When we discuss fear, we often mention the fear of spiders or snakes or the fear of heights.
However, I recently realised that the greatest fear people face is that of being judged. The fear of exposing themselves to the world. It’s not the fear of failure, but the fear of criticism or being perceived as strange, even fear of success.
When I started coaching in 2021, I hesitated to share health and fitness tips on social media, fearing that people would judge me or find me completely bonkers. The truth was that I wasn’t comfortable being in the spotlight on a topic I was not good at.
Sometimes, we create a false narrative in our minds about how others will resent or ridicule us for putting ourselves out there. But in reality, nobody really cares. It may sound harsh, but people have their own problems and worries to occupy their minds, and they don’t have the time to dwell on their lives. If you’re an ambitious person with aspirations of doing something unique, such as starting a blog or a business or changing your lifestyle, you must confront your fears and step into uncomfortable situations.
This is the only way to grow. Otherwise, you risk unfulfilled potential and regret.
And if you fail? So be it! At least you tried. There’s always a new door opening or, when not burning all your bridges, navigate back towards base before starting anew.
Where does this fear of being judged originate? It is not an innate quality; rather, it is something that we learn and develop over time. At one point, I thought this was primarily a Dutch characteristic because of our tendency to playfully insult one another. In my youth, I recognized that I had established a close connection with someone when we would openly mock each other. And today, I still have those very close friends where we regularly start with insults. And even my mother and I have that tendency.
It might sound odd, but if you are Dutch and reading this or one of my acquaintances reading this, you will undoubtedly comprehend what I’m referring to. It is in these teasing exchanges that certain individuals, not all, develop a fear of being evaluated and a fear of standing out. Some people thrive in these environments and become so desensitised to judgement that they have no reservations about what others may think.
However, there are certain individuals who, knowingly or unknowingly, develop a constant state of defensiveness and fear of putting themselves out there. As for myself, I enjoyed the banter with those I can accept wholeheartedly. It still is enjoyable and amusing, but I was undeniably more anxious than I should have been when it came time to expose myself to judgement.
The good news is that it’s all just conditioning. You might have been conditioned to be on the defensive, but you can also condition yourself to stop worrying. There are several factors involved in your new conditioning, and it’s a step-by-step process.
Firstly, it’s crucial to have the physical energy to pursue your ambitions. That is what makes you happy and charges you into the future. This requires you to take care of your health. If you consume too much alcohol, eat junk food, rarely exercise, feel stressed, or have poor sleep, it’s almost impossible to overcome anything. You’ll be trapped in a cloud of brain fog, walking around with negative thoughts and craving sleep.
You need to take control of your health to gain the clarity you need to pursue your goals.
Secondly, you need to boost your confidence. This can be achieved by taking care of yourself physically, but also by putting yourself in uncomfortable situations. The more you expose yourself to situations that make you nervous, the more your confidence will grow. Some people prefer to do this step by step and gradually build their confidence. Others prefer to throw themselves into the deep end.
Which way is better? That’s for you to figure out. What I do know is that you need to consistently expose yourself to these situations instead of avoiding them.
The biggest catalyst for my personal growth and confidence was giving up alcohol. Previously, my entire social life revolved around drinking, and I only knew how to socialise with the help of alcohol. So, when I decided to quit, I felt nervous about socialising without it. The idea of going to a pub or nightclub sober made me uncomfortable and even terrified me. However, I made it a priority to put myself in uncomfortable situations, such as talking to random people, striking up conversations with complete strangers without a beer in my hand, or going to a club without boozing up.
Within just a few weeks, my confidence soared to levels that I had never experienced before. This newfound confidence spilt over into every area of my life, especially my pursuit of unveiling the truth about sustainable health.
Gradually, I became less worried about everything and started to feel amazing.
I realised that I was feeling better because I was challenging myself and confronting uncomfortable situations. This helped me to shift my focus away from what others thought of me and towards what I had to offer. I hope that by sharing my experience in this post, others can experience the same growth and transformation.
It requires bravery to pursue something you desire, whether it’s starting a new venture, abstaining from alcohol, pursuing that new hobby, altering your lifestyle, standing up for yourself, or taking charge of your well-being. The benefits are bountiful – accomplishment (whatever that means to you), self-assurance, satisfaction, vigour, enthusiasm, and direction.
My intent is to directly address those who feel the desire to accomplish something. Success arises from enhancing your confidence. Taking care of your health, and venturing beyond your comfort zone is essential.
Especially getting started with your health.
Do one thing every day that scares you. | Eleanor Roosevelt