Everyone is afraid of something. And, fear is normal. Without fear we would do all sorts of crazy things like walk off a cliff or into oncoming traffic.

Fear can also hold you back. It can keep you from taking chances or risks in your career. It can keep you from asking for a raise or following up on a job you know you would be perfect for. Allowing fear to hold you back will lead to career dissatisfaction because you are not on the court playing a game that means something to you. Instead, you are sitting on the sidelines watching the world go by.
When you look at your career in the future, what do you see? Excitement or unhappiness? Joy or sorrow? Do you know what you need to do to make your career more positive? If you have not acted yet, what are you afraid of? Have you identified your fear or would you prefer to not face it?

Fear, used correctly, can help you move forward. It can help you plan wisely. It can prevent you from jumping in and acting too quickly. But using fear as your excuse for not moving forward can hurt you.

So, how do you not let fear become the biggest enemy in your career? Follow these three steps:

1. Recognize Why You Keep Fear In Your Career

Fear does serve a purpose. It keeps you safe. As long as you are not taking action in your career, you might believe that you don't have to experience disappointment, rejection, or failure. But aren't you experiencing these things anyway? What brings career satisfaction, momentum, and excitement into your career is movement and having something to shoot for; something to look forward to that gives you a reason to get out of bed every day. Fear kills this. You may have many reasons for not taking a chance and they may be good ones. But, know that these reasons are why you are unhappy.

2. Decide That Fear Has To Go

There comes a time in your career when you say to yourself that, "Enough is enough!" "I know that I am afraid and I don't know how things are going to turn out. But, I am done having a career that is making me unhappy. I don't want this anymore." These words are your defining moment. It's when you decide that what you are afraid of is not as bad as staying where you are. It's when you make a decision to move forward despite being afraid. It's an internal shift and calmness because you know inside that whatever happens in the future, you will be OK.

3. Begin While You Still Are Afraid

Who says you have to wait until you are no longer afraid to act? We all want to wake up in the morning and have fear magically disappear. (It would be so much easier that way.) We tell ourselves that we will act then. But the truth is fear is misplaced energy. When you begin to act, this energy will work for you; the fear will burn off, and you will have an intensity that will push you forward. Each step that you will take helps you feel more comfortable with the next step, and so on. This is why goals are not reached overnight. It would be too scary and overwhelming to handle. You have to take it piece by piece. Your goal is to take one action step every day. This action will start to build momentum. Little by little your confidence will rise, and you will take more steps until you reach your goal. And then, you can be proud of yourself because you were a person who was once afraid but you went after your dreams anyway. Good for you!

So, what do you say? You only have one life to live, so it might as well be a life you love!

Deborah Brown-Volkman, PCC, is the president of Surpass Your Dreams, a career, life, and mentor coaching company. She is the author of "Coach Yourself To A New Career", "Don't Blow It! The Right Words For The Right Job" and "How To Feel Great At Work Everyday."

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