are rooted in worry that a mistake or failure will ruin your work, career, or life.
But most opportunities aren’t life or death decisions.
If an opportunity doesn’t work out, it won’t kill you— it will just be a temporary setback and a learning experience.
Opportunities pursued can just as easily be undone. But opportunities avoided are difficult to rediscover.
If an opportunity doesn’t turn out how you hoped, you can always go backwards and choose a different path.
The same can’t be said for an opportunity you decline to pursue.
- Nothing’s ever guaranteed.
It’s easy to convince yourself an opportunity is too risky to pursue because every opportunity carries some level of risk and an unknown outcome.
But if you wait for a guarantee of success, you’ll wait forever and never get where you want to go.
Recognize nothing will ever be guaranteed, all opportunities are inherently risky, and that playing it safe will only hold you back.
- Is it a fear of failure…or success?
It’s easy to assume fear of failure is the root of your hesitation.
But that’s not always the case. Sometimes the idea you may succeed could be even scarier.
Success changes lives as much as failure and that’s frightening— especially when you’ve spent years growing comfortable with your current life.
But change isn’t necessarily bad — and success rarely leads to a worse place than you are right now.
The reason you sought this opportunity in the first place is because you believe it will make you happier and drive a positive change.
And it will.
But only if you conquer your fear and pursue it.
I hope you do.
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