The One Simple Thing I Tell Myself to Conquer Fear and Anxiety
“Where are you taking us? I don’t want to end up in a ditch somewhere.” My girlfriend said to me as we approached a fork in the path.
“Don’t worry, we’ll figure it out.”
I said, stepping firmly towards the path on the left. We were on a long hike outside Ithaca. We had spent the entire day swimming and climbing and were both very tired.
“Are you sure this is the right way to go? What if we get lost and die in the woods?” She said and I could feel the growing anxiety in her voice.
“I’ll figure it out.”
Did we make the right decision? Was it the right way to go?
No, actually, it wasn’t.
Things don’t always go as planned.
In 2009, I couldn’t get a job. In the heat of the recession, right after graduating college, I tried for months to get a job in finance. Thousands of resumes and cover letters. All for nothing.
Sometimes you get fired. Sometimes you get dumped by someone you love. Sometimes you don’t get the job offer, the dream client, or the girl.
Sometimes I worry about everything in my life…
“What if I lose my biggest client? What if this is all a waste of time?”
Sometimes I worry about stuff that does not have even the most remote opportunity of coming to fruition…
“What if all the money in my bank account gets hacked? What if someone steals my identity? What if the internet shuts down forever?”
But no matter how likely something is to occur, I know I will figure it out in the end. I will roll with the punches. I’ll make it work.
I trust myself, my skills and my discipline to make the best of any situation and to find a way to prevail.
Knowing that I will figure it out, I can stop worrying about what’s outside of my control.
Even if I do lose all my money. Or if I don’t reach my goals. I’ll figure it out.
When I first started my blog I had no idea if it would go anywhere.
Every time I questioned myself I thought the same thing I told my girlfriend when we were on our hike, “I’ll figure it out.”
You can never know if a business is going to work. You can only know that you will figure it out along the way.
Some strategies that I tried failed. I wasted a lot of time and money. But I learned, adapted accordingly, and then tried new strategies. Eventually I did figure it out and now I’m making a bunch of money without having to spend much time on it.
It’s scary to take risks. To be in situations of uncertainty. To not have all the answers.
It takes humility to admit that you don’t have all the answers. To admit that you might fail.
But it is true. You might fail. We all might. But it is also true that you are skilled, smart, and hardworking.
Once you accept these two realities, “I’ll figure it out” becomes a very true and empowering statement.
When you don’t know that you can figure it out, you may as well worry about everything.
But when you know it will be ok in the end, it doesn’t matter what goes wrong.
I can get lost in the woods and I would find a why to get us home safe.
I can lose all my money tomorrow and I would figure out how to make it back.
The economy can collapse and I would figure out how to stay safe.
We did get lost on that hike.
10 minutes into the path I had chosen I started to question if it was the right path. I started to overanalyze my decision. I thought about why I made this decision and why I didn’t choose the other one. And I started to feel a creeping guilt for bringing my girlfriend with me.
Just as I was about to consider tracking back, we saw the edge of the pavement that indicated the parking lot was around the corner.
We figured it out. I always figure it out.