Written by Collective Gain Founder, Lizzie Alberga.
We’re scared. We’re all so very scared. I’ve spent the last year speaking to individuals about stepping into their fullest potential. What I have found again and again is that everyone is scared. Scared of commitment. Scared of finances. Scared of change. Scared of being seen for who they really are.
There is an underlying fear that danger is lurking behind every corner and that at any moment things could fall apart, people will find out we’re a fraud, or that we’ll never actually live up to who we’re meant to be. People stay in jobs they hate, scared that they’ll never get another one. People stay in marriages they hate, afraid of going out on their own. People live in cities they hate, fearful of starting over or leaving behind a network and the opportunities that come with it.
All this fear has us clinging desperately to safety, putting safety first at all costs. And staying right where we are. Coaches and mental health practitioners call this ego-centered living. We are still, for the most part, operating from our ego-driven selves, which are always keeping us safe in the “known”. No matter how miserable the known is, we stay there because we fear any change that could threaten our survival. The known is safer than the unknown.
But thank God for the generations of explorers, innovators, and experimenters who decided to venture into the unknown. They are who got us where we are today. Traveling across continents and seas, challenging the expected for the unimagined -- airplanes, cars, vaccines -- ______-
But somehow with all this innovation we’ve slipped back into scared mode. Like the more we know about what’s available to us, the more scared we get. The closer opportunity is to our doorstep, the farther from the door we go.
Fear is the emotional response to danger. It’s what tells us that something is not safe and to beware. Fear was very helpful thousands of years ago when our societies were primal and people and animals had the same goal -- just trying to survive -- but even though we’ve evolved past this phase of human evolution, our brains have yet to catch up.
Millennials, the dreamers, those seeking life fulfillment and meaning, are actually pushing our evolution forward. We’re the generation that is beginning to turn the discussion from survival to thriving. Toward life in alignment with who we are. Yet, everyone else is so scared and dismissive of what this younger generation is bringing to the table: CHANGE.
We have everything at our fingertips and are more supported than ever with the help of technology and information. In other words, we are capable of choosing something better -- a life of fulfillment, joy and impact. But we don’t. We put safety first. Our focus remains on me-first survival.
And when we focus so much on surviving, we operate from a place of scarcity -- there’s not enough. This thinking isolates your community and the people within it. It reduces your ability to act generously, in deep care for another without expectation of something in return. Sure enough, the rich get richer and the poor get poorer.
But what if we put safety third?
What if, before safety, we put connection with who we are: our essence? And connection to why we’re here: our purpose? We could actually go do our work in the world instead of spending so much energy protecting ourselves from being seen. Let’s focus on keeping ourselves safe to pursue of our work here on earth, not safe from change, famine or judgment.
So how do you get past fear? Put safety third.
Understand who you are. Why you’re here. It’s the biggest gift you can give to your life and to the world. Because once you know yourself and why you’re here, a sense of abundance and opportunity develops -- and a desire to share what you have to offer becomes the loudest voice in your head. Suddenly, you know what you’re fighting for.
And then you can step into contributing to our global family in the way only you can. Think about life in a village. Whoever is the best aim is the hunter, supplying the village with all the food everyone needs. Whoever is the most resourceful is the chef, making sure everyone is fed adequately. Whoever is the strongest and most perceptive is the guard, ensuring the community is safe from invaders. We each do what we are best at -- and that is what makes our village the strongest it can be, that is what makes it thrive.
We all benefit when we each step into our best selves. The people we’re meant to be sharing the gifts we were given to contribute to our time on the planet.
Let’s drop our guard. Let’s stop and look within and ask “Who am I and why am I here?” Let’s say yes to support from people whose gift in our village is helping us step into your best self. Together, let’s make this world the amazing place it can be. Let’s put the collective US first and safety third, then we’ll all win.