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Have you ever set a big goal for yourself that you secretly thought was ridiculous? I have. I’ve had a goal so big that when I would try to think about it or come up with a strategy, I would experience crippling anxiety.

I’m a pretty confident person and I know that I’m capable of reaching big goals, but for some reason I was experiencing fear. As I pondered why this was, I stumbled upon some great insights for myself and started to feel more equipped to fight and overcome the fears that come between me and my goals.

In this episode we’re talking about the possible roots of our anxiety when it comes to pursuing big goals, and some truths that can help us see our fears in a new light.

Highlights, Takeaways, & Quick Wins
  • It’s the big, impossible goals that make a huge impact.
  • Caution is taking steps forward while keeping an eye out for potential dangers.
  • You are either changing passively or you’re actively engaged in the process.
  • Failure is an opportunity to learn things, move forward, and gather real information.
  • Failure is something that happens, but it’s not who you are.
  • You can do hard things.
  • Allow yourself to be exposed to your deficiencies to move forward toward your goal.
  • The ability to say no is a huge factor when it comes to reaching your goals.
  • The more real experiences you have, the quieter the voices of fear are going to be.
  • If your goal is big enough, there’s going to be something you don’t know.
  • If you overcome fear once, you will have greater confidence that you can overcome it again.
  • Overcome fear through practice.
  • Your success in pursuing and reaching your goal likely depends on whether or not your spouse is on board.
Show Notes
  • 05:51 Ben: Rachel, have you ever had a goal so big that it scared you?
  • 06:00 Rachel: I don’t know that anything has ever scared me. Maybe when I graduated and was going off to college, that might have been the one thing that scared me. Maybe I approach goals differently and maybe I don’t make them big enough. I don’t know, but I don’t tend to get scared by goals.
  • 06:24 Ben: It may be, Rachel, that you’re just not a scaredy cat.
  • 06:30 Rachel: I tend to go to the other side. I become obsessive about a goal to the detriment of myself.
  • 06:43 Ben: With this title, I imagine people seeing it and thinking, “I’ve never had a dream/goal so big that it scared me.” Or, some people would say, “Oh, yeah, I’ve had a goal so big that it scared me. That was really uncomfortable, and I hated it.” There is probably everything in between. I want for people to have goals so big that it scares them. I think that’s a good thing, because if you’re dreaming that big and the goal is that big, there’s some unknown, and there’s some healthy fear associated with that. We’ll talk about working through unhealthy, debilitating fear.
  • 07:33 I think that healthy fear is indicative of something that’s worth shooting for. If it wasn’t scary, if it was really practical, it could still be really good, fulfilling, and add value to the world.

It’s the really big goals that feel impossible that make a huge impact.

  • 08:00 Rachel: I wonder if I’m misunderstanding a little bit. When I think about the time right after I lost my job and Ben wasn’t working for anyone—he was building a business—that was probably the scariest circumstance we’ve ever been through. We had just welcomed a baby and two days later I lost my job, I was laid off, and there was this big unknown.
  • 08:30 Ben: Sometimes, it’s not the goal itself, but it’s the fact that pursuing that goal means something else. For Rachel for instance, pursuing the goal of being a full time writer meant that she wasn’t going to look for another job. There’s still some fear associated with that. That’s a really big goal—the goal of doing something at the level where you don’t have to have a job. I think that counts.

Fear, Caution, & Doubt

  • 09:05 There is some healthy fear that goes into that. We have some great questions coming up that talk about the difference between fear and caution. Fear is a good mechanism, something that helps us to be more aware of the potential dangers. If used correctly, fear can help us make better decisions. Even if we’re going in a direction that’s dangerous, we’re more aware of what the next right step is and what we should try to avoid. In that sense, fear is good. What happens a lot of times for folks is that it has this runaway effect. It ends up becoming this thing that causes them to idle, to stop taking steps forward, stop taking action, and to get overwhelmed by their thoughts of what might happen or what people might think.
  • 10:19 Rachel: I don’t know if this is getting too philosophical, but I would be curious to know what Ben believes is the connection between fear and doubt. I struggle much more with doubt than I do with fear.
  • 10:40 Ben: Aaron asked, “What is the difference between fear and caution?” I’m going to bring doubt into this, too. I listen to a podcast called Back to Work, and I love the way that Merlin Mann, one of the hosts, describes it. He says, “Fear is like being in a tent in the woods and thinking there may be a bear.” That thought, in and of itself, is neutral. It’s what you choose to do with that thought and what you choose to believe that makes fear good or bad.

Caution is taking steps forward while keeping an eye out for potential dangers.

Fear is really just the thought, feeling, or idea of potential danger.

  • 12:03 It’s not necessarily real. Danger is a real thing. Danger is when you poke your head out and there actually is a bear. That’s danger.
  • 12:26 Rachel: The problem is when you have a really good imagination, fear can take over. I’m a grown woman, and I do not like turning off the lights downstairs by myself. Whenever I turn toward our back door, which has windows in it, I see faces. That’s just my imagination, but I imagine that there’s a creeper out there watching.
  • 13:00 Ben: In your mind, you’re choosing to believe that something is real that isn’t. If you look at it objectively, you know that’s not real, and you can’t verify that it’s not real unless you go outside and look. Rachel, where are you experiencing doubt?
  • 13:38 Rachel: In abilities and stuff like that. When you have a dream or a big goal, sometimes it’s not the big goal that scares you, but you doubt that you would be able to do it.
  • 13:59 Ben: In that case, I would liken doubt to fear in that it’s passive. Doubt is your idea about some potential reality. Optimism is an idea of a potential reality. None of those things are real. You don’t experience what’s real unless you do something. That’s a huge turning point when it comes to dealing with fear.

The Roots of Fear

  • 14:38 Doubt is definitely one of the roots, but first I want to talk about some other things that are a little bit more obvious. We’re talking about this today because I have a big goal, and it scares me. To be honest, I’m still very much on the fence as to whether or not I want to pursue this and really go all out. It’s our financial goal for this year. I’m dealing with almost all of these roots. I had to get really introspective, because I would have crippling anxiety when I thought about it and I tried to strategize. I feel like I’m a pretty confident person, so I didn’t know why I was having that response.
  • 15:35 I sat down and I tried to identify what was going on. Here are some of the potential roots. One of the fears is that things may change and change is scary. Your circumstances might change if you pursue this goal. Your location might change. You might really like where you are, and pursuing this might mean going to a new place. Your relationships might change. Your own mindset, you yourself as a person, might change. Will pursuing this change you into somebody that you might not be okay with? Things may change, and change is scary. That’s generally true across the board. As I list these roots, I’m going to share a truth that helps frame these fears in a different light.

Things are going to change one way or the other—you’re either changing passively, or you’re actively engaged in the process.

  • 16:58 There’s nothing you can do to stop that from happening. Change is inevitable. Being actively engaged in the process looks like saying, “Okay, I’m going to change either way. I may as well do it while I’m pursuing something that’s a dream or a goal that I have. Regardless of who I become or what changes around me, I know that change is going to happen anyway, and at least this way I get to be involved in seeing how that happens.” Another root is that you may fail. Failure is a huge topic in and of itself. I had to ask myself, “What does failure mean to me?”
  • 18:04 What happens if you fail? What does it mean to you? I ask, “Who’s voices are you letting into the process, and what does your failure mean to them?”
  • 18:16 Rachel: Those are big ones, because for a lot of us who have wounds from our childhood, it comes back to those voices from our childhood. Those things are not easy to overcome.

Failure is a new beginning, not the end.

  • 18:43 Ben: If you are objective and you think back to your past, you’ve failed many times. You’re still breathing. You’re still alive. You’re probably, hopefully, in a better place than you were before. Things are getting better, growing, or increasing, and either way, you have survived failure. It’s not an end. It’s a new beginning, because failure is an opportunity to learn and move forward. When you fail, you’ve identified something that doesn’t work—or something that would have worked, but doesn’t work yet or under certain circumstances. There’s information there, and that information is useful data for moving forward.
  • 19:42 Rachel: There was a time that Ben used this question, “What is going to happen if we fail?” We were three months into me losing my job and Ben trying to build his business, and it was really slow going. We had run out of savings and severance, and there was a month that we had nothing. I said, “Oh my gosh. We’re going to be homeless. We’re not going to be able to feed our kids or have a place to live,” and Ben said, “What happens if that happens? So we’re out on the streets. We’re going to survive.”
  • 20:35 Ben: That sounds like I was being dismissive, but that goes back to how your fears are ideas of what might happen. You don’t actually know the reality of the situation until you’re experiencing it.
  • 20:56 Rachel: That didn’t happen, obviously.
  • 21:05 Ben: It can feel like those things are real. It’s important to know that, too. The feeling you’re experiencing is subjectively true for you. Failure and the potential of failure stops a lot of people, because they don’t want to fail. They feel like it’s an end, and they don’t know what’s on the other side of that. Really, failure is a great opportunity to learn things, move forward, and gather real information. You’re no longer stuck with your fears and ideas, but now you know what actually happens. You can use that moving forward.

What Other People Think

  • 21:58 Rachel: Growing up, some of us had expectations placed on us. Not necessarily by our parents, sometimes by our peers or our teachers. For me, I graduated top of my class, and people voted me “Most Likely to Succeed.” When I’m trying something new, those fears come back to haunt me. I think, “Is this something the person most likely to succeed would do? What if I fail? That means I wasn’t the most likely to succeed.” Those expectations can become part of our identity. I’ve had to work really hard to separate myself from those things. When we went through a lot with our firstborn son, those thoughts came up. “What if I fail at parenting? What are people going to think?” It’s hard to separate ourselves from the expectations of other people.
  • 23:02 Ben: I want to read what Cory wrote in the chat, because it’s a great representation of what you just said, “Failure is an event, not a personal characteristic.” Failure is something that happens, but it’s not who you are. It doesn’t change who you are. The people who are most successful, who are really the most likely to succeed, are the ones who have learned that failure is okay. It’s useful, and it’s a necessary part of making progress toward a goal. When it comes to the voices of other people, I focus on close friends and family, because I don’t want you to care at all about people who don’t matter to you.
  • 24:00 Rachel: There are a lot of those. They’re just jerks about what you do.
  • 24:06 Ben: I almost don’t even want you to care about anybody else’s idea of success or failure—I don’t want you to care about that. It’s also good to realize the truth, that the people who’s opinions and ideas you value, the people closest to you, are less concerned with you than you think. They spend a fraction of their time thinking about you and your success. Most of the time, they spend thinking about themselves, their own success, and the things that are important to them.

If most peoples’ time is spent thinking about things other than your success and happiness, why should what they think hold any weight for you?

  • 25:08 Most of the time, your family’s underlying motivation is that they want happiness for you. They want the best for you. That’s not always true. Sometimes, even though that’s their underlying motivation, it comes out in a way that seems opposite to that, but it’s because their definition of happiness, fulfillment, and success may be different from yours. Those are the truths I use when it comes to the question, “What if I fail?”

Fear of Success

  • 25:51 Daniela asked, “What if you’re scared that you wouldn’t be able to keep up if your dreams came true? I definitely experience fear of success much more than fear of failure. Failure is familiar. I know what to do with it. Success, however, is the unknown.” You might succeed. That goes back to how things may change, and change is scary. There are some other questions in there. What does success mean to you? What are the external voices, and what do they think about your success? Again, success is similar to failure. It’s not an identity or who you are. It’s just an event.
  • 26:50 Reaching a goal is something that happens, but it doesn’t hold any bearing on who you are as a person. It’s also not a destination. I like to separate success from reaching something. Success looks like forward motion. If we are defining it that way, then reaching a goal is good and notable, but it’s removed more from our identity. Therefore, it’s easier for us to continue seeking more success and reaching other, bigger goals. Some of the fear is rooted in the fact that, when you’re successful, a lot of times that means that you have more responsibilities.
  • 27:46 You may not know whether or not you can handle those responsibilities. Your previous successes have brought you new responsibilities. If you’re a grown up listening to this podcast through your phone in your car on your way to a job, you have responsibilities that you didn’t have once upon a time because of successes, milestones you reached where you were deemed worthy to take on these responsibilities. Some of these responsibilities were scary at first, but over time, you were able to adapt and rise up to those responsibilities.
  • 28:32 I remember being a kid and just graduating high school, feeling like having a bank account, car insurance, and all of that stuff was the scariest thing in the world. Now, that feels like breathing. Those are things I do because I’m an adult, but there was a time when I had to rise up to those new responsibilities. If you’ve been capable of doing that in the past, you are capable of doing that again.

You can do hard things.

  • 29:23 Rachel: The five year old was trying to put on his shoes the other day, and he was moaning and groaning about how hard it was. I let him be for a few minutes and I watched him. He got them on and he said, “Finally! I did it!” I said, “See? You can do hard things.” He said, “Can I build a house? No.” It was the funniest thing. I didn’t say anything else, but I thought, “You could, if you put your mind to it.”
  • 30:12 Ben: It has to do with how we think subjectively about different types of responsibilities and tasks. For some things, we have unrealistic ideas like, “That’s easy. I could handle that.” We become really dismissive, and if we were to take that on as a responsibility, it wouldn’t feel like a big deal. There are other things that, once we experience them, end up being fairly easy, but we have this idea in our head that there’s this really difficult thing. We imagine that there’s a huge learning curve, a gap between what we know how to do and what we don’t know how to do.
  • 30:59 It’s good to recognize that, also. Our own subjective ideas about the responsibilities that might come with being successful aren’t reality. They’re just our ideas, the stories we’re telling ourselves. We don’t know the real story until we experience it. Neil in the chat said, “The fear of expectation from others that comes with success is a big part of it.” I can definitely see how, if I’m successful, part of it is the responsibilities, but another part may be that people expect things of me that I may not be willing to do.
  • 31:54 You can say no. The ability to say no to things is huge. If you go to seanwes.com and search for the word “no,” there are lots of episodes about saying no (Related: seanwes podcast e140 Supercharge Your No With a Reason for Saying Yes). Saying no is a tremendous skill. The ability to say no is a huge factor when it comes to reaching your goals. In order to reach big goals, there are a lot of things you’re going to have to say no to.
  • 32:34 Your family and friends want success for you, but there’s this contradiction that’s going on. They want success for you, but they also want you to stay the same. Sometimes, they are afraid that if you’re successful, it’s going to change your relationship with them somehow. It will come out in really strange ways. They may not even be able to identify that. They’ll think, “You’re changing. You’re becoming this other person,” and they’ll treat you differently. The truth I hold onto there is that I cannot control the way other people relate to me, but I can control the way I relate to other people.
  • 33:24 I can control the way I relate to my family and my friends, regardless of whether or not I experience success. They can’t define for you how you’re going to relate to them. They can define that for themselves. They might cut you off, block you, or say, “I feel like you’re this different person now,” but you get to decide how you’re going to relate to them.

Fear of Our Deficiencies

  • 34:01 This fear is where Rachel’s doubt comes in. You’re not sure if you can deliver on the value. Part of your big goal may be that there’s something you need to do, some talent that you need to contribute to that, in order to make it happen. You’re not sure whether or not you have what it takes. This fear is really complicated. Part of it is that we not only doubt that we have what it takes, but we might also be afraid to find out. There may be some identity wrapped up in our skill. There’s the potential that if you submit something for critique or you ask someone to objectively tell you where you’re lacking, what if they discover some deficiency?
  • 35:03 What if that means that you’re not a good person? What if that influences your identity somehow? That’s the fear that messes with people a lot, and it keeps them from growing. In order to grow, you have to be able to identify your weaknesses, your deficiencies. The people who become great, who become masters in their skill, are not people who never had moments where they were faced with their deficiencies. Those people face their deficiencies as often as possible. They sought them out, they kept pushing.
  • 35:46 They said, “A lot of people think I’m really great at this, but I need to find the person who’s better, who’s more insightful, who can tell me where I’m falling short.” There’s a lot of power in that. Once you’ve identified that, you can say, “That’s something I can work on,” and you’re taking control. Doing the work is the best way to improve.

Allowing yourself to be exposed to your deficiencies is the best way to move forward toward your goal.

  • 36:27 Rachel: I would also add that doing the work correctly is the best thing you could do. If you’re practicing the wrong way, you’re not necessarily going to get any better.
  • 36:40 Ben: That is part of the same thing. It comes back to identity. The person who’s afraid that their deficiency speaks of their identity would rather continue practicing something the wrong way, hoping that maybe they get better without having to deal with the fact that they have some hole or flaw in their skill. The person who’s identity is not attached to their skill is the person who seeks out what they need to deliberately practice on. It’s difficult, sometimes, to be honest with yourself, but the more you seek out other voices of critique, the easier it is to be objective when it comes to looking at your own work.
  • 37:41 When you’re not interested in seeking those things out, when your identity is attached to your skill, it’s really difficult for you to look at it objectively because it’s terrifying.

Fear of What You Don’t Know

  • 38:00 This last fear is that you’re not sure if you have the expertise, the knowledge. You’ve got this big goal and you know steps one through five, but steps six through ten leave you thinking, “I’m not sure what to do there. I know that there’s something I don’t know, but I don’t know what it is, and that scares me.” This is really similar. Identifying the holes in your knowledge is progress. Unless you’re faced with what you don’t know, there’s no opportunity for you to learn. That’s a good thing.

It doesn’t matter how well you know something, if your goal is big enough, there’s going to be something you don’t know.

  • 38:51 If you’re actively seeking that out, you’re going to find things that you don’t know, opportunities to learn. The sooner you do that, the easier it’s going to be for you to identify when it’s the appropriate time to work on learning those skills and when it’s the appropriate time to just focus on what you know how to do right now.
  • 39:15 Rachel: If we’re not constantly learning, we’re missing the point. I love to learn. If I’m not learning something about either my skills or things that I can improve in my life, then I’m missing the point of life.
  • 39:42 Ben: Learning is good. It shouldn’t come at the expense of action. There’s an appropriate time to set action aside and focus on learning, and that’s when taking further action without that learning would be potentially detrimental. As you’re taking action, you will learn things by default, but it’s good to purposefully seek out knowledge along the way. If you know that for steps six through ten, you don’t know what to do, that these are the holes in your knowledge that you’re going to need to learn, it’s going to be a lot easier for you to pace yourself in learning those things while taking action on steps one through five.
  • 40:34 By the time you get to step six, you’ve filled those holes in your knowledge. You can continue with the momentum that you have, vs. saying, “I don’t want to think about six through ten,” and then you get there and you have to full stop, because if you don’t learn something, you can’t keep moving forward. You also don’t want to say, “Okay, I can’t do steps one through five until I feel completely confident with steps six through ten.”
  • 41:10 Rachel: In the same way that we should always be learning, we’re probably never going to feel like we are completely qualified for everything that we do.

Facing Fear

  • 41:24 Ben: The conclusion I come up with is similar to the advice that’s out there for anyone who’s experiencing fear. Fear is the idea, the thought of a potential danger, but it’s not a reality. If you’re scared of heights, for example, until you climb a ladder and go up a really tall building, go to the top floor, or go onto a balcony, and then walk away from that experience, you don’t have any experiential knowledge of what the reality is. The fear of heights is a legitimate thing. What if I fall? What if something happens? You feel fear, and you feel some of the same feelings you would have if those dangers were realities.
  • 42:37 That sucks. When you have that experience, you’re showing your brain that this is the reality. All your brain has is these ideas of the danger, but when you have the experience, now your brain still has ideas of the danger but it also remembers the experience that you had. The more real experiences you have, the quieter those voices of fear are going to be, because the reality you experience is going to speak much louder than the idea. When it comes to pursuing our goals, you’ve got to keep moving forward and do the work. Facing your fears is the best way to overcome them.
  • 43:32 Rachel: I just got done reading this book called Organize Tomorrow Today, and I can’t remember who the authors are, but in it they talk about the resistance we face on a daily basis. One of the points they were making, which is something I’ve seen in my life, is that every time we face some place of resistance in our life, our brain believes that it can continue to face that place of resistance. If we’ve decided that we’re going to cut sugar out of our diet and three days into it, our body says, “Oh my gosh, I really really need sugar,” but we say no and we make it one more day, it becomes easier and easier to make it another day. That’s how it is with fear, also.

If we can overcome fear once, then we have have greater confidence that we can overcome it again.

  • 44:40 Ben: Our brains are tricky. It wants to use fear in a healthy way, and this is where caution comes in. Another way to think about fear is that this is something your body is doing that’s good for you, because it’s helping you have a taste of what a potential experience might be. It makes you more aware of the potential dangers and you know what to look for. You walk out of that tent, and your brain will more quickly recognize the shape of a bear because of that fear. That’s important, because if there actually is a bear, those split seconds between you seeing the shape and recognizing it could be life or death.
  • 45:38 That’s what our brain is geared towards. It’s geared toward helping us navigate life or death situations. Most of these situations that we’re talking about are definitely not life or death, but we’re still wired that way. It’s good to recognize fear as a useful tool. When it runs away from us and it becomes this negative, debilitating thing, fear is something we can overcome through practice. That doesn’t mean that you should ignore potential dangers. Be thankful that your brain has given you the ability to have the impression of potential dangers, so when you see it, you recognize it more quickly and it’s easier for you to deal with it.

Avoidance Because of Fear

  • 46:37 Brookes says, “How can I make sure I’m not avoiding something because of fear?” Ask yourself these questions and get really introspective. Say, “Why am I not doing this thing? What is the root? I say it’s because of this, but is that really the reason?” The more we question ourselves and get deep with ourselves, the easier it’s going to be to find the root of some of those things. We may have legitimate reasons for not doing something that may be accurate, but we may discover that the reasons we have are not legitimate. They’re just based in fear.
  • 47:48 This one was from Neil. He said, “Would you ignore the fears and push on, or address the fears and make plans to avoid them from coming true?” Fear is a useful tool, so it doesn’t make sense to ignore the potential dangers. To pretend that they don’t exist could be equally detrimental to you reaching your goal. It’s good to acknowledge the potential for danger, but the only way you know whether or not that potential danger actually exists is to move forward. Yes, move forward. No, you shouldn’t ignore your fears.

Recognize potential dangers, but don’t let them keep you from moving at all.

  • 48:43 Eric asks, “My fear is more about people around me as I pursue my goal. There will be instability and unknowns. There will be times when I’m really busy and can do fewer things around the house. My wife is more worrisome when it comes to bank balance. While she’s very supportive, I know sometimes she can feel less secure because of what I’m doing and the risks that I’m taking.” That’s legitimate. When it comes to your spouse, it’s important for your spouse to be fully on board. That doesn’t mean that they’re not going to experience their own doubts and concerns, but your job with your spouse is to get them on board and help them be supportive.
  • 49:36 Sometimes, that means saying no to pursuing your goal right now so that you can focus on that relationship. Your spouse needs to be willing to take on the risks that you’re willing to take on. Your spouse needs to be willing to take on the potential lack of security that you’re willing to take on. Those things have to be true. Until they are, that’s where your focus needs to be, not on pursuing your goal.
  • 50:06 Robert asks, “What are some signs that you’re feeling fear or anxiety over your big goals? What I mean is, how do you tell the difference between the ‘Oh man’ feeling you get when you know you’re aiming higher than you ever have before and the ‘Oh no’ feeling you get when that goal is scaring the pants off of you?” I think it’s different for different people. I’m thinking about riding a roller coaster, maybe for the first time. The “Oh man” feeling is probably more like, “I believe this roller coaster is safe, but it’s going to be a crazy ride. I’m going to scream like a girl, probably. I don’t know how I’m going to react, but I’m going to be okay.”
  • 51:11 Whereas, a person riding a roller coaster that big for the first time might suddenly have this flash of fear that maybe the roller coaster isn’t safe, and it’s going to end in disaster and they’re going to die. They start freaking out and screaming. Those are two very extreme examples. Try to be more self-aware and examine whether you feel like you’re on a ride that’s safe even though you don’t know what’s going to happen. In the end, it’s going to be okay, and it’s going to be exhilarating and scary. Or, do you have the sense of, “This is going to end in calamity”?

Personality & Fear

  • 52:03 Rachel: It also has to do with personality differences. Maybe it’s because I had a pretty hard childhood, but I tend to go to the worst case scenario. I was that kid who would not get on a roller coaster the first time my dad told me that I had to. I just knew that it was safe for all the other people, but it wasn’t safe for me.
  • 52:32 Ben: That’s really interesting. In that sense, depending on your personality, you may have more to overcome than another person does. That’s a good thing to know about yourself. If there are ten people in line for a roller coaster, the roller coaster is as dangerous as it’s going to be for every single person. It’s exactly the same. Because we think differently, every person feels differently about the safety of the roller coaster. Knowing that puts the attention back on you and your feelings about it, which helps us take more control over that process.
  • 53:29 We can say, “Okay, this is the story I’m telling myself, because these are the kinds of stories that I tend to tell myself. I’m glad I know that, because otherwise, I would think it’s about the roller coaster. Really, this is about me and my personal feelings. If it’s about me and my own personal feelings, I can fix that. I can’t do anything about how safe the roller coaster is, but I can work on how I feel about the roller coaster.”
  • 53:58 Rachel: It’s hard, sometimes, to know that difference between a gut feeling and fear and pessimism talking.
  • 54:15 Ben: Maybe there is something you can do to make the roller coaster safer. It’s good to recognize when you do have control over the safety of something. “Oh, I’m a roller coaster engineer. I can check the roller coaster and ensure that it’s sound. I have the expertise to do that.” You might have the ability to make the situation less risky.

You might have the ability or expertise to anticipate potential dangers and mitigate those risks.

  • 55:05 Or you may not. Either way, whether you’re able to work on those things and fix them or you have no control over them, at some point you have to decide whether or not you’re willing to take on the risk, however great or small it might be.
  • 55:30 Rachel: A big goal is different to two different people. When you’re a parent, sometimes your big goal is just to make it through the day without yelling at your kids. That may seem like a small goal to people who don’t have three year olds, four year olds, or five year olds, but our goals are big in proportion to who we are. We can’t look at someone else’s big goal and say, “Wow, that’s so much bigger than mine. Maybe I should make mine bigger.” We have to do this on our own. Comparison is never good.
  • 56:16 Ben: Don’t feel like, because your goal feels big to you but it’s not big to other people, that your feelings of fear or anxiety are silly. They’re not. What you’re experiencing is real for you, and nobody can say anything about that. Those are feelings you still need to work through.

When Your Spouse Is Afraid

  • 56:54 Your focus needs to be on getting your spouse on board (Related: seanwes tv e176 How to Get Your Spouse On Board 100%). Your spouse being on board doesn’t mean that they don’t still have their own fears or concerns, but it does mean that they’ve identified those things and they’ve made a decision to move forward in spite of those fears or concerns with you. That’s really important. If they don’t deal with their fears, they’re not really able to commit to moving forward with you. They’re not really able to commit to being on board with you.
  • 57:48 That’s a huge part of the process, saying, “You may be the person in the relationship who’s willing to take on risks,” because it’s good to recognize that. Huge points awarded to the people who know that they’re willing to take on risks, but this is really difficult for their spouse. Some people mow forward without even giving a second thought to that, so that’s great. Now, go to your spouse and say, “I know that this scares you. We need to talk about that, not so I can talk you out of being afraid.”

It’s not your job to make your spouse feel better, but you can help them identify what they’re afraid of and help them make a decision in spite of those things.

  • 58:52 Or you might be able to help them overcome those things. They may need to do the work of overcoming those things before they feel comfortable moving forward. Then you say, “Before we move forward, if you need to work through this, my job is not to focus on my goals or my dream, but to help you in whatever way I can to work through your fears and overcome them, because I don’t want to pursue this thing until you’re fully on board with me.” That’s a difficult thing to do, and it can feel like you’re having to put your goal or your dream off. If there’s anybody you want to have on board with you, it’s your spouse. Your success in pursuing and reaching your goal likely depends on whether or not your spouse is on board.
  • 1:00:04 It’s really important to work through all of those things in the beginning before you set out. These are things I’m still working through, so I’ll have to keep you posted.