7 Signs That Fear Motivates You, Not Your Dreams

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By Mary Miller

I was reminded the other day that I “used to be” a management guru. Even though that is not my passion or dream, hearing that still hurt. That one comment brought back a flood of memories of when I had my Bushiness Coaching business; which I shutdown for a variety of reasons.

That day was a double whammy. I was also getting to know a new friend and the questions “What happened with the business?” and “Why did you stop coaching ?” came up. I am now able to answer these questions without avoidance tactics like “Did you see that new movie?” or “Why is it so flipping cold in Ohio?” I’ve never been much for small talk so writing this makes me literally LOL when I look at my avoidance tactics face-to-face.

The answer to all of these questions is simply that I was running towards the wrong thing. I was not running towards my dreams but away from my fears. I picked the wrong door, yet at the time, I didn’t know that. Like everyone else, I have blind spots and when I make up my mind to do something I can be like a pit bull. My CPA, my lawyer, my parents and my husband all told me I was crazy. Over time I wore my husband down but he was still less than thrilled about investing over $100,000 on a new business endeavor. But when someone or something is standing in the way between you and your perceived freedom you simply don’t listen.

Desperation and fear overpowered logic. The harsh reality was that instead of taking the time to fix me, to work on me, I did what was easier – I escaped my situation (see ideal situation chaser). And friend I do not recommend this…that is why I am writing, to save you the grief of going after the wrong dream because you are motivated by the wrong thing…fear.

How do you know when the source of your motivation is fear not hope? What are the signs that you’re running away from your fears and not towards your dreams? Below are the signs, I see now, when I look at my own situation.

1. Large Risks Don’t Make You Blink.

If you are so miserable and burned out from living a life that you weren’t intended to live, that a risky business deals sounds better than staying the course for another minute, you are being driven by fear.

2. You Stop Listening to Everyone.

Friends or family mustard up the courage to speak truth in love to you which is hard to do (especially if you are hard headed). You nod politely and pretend to listen but you are already implementing your new idea in your head. You don’t even consider the cons(s) in this scenario because, to you, they are negligible. Logic has left the building…

3. You Feel Like a Fake.

Once you start implementing what I’ll call the “false” dream others start to tell you that you are brave for venturing out, that you have guts and are fearless. All of this encouragement makes you feel like a fake because you are scared out of your mind. Not nervous excitement from starting something new but fear that if you don’t get this right you will have to go back to the world you escaped from.

4. Implementing Your “False” Dream is Like Banging Your Head Against a Wall.

Starting up a new venture and dream does take hard work but you should have more good days then bad. It should not drain the life out of you but make you feel free. If you’re not having fun, overall, then you have the wrong dream. If you dread working on it, it’s the wrong dream. If words of passion don’t flow out of you when you tell someone about it, it’s the wrong dream.

5. You Are Worried About Your Competitors.

This goes along with #4. When you are are headed towards your “false” dream you live out of scarcity not abundance. You fear the other people who do what you do; fear that they will take people away from you as if you own your customers. You can’t imagine how to partner and are ready to fight to protect your turf. The flip side, is when you are living in the right dream you could care less what others do. You simply do what you do. Serve who you serve. You don’t have time for, want or need the distraction of scarcity. You start to see opportunities to partner and collaborate.

6. You Are Willing to Lose It All to Make it Work.

Just like number 2, logic has left the building. Your biggest fear is failure. Maybe you have never failed at anything in your life and you’re not going to fail at this. Come hell or high water you will GET THIS TO WORK. Yeah – I’ve been there and what looks like hard work and determination is really pride. In the final stages, of the decision making process to shut my Business Coaching business down, I asked myself this question “If pride is the ONLY reason I am continuing this business is that the right one?” The answer was no. Pride and admitting failure is really not losing it all. I already lost our entire retirement, my health, on and on. I was not willing to lose my husband too; that is where I drew the line.

7. You Become Narcissistic.

This is really the root of the blind spots. We become so determined to make SOMETHING work that we only focus on us. We become obsessed with making our dream work – we eat, sleep and breathe it and become out of balance. A perfect example of this is Steve Jobs. I believe that he was driven by fear – He was as Narcissistic as they come if I believe what I read. Was he living his dream? I honestly don’t think so. I think he lost his soul in the process and lost his life which perhaps he began to recover later in life. Like Steve Jobs I also had a single track mind for a time. But when we only live for us, and if it goes on for too long, we end up standing alone…and if we succeed we become respected for what we did not who we are. I don’t know about you but that is not my dream…

Do you see yourself in any of the 7 signs? Will you chose to re-direct? Your REAL dream is worth the wait.

Mary Miller

Mary Miller

Mary R. Miller is a writer, poet, speaker, and innovator. She is also the founder of My Dream Catalyst; a community that helps women in successful yet fulfilling careers discover and claim their dreams. She has a Bachelor’s in Mechanical Engineering, an MBA, and Business Coaching Certification. By age 30 she met all of her career goals and came face-to-face with her overachieving, perfectionist, and workaholic self. One decision at a time, she began to define and live her version of success. She has a passion and fierceness for getting people to care enough about themselves to discover and claim their dreams. Her weekly blogs and eGuides are all tools to help people break out of bondage and live in the freedom that comes from being yourself.
Mary Miller