"A ship in harbour is safe, but that is not what ships are built for."
While we probably hate to admit it and don’t really think about it, at some stage of our lives, we have all had fears and one that strongly dominated our psyche. In dangerous situations, fears are important because they activate our fight or flight mechanisms. However, in a life where we aren’t always fleeing carnivorous predators, fears can be detrimental to our existence and growth, especially when we let those fears become the forefront of our decisions and actions in our life. Which is why it is so important to recognise our fears and face them instead of forgetting them and running away.
It was sometime at the end of last year, when I recognised a personal fear. I was ridiculously scared of success. It sounds silly, right? “Why would you fear something as wonderful as success?” I thought, “That seems so unfounded. What’s your reason?”
Well, I had several.
Firstly, I was scared of success and becoming wealthy because it meant that I couldn’t use the excuse of not having enough money or resources to achieve my goals, dreams and desires. It meant that complaining about finances would become a habit of the past and that instead of putting the blame on my circumstances, upbringing or personality, my achievements, connections and creations would become my responsibility. It meant that the accountability of my decisions rested on my shoulders: not my boss, parents, teachers, government, friends, enemies, the financial climate or even the weather.
This meant being a real grown up.
It also meant recognising that I was going to make mistakes and that it was up to me how I faced them. And I tell ya, that is pretty scary! It’s scary because you cannot hide or forget. It’s scary because you will have to stand ‘naked’ in front of people with your flaws and misgivings. It’s scary because instead of waiting for anyone to bail you out, you have to save yourself.
I was scared because it involved changing and stretching the perimeters of my comfort zone.
While I am no stranger to change, having been exposed to moving countries and homes and schools many times in my past, this change scared me because I was the initiator. This change was within my power. Instead of reacting or responding to the circumstances that I was thrown into, this time I was creating the circumstances and situations.
Succeeding in something I love meant growing up and stretching the parameters of my comfort zone and thinking. This meant that some of my friendships would also change.
Changing friendships and ‘losing’ people also scared me.
But you know what, I didn’t really lose anyone! Instead, I realised the types of friendships and connections I wanted to have in my life and because I was channelling those thoughts into the Universe, I have met the most amazing, interesting, inspiring and wonderful people along the way.
Though some of the people who used to be in my life are not as prominent anymore, I am learning to understand that they were there for a reason and season. Maybe they'll return, maybe they won't, but if I keep holding onto the fear of 'losing' them, I will never be able to do that work that God has trusted me to do while I am here.
So, how did I overcome my fear about becoming successful?
I faced it, recognised it and processed it.
I realised that those fears were anchoring my boat in the harbour. Soon as I found what the anchor was and where I threw it, I yanked it up onto the deck and started the engine of my boat. That moment set me free and I finally set sail into the edgeless horizon. Now I was excited and I realised that boats are built for sailing and while I am living on Earth, I have to explore the seas and spread the story and do the work I was entrusted by God.
You are also here to succeed and maybe you also have fears that are holding you back. Do you know what they are? Can you face them? Are you willing to conquer them and sail the seas?
Remember, the ship is safe in the harbour.
But like John A. Shedd said, that’s not what ships are built for.
So will you pull in the anchor and embark your journey towards your success and destiny?
Or, will you sit by the shore, watching the other boats and people come in and out of the harbour, silently resenting them for following their calling?