06/26/2014 01:48 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway

Dimitri Otis via Getty Images

Fear of change is running wild lately, paralyzing several of my friends. One is afraid to move on from a destructive relationship. Another is afraid to quit a terrible job. Still another is afraid to walk away from the painfully familiar and relocate to the city of his dreams.

The painfully familiar.
I know that place well.
It's one of fear's favorite playgrounds.

Think of all the ways in which we hold onto painful realities simply because we fear change, because we fear moving on from that which is familiar, even when it threatens to consume the very joy of our existence. In relationships certainly. With our jobs, too. In the way we do or don't take care of our health. In our attitudes toward others, and our criticisms of ourselves. We become slaves to habits, patterns and realities that don't serve us. That, in fact, hurt us.

And why? Because, no matter how much we want it, and talk about needing it, and promise to initiate it, the reality is that change is absolutely terrifying to most of us. Much scarier, too often, than sustaining even the most unhappy existence.

So what can we do?

Feel the fear and do it anyway.
I came across a booklet many years ago with that title. It's become one of my favorite mantras. Feel the fear and do it anyway. You decide the it.


We surmount fears all the time. Many of us are scared to fly but do it because the joy of arriving at the desired destination is worth the struggle through the flight. Isn't that usually the case with fear, and with those things we're afraid to change? The outcome is worth the fight to get there.

There are so many terrifying realities in this world that are beyond our control. War, hunger, oppression and the list goes on. But we are never beyond our own control. We all have the power to walk away from damaging relationships, debilitating jobs, habitual self-deprecation and any other single thing that doesn't serve the possibility of peace, happiness and love in our lives.

Yes, change is scary. And yes, it's hard. It has to be. It carries with it -- every single time -- the potential to revolutionize our lives in ways we can never truly realize until we're already transformed, safely on the other side of our resistances and fears.


Change is one of the most exciting things that exists in our world.

Rather than fear change, let's start to embrace it. Even revel in it. Let's start to look at all of the things that aren't working in our lives, one by one, and consider the changes that would transform them. And then, one by one, start to make those changes.

Now is the time -- really, right now -- to dive into change, into the sea of possibility it creates. Trust that all the hard work will bring you some deeply-wonderful realities, like a greater sense of calm and happiness and a truer taste of freedom.

If you can't dive in, that's okay. Tip toe, baby step, crawl if you have to. Just keep moving forward, no matter what, into what is already becoming your new and beautiful world. It's in your power to ignite this process. You just have to begin.


I've learned -- over and over again -- that when I resist making necessary changes in my life, life itself usually makes them for me. It gnaws and pushes and drags me out of my resistance, as I groan and claw and struggle to hold onto a reality I know needs transforming. This usually hurts a lot more than it needs to.

I've found that it's so much more exciting (albeit still scary) to be the one initiating the changes in my life, than the one reacting to them as they're forced upon me. Whether or not we believe we are in control of our destinies, we are certainly in control of our choices, and therefore in control of the power to transform our lives.

Change is scary and hard but rarely as difficult as not doing anything. And much more rewarding. Let's make better lives for ourselves. One change at a time.