Fear too often guides decision making and keeps people from reaching their goals. Overcoming fear is a constant challenge, but will typically lead to greater happiness. Today’s political landscape highlights how fear is leading decision making, which breeds further fear. Education, meeting other people, and getting out of your comfort zone is critical to overcoming fear which guides so much of our daily life.
I am a 6 on the Enneagram, so I understand fear and anxiety. Through implementing a few practices, I work each day to not let fear control my life.
Fear and Finances
With the financial news focused on discussions on bull/bear markets, impending market crashes, and doomsday prep it’s a wonder we all get out of bed in the morning.
But letting fear guide your choices ensures that you will be on the hamster wheel for much longer. Instead take some time, and write out a 5, 10, 20 year plan. Reflecting on your goals will help you set specific financial goals, so next write those down. Our household mission:
We buy and hold low fee index funds with the goal of reaching financial independence before turning 40.
That one sentence is short, but carries so much weight. If the market were to crash tomorrow, it will help us stay the course (although *millennial alert* we haven’t been tested through a real recession). It also keeps us focused and from giving into lifestyle creep.
For many years I let fear guide my finances, in the form of inaction, since I didn’t know where to begin. I lacked proper financial education and was terrified to lose my hard earned money.
Now, we have a lot more money, but I have taken the time to read other blogs and books, so I don’t spend my days watching MSNBC or worried about the stock market. Life is too short to obsess, it is only money; I can earn more and buy on discount if there is a major drop.
Inaction is fear! If you are still at this point, I urge you to take some time, and educate yourself so you can move forward and invest, save, or pay off debt.
Fear and Work
As a millennial, I am typically the youngest one in the room during meetings. I’m also typically one of two women. Instead of letting this paralyze me with fear, I use it as an advantage, since I have a unique perspective.
If you are a millennial, make sure you listen to others and learn from their experience. I tend to be quiet, but when I do speak it carries more weight. My first real manager was great at this. He would pause and think through what he was going to say. His sentences were concise, thoughtful, and contributed to the conversation.
Mistakes are inevitable, own up to them if needed at work. I’ve made a handful and spent the weekend terrified for the implication. Owning up to mistakes and having a plan of action helps to show you are engaged and willing to make changes to not make the same mistake again.
If you are stuck in a job that is making you miserable, find a new one. I changed jobs 1.5 years ago, and while the new job isn’t perfect I have a much better work-life balance.
Fear and Travel
Facing the unknown is overwhelming, and going to a new place or country can be sensory overload. If you have dreams of travel, just go. Bring a friend with more travel experience if that’s what you need.
I check out the latest Lonely Planet travel guide from my library when I go abroad. I also use Trip Advisor.
Meeting other people, learning about other cultures, and getting out of your comfort zone is a great way of overcoming fear. Talk to people in your life, read travel blogs, and get the courage to go! Even if the experience isn’t great, you probably won’t regret it.
I spent two summers during college living in East Africa. I sacrificed income, when I didn’t have much money, it maybe pushed my FI date out, but it also helped me learn and set more specific life goals. Living in the Swahili culture, which is slower and more people focused, helped break me out of my shell and question mainstream materialism. Those summers taught me that there are ways to work hard that aren’t for the pursuit of things.
Today, I wanted to reflect on overcoming fear since it can be so paralyzing. Fear is linked so closely to finances.
I overcome fear through practicing yoga, pushing myself to action, and jumping out of my comfort zone.
How do you overcome fear?