The other day I scrolled past a life coach on Instagram talking about defeating your nemesis—what would your life look like if you could do that? I've been thinking about that a lot. What does that actually mean?
We often use the word nemesis to joke about a long-standing rival—Betty in accounting, who makes your life hell, or your older brother, who always seems to be doing better than you. Or that thing that consistently stands in the way of success or happiness—the printer that smells fear or the internet connection that stops working during all your important meetings.
A nemesis can also refer to a situation or outcome that causes one's downfall or defeat. That's what I keep thinking about. All jokes aside, I believe that fear is the nemesis. People hold back, quit, or never do the work because they are afraid of:
Failure Success Rejection Change The unknown Criticism Inadequacy
While all these fears may sound different, they share common ground through symptoms like negative thoughts, beliefs, patterns, and emotions that can hinder personal growth and progress. Our discomfort with fear keeps us from pursuing relationships, friendships, new business ideas, promotions—all the things we really want in our life.
In its most serious form, fear prevents us from reaching out when we're feeling down.
During these times, we need to connect with people the most. Especially those in our lives that push us with tough love or uncomfortable truths.
Fear keeps us clothed in other people's stories.
People love to tell stories about us. You know, it's Brandi, the widow, Sally, who got fired from her big job. Phil, who was in prison. Fear wraps those stories around us because while we may not like the story, it's one we know by heart. We don't have to guess the outcome or look for proof. Fear pushes us into corners and causes us to shrink back. To not speak our truth. To not share that dream we want because it sounds too big and outlandish from where we are today.
Fear keeps us from sharing our work and pursuing those really big things that require a lot of creativity and determination.
We often (unknowingly) hold back, don't put our best efforts in, or hide our true feelings. If we can't zoom out on the bigger picture, we forget that when we put our heart and soul into something, not everybody's gonna like it.
If somebody out there doesn't hate your work, it probably means you're living in a really safe space. You're not putting your best effort into what you're creating, and it's vanilla. It looks like everyone else.
Despite these challenges, fear isn't always a bad thing.
Fear is a natural response to unfamiliar situations and can help keep us safe. The problem arises when we allow fear to control us, to keep us from pursuing our goals and dreams. Finding yourself avoiding new opportunities, procrastinating, or feeling stuck in your current situation may signal that fear is holding you back.
So how can we accept fear as part of the equation?
It starts by recognizing that fear is a part of life, and it's okay to feel it. The key is not to let it control you. Instead, we must lean into the discomfort and act despite the fear.
One way to identify your fears is to listen to your inner dialogue. Are there specific thoughts or beliefs that repeatedly arise when you think about pursuing your dreams? For example, do you tell yourself, "I'm not good enough," "I'll never be successful like so and so," or "I can't have X"? These negative self-talk patterns can be a clue that you are experiencing fear.
Be honest with yourself. Ask yourself if you are truly living the life you want, and if not, why? Why don't you have what you want?
If you suspect that fear is holding you back from pursuing your dreams and achieving your goals, seek support. Talking to a trusted friend, colleague, or mentor can help you gain perspective on your fears and provide support and encouragement as you overcome them. You can also hire a coach
Move your booty.
Ultimately, getting past fear to what you want requires you to act. Facing your fears can be challenging, but taking small steps toward your goals can help you build confidence and overcome your fears. Write your goals down and break them into micro chunks until you arrive at a tiny action you can do today. And then hold yourself accountable for doing it right now.
Overcoming fear takes time and practice. It's not a walk in the park. It's an odyssey. An odyssey is about reaching a destination and personal transformation and growth during the journey. Be patient with yourself and celebrate your successes along the way.
You can achieve everything you desire in life. It starts with seeing your nemesis for what it really is and then taking action on those big scary goals anyway.
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