What are you so afraid of?

So many of us live our lives in fear of something. One of my favorite people Sheryl Sandberg asks,

“What would you do if you weren’t afraid?”

So, what are we so afraid of?

  • Fear of failure
  • Fear of not being liked
  • Fear of being judged
  • Fear of looking stupid (or asking a stupid question)
  • Fear of parental disapproval
  • Fear that I won’t make any money doing this
  • Fear of mumbling or not sounding smart
  • Fear of making the wrong decision
  • Fear of making a fool of yourself
  • Fear of trying and not succeeding the first time
  • Fear that everyone is looking at you
  • Fear that everyone will make fun of you
  • Fear of your relationship ending

When my students come to see me in my office, I usually ask them why they don’t speak up in class or why this is this is the 1st time they’re seeing me during office hours….and their answers are usually the following: “I was scared; You intimidate me; I’ve never spoken to a Professor before; I didn’t know how to ask for help; I thought I would look like an idiot for asking this in class; I’ve been procrastinating.” 

I’ve had students in their final year of university speak to me only to find out I’m the first and only Professor they’ve ever spoken to during their entire university career!!  –This is shocking to me. And this needs to stop.

As women we need to stop taking things so personal, stop obsessing with the idea that everyone is thinking about you (they’re not). You must assume the best of others, not the worst. Professors don’t wake up each day with the hardened idea to destroy students.

Fear will mess with your mind, it’ll create doubt about your abilities, it’ll get you to downplay your accomplishments and worse of all it will create a vicious cycle whereby you consistently underestimate yourself, then you stop reaching for things, and then you’re exactly where you feared you’d be: nowhere.

Take this challenge: Do one thing today that scares you, something that makes you feel completely uncomfortable. For some of my students it’s something as simple as talking to a stranger. Saying ‘hi’ to someone on the street that you don’t know. Asking your boss a question.

Let me know how it works out.

BTW: writing this blog scares me. Putting my words out there for anyone to dissect or worse to criticize (gasp!) is scary. But the alternative (not going ALL IN to my career), is so, so much worse.

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