How much are your daily thoughts, feelings, and actions ruled by fear? If you don’t do a lot of risky or “extreme” activities you might be thinking, “oh, not at all.” But that’s not the kind of fear I’m talking about.

The fears I’m talking about are like small pebbles we carry around with us. Taken on their own they are barely noticeable. But as they pile up they form a weight that we get used to as it holds us down from achieving what we want.

In my book, Playing Big I call these fears “lilliputians,” after the pesky munchkin-like people in Gulliver’s Travelers. Like the pebbles analogy, we almost don’t notice they’re there until we realize that there’s some big goal we want to achieve that we are seriously, deeply afraid to go after. These lilliputians aren’t representative of mortal fears like, “will I get hit by a bus tomorrow?” or “am I about to lose my balance and fall off this cliff?” They are fears like, “What if I can’t pay my bills and my spouse leaves me and my kids hate me forever?”

It’s these kinds of fears mostly that keep us from achieving our biggest dreams. In order to put them in their place we have to take a step back and ask ourselves a few questions. First of all, what is it I truly want? And secondly, what do I most fear about trying to accomplish it? Who have you told about this goal? Is there anyone you’re afraid to tell? Why?

Talking through these things with another person is a sure way to make some progress towards understanding the paths available to you. Weigh the pros and cons and imagine what would be different about your life if you go after that big goal. What sacrifices would you have to make? What sacrifices would your family or friends have to make, if any? How would this change alter the lives of the people you love?

As you work through these questions, remember when it comes to doing great things, risk is non-negotiable! All today’s big shot entrepreneurs will tell you the same thing: risk is required to achieve big things. Attempts to mitigate it are always smart, but getting comfortable taking a leap of faith is potentially even smarter.

Ultimately, situations that feel life or death are anything but. Taking a few steps back, enlisting the confidence of a trusted friend, partner, or acquaintance, and closely examining your potential courses of action, feelings, and potential outcomes is extremely beneficial. You can take a stifling situation that you have until now taken for granted and you can turn it into an opportunity for big time growth and accomplishment.

Interested in learning more about Playing Big? Check out the book here, or connect with me on LinkedIn and Twitter @DoubledareCoach.

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