Giraffes and Overcoming Fear
Whether it’s fear of the unknown, fear of standing out, fear of failure, or fear of success, you cannot move forward—up and out of a rut—if you are immobilized by fear. If you think about it, immobilized by fear is just a heartbeat away from death.
Unless you enjoy the feeling of being afraid, don’t latch onto it. Like acknowledging a cloud passing overhead, identify the existence of your fear. Then like the cloud, let it drift on its way, while you go about your (now merrier) way.
Be glad you’re not a giraffe. They have a rough start to life. They’re born while their mothers are standing up. The first experience they have in life is falling six feet onto their heads! (Think about that!)
From this moment on, they are terrified of falling, unwilling to take any chance they might fall. They won’t walk down an incline of any kind. While giraffes are physically capable of navigating inclines, they’re emotionally crippled with the fear of falling. For this reason, zoos can enclose the giraffe area with a six-foot-deep dry moat. They’re called psychological moats.
For years I was uncomfortable doing just design work. I was more comfortable doing print production since there’s only one way to do it right: so it prints correctly. It started right after college, when I worked designing t-shirts. I would spend weeks on one design, until I thought it was just perfect. I would show my boss who would say smugly, “That’s a start—just keep working on it.” I hated this! In my mind the work was done, the shirt was awesome, and I was ready to move on. I started designing for what I thought he’d want to see and not what I knew to be good design. For months this went on until I realized my boss knew very little about design, and this was his standard canned answer. For years after this, fear of not designing good enough was a psychological moat for me.
Where are your psychological moats? Where have you fallen on your head—failed so miserably—that you are now unwilling to go there again?
Let me ask you: What’s the worst thing that can happen if you try again? You can fall on your head. Well, you already know what that feels like. Not only that—you have gotten up at least once already and kept on going. You’ve already succeeded! No need to fear the worst; carry on fearlessly!
Thanks for reading!
p.s. Your good juju today: Acknowledge the fear, identify the moat, and no longer be paralyzed by it. Move forward on your merry way!
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