One of the best pieces of advice I’ve ever received has also stuck with me for years (it’s that good!) — Don’t make decisions based on fear.
How often are we guilty of this? I’ve watched it happen in both personal and professional situations time and time again. And just like the person who shared this advice had warned (shout out to Lisa!), it never once had the desired effect.
Working in finance, managers across the board were constantly claiming that they absolutely had to give so-and-so a raise or promotion (sometimes both) — not because so-and-so was amazing and deserving, but because they were afraid of so-and-so leaving. Y’all, that’s putting one of those dot band-aids on a gaping gunshot wound. Every. Single. Time.
Outside of work, I know I, for one, have mistakenly made many decisions based on fear — usually the fear of what others will think or say about my choice. So I’d typically choose the path of least resistance to keep from having to deal with others’ opinions. How’d that work out for me, you might ask? Well, I lived a life that wasn’t always mine for years and years (and years). Was it worth it? A million times no.
Why did I think that was the better option? Instead of upsetting others, I was only upsetting myself. Everyone else lived in ignorant bliss that I was essentially punishing myself so that they weren’t inconvenienced.
It’s freeing to finally come to the conclusion that you know what’s best for your own life. And it does become easier and easier to quiet the critics inside and outside your head. Once you decide to live your life for yourself, other people and their opinions start to matter less and less. And when it comes down to it, it’s usually their fear driving their criticism of you anyway. Because they’re afraid to do what you want to do, they project that fear onto you. Be the rubber to their glue. Let their fear just bounce off of you while you chase your dreams.
The theme here seems to be that what seems easier is almost always only easier in that fleeting moment. Once the moment passes, you realize that you’re still stuck in the same spot wishing you’d made a difference decision. Don’t let the fear win. Do the hard things. They may feel worse in the moment, but they will always be less painful to deal with in the long-run than regrets.