The F- Word
If you look at me from the outside, I look like a pretty confident person. I am not opposed to trying new things, having new experiences and taking risks, what remains unseen is the struggle behind that façade — the crippling, almost paralyzing fear that mostly stops me in my tracks and just keeps me grounded.
I’m like most people on earth who grew up having deep insecurities which I have mostly dealt with (read as buried, but that is not today’s point) but sometimes these insecurities come up and manifest themselves in the most unexpected of ways and the most inconvenient of times. When you are as competitive as me, it’s very frustrating when you are stuck because of an invisible force.
FEAR — This singular four-letter word is what MOSTLY holds me back from manifesting my fullest potential. You see, in my drafts, I have written so many articles that have not been published because I fear that they were not good enough. Fear has taken away my voice and my expression too many times already and I refuse to let it win anymore.
Earlier this week, I took up cycling but then my progress was shortened simply because I couldn’t pedal. Ridiculous isn’t it? Little kids start cycling at 4 years old and look so carefree, not a care in the world, no fear of moving there two feet on a metal object at the same time but there I was, grown adult, unable to put my two feet on the pedals together because of Fear.
Similarly, I was so sure that I would be chauffeured about my whole life because I just couldn’t drive on the major roads of Lagos. I had been driving around my estate for about 5 years before I ventured on the roads of Lagos and once I gained the confidence and overcame my fear, I realized how much my fear had cost me: money, time, network, and some other things too painful to quantify.
A friend once told me that fear is a choice. You are not a victim of fear, you are the architect, and every time you let this choice rule, you rob yourself of opportunities and valuable experiences. It is easy to let fear win. Fear is comfortable and we often wear it as a badge of honor because it has been normalized as okay but it really isn’t. It is the stuff that mediocre people are made from.
The more I think about it, the more I realized that fear is also a symptom of a lack of self-discipline and commitment. You make opportunities pass you by because you can anticipate the work involved and being lax is just easier. True growth comes only when we have pushed our bounds and become uncomfortable with the familiar and push for more.
If I hadn’t let my fear cripple me, by now, I would have been swimming, cycling, writing, applying to projects that interest me, walking up to my mind mentors, tweeting my opinions unapologetically, starting my podcast/YouTube channel and doing all the things my very expressive personality fancies because why not but it’s not too late for me yet. I am tackling this choice and making the ones that make me an overall happier/better person.
So here is to tackling all my old friends in no particular order: fear of rejection, fear of being exposed as a fraud (imposter syndrome), fear of joining on the project I want or talking with people I made friends within my head, fear of unknowns, fear of society (what would people think about me), fear of disappointment, fear of reaching my true potential, fear of losing people and burning bridges (letting go of toxic people) and all others that didn’t make the honorary mention list. I hope to be free from you all soon.
Just like in cycling, you have to commit to the ride, equip yourself, put both legs on the pedals, look ahead, and just move. It really is that easy. Stop overthinking it. Just keep pedaling and forging ahead.
I had made baby steps of pushing myself outside my comfort zone by getting an accountability partner, announcing my plans to the world (now I have no choice but to manifest because I said it), forgiving myself when I am less than perfect and setting timelines for myself with room for flexibility but no opportunities for excuses.
By writing this post, I am literally facing my monsters in the eyes and breaking loose of the chains, so help me God.
Goodbye Overthinking and Hello many Failures and many successes on this crazy ride.