Let me start by asking you a question. What are you passionate about? What is it in your life that really holds your interest and excites you? Is it your family? Is it your hobby? Is it your pet teacup chihuahua? Whatever it is I am willing to bet that you could go on for hours talking about your “passion”. Even if you don’t like talking (especially in front of a crowd) you would have no problem talking about this subject. Did you ever think why?
To me, passion is the opposite of fear. When you are afraid of something you withdraw from it. You will do anything to avoid dealing with it. Your emotional response is to reject the thing that you are afraid of. For example, if you are afraid of public speaking, you will reject it, refuse to do it, and completely avoid it. The same holds true for just about every fear.
When you are passionate about something, you will gravitate to it. You will do anything to be near it or have it on your mind. Your emotion response is to accept it and draw it in to you. For example, if you are passionate about classic cars, you will spend as much time near them or thinking about them as possible.
As I mentioned above, both fear and passion are emotional responses. If you look at how I’ve defined them, you will see that they are polar opposites. They both invoke a strong emotional reaction and they both can have great control over you and your feelings.
But can they coexist? Is it like a sci-fi movie where matter and anti-matter can’t co-exist in the same space (I know, I’m showing a bit of my geeky side). I believe the answer is yes. In fact, I believe that power of passion far exceeds the power of fear. I also believe that you can combine the two and let your passion be the fuel to overcome your fears.
Here’s an example. You are passionate about your pet dog who is a Jack Russell terrier. You know everything there is about the breed, their traits, their qualities, and anything else there is to know. You have an extreme fear of public speaking, too. The very thought of getting up to speak makes you sick. But if you were given the opportunity to speak, even for just 5 minutes, about your passion for Jack Russell terriers, the passion would win over the fear. You may still not like the act of speaking. However, given the opportunity to talk about your passion would override your fear.
Here’s another example. I have a friend who has an extreme fear of heights. He dreads the thought of looking out the window of a high-rise building. One of his passions is flying, not as a passenger, but as a pilot. He always wanted to learn to fly and his passion for it was stronger than the fear of heights. I asked him once how he could be so afraid of heights AND love being a pilot. His response was “I’m in control and I love doing it”. You can see the power of passion.
In this case, passion and fear coexisted. But passion won the battle. This may not always be true and it will take time and practice to control and overcome your fears. Think about how much easier that would be, though, if you could combine it with something that truly excites you. How much easier would it be to get past the fear?
Look at what excites you and see how you can incorporate that into learning to control your fear. Give yourself the opportunity to let your passion out and show the world that you have a positive message and that you can overcome the negative. You will find that the passion will win in the end.