One of the more popular topics in the blogosphere lately is fear. More and more, people who've achieved some degree of celebrity have turned the spotlight onto the crippling fear that we all face when we chase our dreams. This light is being used to show that even people who seem to have it all, who are at the top of their game, had to battle it out with their own fears of inadequacy in order to reach their goal. Fear is paralyzing, but often is unfounded.
Fear's growth is more of a small creep. It’s slow, methodical, and frankly, genius. It knows how to mask itself as humility or as some sort of savior, protecting us from public embarrassment or shame. We give fear way too much credit, often seeing it as a friend instead of the adversary that it truly is. We give it power and influence over us that it doesn't deserve. As a result, we limit ourselves. We stop chasing a dream that could be really good for us. We stop pursing an interest that would help people. We stop doing what we love over the trivial thought that not everyone will love and adore our work as we do.
We've got to get out of the people pleasing business. No matter what your skill, talent, or dream is, it can't be for everyone. The business side of you will want to expand your audience as large as you can in order to maximize profitability. The problem is, when your audience is too big, you reach no one. You stop responding to the very real and personal problems that each person faces and instead you have to over generalize. When your impact is reduced, ironically, so is your audience. Instead of trying to grab every person's attention, focus on an audience, and do amazing work. The quality of your work will inspire people at the fringes who will engage your audience. For example, when I write for Catholic husbands and fathers, I might not reach all of them. But, when I write for them and inspire readers who may be wives, they might turn their husbands on to Catholic Husband, and in that way I reach my target audience.
The thing about fear is that it's a coward. It dissipates the moment we call it out. A strong dose of reality instantly dismisses fear. Reality shows that fear has been lying to you. We see the true size of the danger or the possibility of failure and it's minuscule compared to what fear told us. In the light, we can see what the darkness truly conceals; there's never a monster hiding under your bed.
Living a life in fear is a terrible existence. We're robbed of fun, we're robbed of spice, and we're robbed of the true joy that comes with chasing our dreams. I face fear on a daily basis and it tells me that my writing isn't good enough. It tells me that my book isn't worth the paper that it's written on. It tells me that tomorrow is a better day for getting work done. But I know the truth. I know how much fun it is to write, create, and share Catholic Husband. I know the excitement of watching a book come together, the joy of making the website a treat to visit, and the fun that comes with putting my thoughts to paper. I may not be a best seller today, but I will certainly never be one if I don't try. I may not have the greatest ability to share my thoughts today, but I won't grow as a writer unless I practice now. I may not sell 1,000 copies of my book this year, but I might sell 10,000 of my next book.
Fear is a lousy friend. Chase your dream, pursue your passion, and live your life boldly.