Valerie, my sister has been a displaced and unemployed autoworker for several years. Recently, she decided to take charge of her life and go back to school to pursue a certificate in a completely different field. I applaud her efforts, because I understand how difficult it must be for her. After all, it's been thirty old years since she's graced the inside of a classroom.
As we talked about her future and what this decision would truly mean, it became clear to me that she was really worried about this new life and afraid of stepping into a new arena. I'm very direct and honest. Being me, I came right out and told her that she was afraid. I then reassured her that it was fine to be worried, to have fears. I went on to tell her, the first thing she needed to do was acknowledge her fears, draw them into the light, examine them, and finally move past them. I cautioned her against allowing the voice of fear to control and make decisions for her. After offering advice on ways to approach going back to school, courses to take to prepare her for this new venture, including making the most of her local library and offering my support and help, Val now possessed the ammunition needed to tackle the future.
Once we were done talking, I sat back and thought about how fear has the power to influence our lives. Like all emotions, fear has a unique and important role to play. It keeps us safe, alert, and cautious. Unfortunately, there is a down side to this emotion. Sometimes it paralyzes us and keeps us from our goals. It makes us question our abilities and skills, who we are, and what we can accomplish. The spirit of fear has destroyed many an aspiration and promising career.
Val's dilemma was not unique and it made me think about writing and how easy it would be to allow my fears to keep me from doing something I truly enjoy. Like a mist that moves in and showers everything in its path, fear has the ability to seep into each and every part of our life and take over. My philosophy - fight it. Don't allow one emotion to win and keep you from the things you desire or from living the best possible life. We all deserve a good, fulfilling, and rewarding life.
Whether your passion is writing, music, or simply going back to school after a long hiatus, don't allow fear to control or destroy your future. Step up, take charge, and embrace the life you worked for and continue to do what makes you happy. Keep this thought in mind, you only have one life and you owe it to yourself to give it your best.
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Remember, don't be a stranger.