I Am Afraid

I am afraid. I’m afraid that I’m not being a good enough dad and husband. I’m afraid at work that the company will decide to just get rid of me. I’m afraid that I offend some people with the decisions I make. I’m afraid I miss out on friendships because of my lack of ability to connect with others and set aside my ambitions. I’m afraid that I’ll never find a way to earn a living outside corporate America…

Fear

If you aren’t afraid and are already happily succeeding in life, this article may not offer you much. However, you are welcome to keep reading or to simply stop here.

I work for a public Internet company and today, I accepted a position to be a development team leader for another team. This is the next level of promotion. I’m afraid of leaving my current team behind because we’ve grown to work together pretty well and accomplish great things. I’m afraid that I should just stay on my team and take it easy.

I’m afraid of the uncertainties of taking on a new position. What will the company think? How will I be judged? Am I up to the task to lead and direct, or will I shrink away? Even if I give it my all, will my pay, compensation, and bonuses remain the same? I’m afraid of doing more and receiving the same. I worry about being too greedy. At the same time, I want to ask for more upfront and with confidence.

I’m afraid I won’t make it in my business endeavors. I made my first website in 2004, but gave up after 6 months. Then I started again in 2008. After a few websites, I’m only earning a few dollars a day, most from Google Adsense. I’m afraid I won’t have the discipline to stick with my projects long enough to see if they can be a success. I’m afraid that I’ll never find a way to connect with others and get paid for real value to the marketplace.

I’m afraid of growing old and wallowing in depression and apathy. I’m afraid of giving up on life and being crushed by its demands. I’m afraid that as a species, we’ll never get past bickering and attacking each other, both politically and in wars. Must our politics be marred with public attacks and criticisms? Is that really how far we’ve come as a species in the year 2012?

I’m afraid that I won’t increase my family line beyond what my parents did for me. I’m afraid of dying – deathly afraid. I’m afraid of a fluke accident or illness taking my life. I’m afraid of dying some day and realizing that I really spent most of my time in mindless activities.

My fear is real. I think being optimistic and positive has its place. I’m at a place now where I realize I know fear at least on some level. Maybe not as much fear as a soldier who puts their life on the line. But I know fear from what I feel about not succeeding and not being good enough for those that are close to me.

I’m afraid for the billions of people on this planet. How many of them right now are trying to connect with others and being turned away? How many are trying to raise their voice in the world, but are unheard? How many are trying to start their businesses on their own, but are swept away by the waves of the prominent, successful, and wealthy?

If you’re a soul on this earth and you’re trying to make your business work, but haven’t found much success, I feel your pain, struggle, and sorrow. Is it not a struggle to create something for others? Is it not difficult to produce a truly magnificent work of art? It takes 10 years to be great at something. Are we even capable of persevering that long?

Can we succeed while we are afraid? What can you and I do together to conquer this fear? Do we educate ourselves more? Do we work harder? Maybe both. Is an even better solution to admit we are afraid? Can we at least admit we’re afraid of putting in the really hard work and long hours because we might not succeed. Would that just be a blow to our egos, to fail like that?

I am afraid. You may be afraid. Let’s at least agree to admit we’re afraid (if we are). Then let’s explore why we are afraid. If it’s lack of knowledge or confidence in our ability, then let’s educate ourselves. Perhaps a little education will go a long way. Then let’s try anyway, even if we are afraid. Tonight, I am going to try, even though I am afraid. Will you try with me?

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8 thoughts on “I Am Afraid

  1. Wow, intense post. I agree if we faced the fear and did it anyway, the world would be a better place. It starts one ripple at a time. I’ll definitely try!

  2. Hi Jeremy, I feel your fears. I am reading your email because I am also afraid. I have been offered a position/promotion in my department which will actually start in a year. I will be replacing the IT Director who is leaving in a year. I will have to year to train and learn and will have my boss to lean on for support, but I am afraid just thinking I wont be able to do this. What if I fail? Others have always seen potential in me and have more confidence in me than I do myself. Should I take this position even though I am afraid? The comments are encouraging!

    1. Hi Christeen. I think the fears are important to recognize and come to terms with. Once you come to terms with them, you can know that the next step is facing those fears.

      You say you will be replacing the IT Director? I say go for it, fear and all. Know that to fail is ok if you have given something your best effort. In the end, you will still learn a great deal.

      The main thing is don’t let fear paralyze you from taking action. Let me know how it goes Christeen :)

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