I've been taking classes to improve my skills as a manager and leader. Currently, I'm taking a class called "Managing Change in the Workplace". I've actually always dealt with change well, so this isn't about that.
As part of the class, we watched a movie version of "Who Moved My Cheese" - (a great guidebook on change, by the way). There's a line in the book (and movie) that's stuck with me ever since.
"What would you do if you weren't afraid?"
The first thing I tried to do when I heard this is differentiate between fear and practicality. I have responsibilities - is it fear that keeps me tied to them or is it practicality? Do I need to pay my mortgage to keep my home or am I just afraid of losing a place to call "home"?
My biggest fears are for my children. I know I'm screwing them up - I just don't know how, yet. I'm doing the things that I think are right - but am I? An even worse fear, if I am doing (almost) everything right - what if they still turn out messed up? Am I over teaching them? Am I overprotecting them? Are they going to know wrong from right? Are they always going to be dependent on someone else looking out for them?
Then there's my marriage - do I stay because it's the right thing to do - or do I stay because I'm afraid of being on my own? Am I teaching my children to honor their commitments or am I teaching them to settle?
How about my diet? Do I watch what I eat (sometimes) because I should or am I just afraid that people will call me fat?
So now, how about you? What would you do if you weren't afraid? Would you stay in the same career? Would you stay in the same town? Would you tell someone how you really feel? Would you take that risk you've been afraid to try? Would you take a leap of faith?