Top 3 Fears of Leaving the 9–5 & How to Slay Them

Photo credit: stuant63 / Foter / CC BY-NC
“This is the last year I’m putting up with my job and lifestyle.”

You said this to yourself this year.

And the year before.

And the year before that.

You’re even beginning to get a bit frustrated at yourself. “Yeah, I already know this. Thanks for reminding me again, smart ass”.

The plot hasn’t changed in your life story. The excuses are still the same.

The fears are still the same.

I’m sorry to be the bearer of bad news. But these fears aren’t going away.

In fact, you’re going to get new fears every year. Every day. Sometimes every hour of the day.

Captain Jack Sparrow said it best with this truthbomb: “The problem isn’t the problem, it’s your attitude about the problem”.

If fears are all around us at all times, we cannot try to change the fears, but we can change our attitude around them.

In all these problems and foreseen hurdles we have anticipated in having if we finally pursued what we wanted, it is just another story we’ve made up to mask the fear(s) we feel inside. You probably only have a few fears, but it’s showed up in the mask of another circumstance, another excuse, and another reason of why you shouldn’t do it.

And it’s all coming into your reality because you are feeding the belief of that fear.

Yes, you’ve been in control the whole time. You. Your focus and lenses of life have targeted and created a radar to pick up only these things that have fed into your belief about your fears.

Our brains are quite malleable, and easily influenced. It’s like a computer. What you feed it will either make it work better, or create a virus that makes things go wonky.

You need to be aware of what you are feeding your brain, and how you feed your fear. The fear part of you needs new evidence to change its ways.

This is where you have the most control.

I’m going to share the top 3 fears I see the most in my own life experience with breaking out of the ordinary, and also what my own clients have experienced while working with me.

Fear #1: I am not good enough to do anything amazing in my life

Most people struggle with this. We wake up and say, “Who am I to do something that can change the world? Little old me? I better just get in line and be told what to do because at least I don’t have to feel the pressure of actually having a voice and seeing if people will like me for what I have to say”.

We walk through life playing small. We don’t say the things we really want to say (even to our friends and family). Because we don’t believe that people will care, or what we say will matter.

In majority of people’s lives, especially if you’re in the 9–5 lifestyle, there aren’t significant moments where we can actually be aware of our best selves. Your days are probably quite routined, you do the same things you do most days, and see the same people quite often at work or in your personal life. You aren’t doing things of variety at all times to experiment with how you excel, and are not getting enough feedback from your environment to pinpoint exactly where you are amazing.

Another factor is that you’ve been so busy being busy in the hamster wheel of life that you haven’t even noticed some great things you are capable of doing because it’s been drowned out by your hustling around.

When was the last time you took inventory of all the great things you ARE capable of in your life? If you weren’t good at anything, you wouldn’t have ever been hired. You wouldn’t have people that say “thank you” for something you’ve done. You wouldn’t have been able to survive in the world. You DID and are DOING something to be where you are today.

So if awareness is the first step in giving yourself recognition for your amazeball-ness, you need to start noticing.

Your brain says: You’re not good enough. You have nothing of value to share.

Your heart wants to say: I am good enough. I have value to offer others. I matter.

Bite-sized action to feed new evidence to your brain:

For 7 days straight, write down 10 things you have done and/or doing that others around you have expressed that they value about you. It doesn’t have to be tangible things only, it can be the way you’ve made someone feel better about themselves, or how you’ve helped someone solve a problem they couldn’t solve for themselves.

Don’t overthink the 10 things. You are probably doing it so naturally and so often that you haven’t given yourself credit for it. Enough with that. Start complimenting things you are great at if you expect others to do the same for you.

Check in on how you feel each day. You can do this exercise before you to go to bed at night, as you recollect your day and reflect on how you’ve been of service or helpful to others. Think back about all the significant times you’ve been successful and rewarded for it. Think of all the hurdles you’ve overcame to have the life you have today. Think of all the milestones of your life that you’ve managed to accomplish.

Fear #2: I won’t make enough money to support myself

The topic of money scares the shit out of most people. It still does for me till this day. We live in a world where we need money, and this topic doesn’t have to be one you should ignore or avoid.

I remembered when I first started thinking about quitting my job and what I would start to replace my income if I was to venture out on my own. I was so focused on what business idea would make me money, and became immersed in how to make lots of money that I lost track of why I wanted to quit in the first place. To lead a more meaningful and fulfilling life.

If I was to only pick the business idea that made me the most money, that wasn’t going to save me from being a glorified employee in my business, and still doing things I didn’t want to do.

I may get to work from home with no pants on, but I would still be miserable.

Don’t start like this.

Here’s the thing about making money. You need to start thinking about how you can be of value to others.

People exchange THEIR value of money, for things that are of value to them. So what can you create and solve for them that can of value, that will help them get to where they desire to go? How can you ease a pain? Solve a problem?

People used to trade livestock and things they make for other things they can’t get themselves. Nowadays, we use paper money as the currency of exchange.

So don’t let the idea of money scare you. Instead, focus your attention on what you can create that would be of value to the world.

Your brain says: I am not going to make enough money to replace my income. I won’t survive in the world.

Your heart wants to say: I have something to exchange to others that is valuable so they will pay me. I can make a difference.

Bite-sized action to feed new evidence to your brain:

Reflect and write down every problem you’ve ever solved for yourself and for others. I don’t care if it sounds trivial. It may be trivial for you because you kick ass at solving it, but for someone else who isn’t built to solve something like you do, this is of value to them.

When you’ve listed out the problems, in another column, write down how you solved it and what insights you now wish you could share with other people. What do you know that they don’t know if they are experiencing that problem now? You are one, two, three steps ahead of them, so you have solutions they don’t know about. What are they?

Which are your favourite problems to solve? Make note of them, as these can have some common themes.

Fear #3: I’m going to fail and it’ll all blow up in my face

Ah, failure. That goddamn feeling of everything fucking up so badly you’ll never be able to live it down. Where everyone around you shuns you, and you’ll never be able to pick up the pieces again.

You’ve been a great storyteller. You’re so imaginative that you’ve created an amazing story about something that hasn’t happened yet.

You’ve been a great magician of making things up.

You may possibly already have an inclination of something you want, whether it’s a new career, a business idea, or a different way to live your life. But you haven’t started any action on bringing it to life.

You have started to imagine all the things that WON’T work out, and how many ways you will self implode. It’s been playing like a merry go around in your head.

And it’s all been made up.

So if you’re able to make things up so easily, why don’t we try making other things up that you can actually feel good about?

Better yet, let’s redefine failure, and embrace the fact that failure is all part of the process. In all perceived “failures”, there are answers and insights on how to do it better.

Did you know that most people who are successful have failed more times than they have succeeded? To be able to get what you want, you cannot let the fear of failing be the only card you play to not make a move. Because each move you make, is going to open up new doors. It’s going to give you more clarity on how to do it better.

Your brain says: I am going to fail and never live it down. I won’t be able to get up from it.

Your heart wants to say: Failing is part of the process to what I really want. I don’t have to be afraid of it and know that when things don’t go right, I just have to use that information to give me new direction of what is going to be right.

Bite-sized action to feed new evidence to your brain:

Step 1: Redefine failure and its meaning to you

Your life experience has come with lots of successful moments, and also what you’ve categorized in your brain as “failures” or “mistakes”. What were these so-called failures and mistakes?

Now think about each failure and mistake, and think hard on what else was happening during that time.

What did you become aware of from that time that helped you see the world differently?

How did experiencing that “failure” lead you to a new door of a something else that was beneficial to you?

What did you find out about yourself that you wouldn’t have if that “mistake” didn’t happen?

How has all these things shape who you are today and why are you thankful for it?

Step 2: Tell new stories to yourself

If you have some sort of misconception that people who have been successful are either lucky or are just smarter than you, wipe that out of your brain.

This is so far from the truth and a complete lie that has stopped you in your tracks.

You need to feed evidence to your brain that there are others just like you that have used their hurdles and “failures” to do amazing things with their lives. You can start here.

When you think of people you admire, spend some time researching (or if you know them, ask!) how they got to where they are today. Read the stories, the memoirs, and the things they went through. Find out how they overcame those obstacles and what they did about it.

Change your mindset that failure cannot help you get to where you need to go. It isn’t the thing you have to avoid, but what you have to embrace (and want to fail often) to allow you to think big and take action to see where it can go.

“Fear is not real. It is a product of thoughts you create. Do not misunderstand me. Danger is very real. But fear is a choice.” ~ Will Smith

Our attitude around our fears can change the reality of our world. Every minute of the day, you are making things mean something to you. And that meaning forms a belief, which allows you the permission to go after what you want, or hinder you from seeing the open doors that are already around you.

When our heads are filled with fear, there isn’t room to dream.

Pick one fear to feed new evidence to change that fear. What is it? Did you use an exercise that I shared to do this?

I would love to hear from you, so please comment below on what you did, and how it felt when you fed new evidence to your brain.

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