One day last September during my yoga teacher training, I was sitting on the porch of Alpenretreat with an impressive view of the Austrian alps, feeling the sun on my face and my friend asked me: “Are you afraid?”
This simple question triggered something within me.
Out of nowhere I started sobbing. I felt a deep fear in me of taking a life changing decision: mid of September I had received an offer for a severance package from Siemens. Now I felt so afraid of leaving Siemens after more than 7 years, even though I had wanted to for so long. I have always dreamed of how great it would be to get such an offer and how much freedom it would give me to pursue what I really care about in life. And when it actually happened, I felt fear instead of joy. Rationally, I knew that nothing bad would happen if I accepted the offer, yet I felt this deep-seated fear in my gut.
At the same time, I felt a deep longing in my heart to accept the offer, because during my sabbatical everything now seemed to be falling into place. My friend than asked me: “How do you think you can overcome this fear?” That got me thinking. I knew that fear only gets bigger when I deny it and if I let it win, it keeps me small and ensures that I stay exactly where I am. So, what now?
Feel the fear and do it anyway?
I really struggled with myself. I was agitated and felt torn and alive and excited at the same time. I could hear my coaching trainer saying: “Behind fear lies freedom.”
My impatient monkey mind was working at full speed: “The fear shows me that the freedom this offer would give me is incredibly important to me. And the only way to leave this fear behind me seems to be to move through it. That would mean that I have to accept the offer. And if I don’t, the fear will stick.” And there it was again: the fear.
I also asked myself: “Besides the fear, is there any other rational or emotional reason that is keeping me from taking the offer?” Luckily, I have great people in my life that helped me with analyzing and evaluating all the facts, figures and emotions. In addition, I got help form experts like my tax advisor, a lawyer and the workers council which were really helpful in this process. But still: Nobody would take the decision for me – it was up to me alone.
A final question that came up: If I imagine myself as an 90-year-old woman sitting in my rocking chair and looking back on my life, would I think: “Thank God I didn’t take up the offer!” The answer was clear: NO!
And then I knew: I want to go for it!
The process of deciding was quite intense and emotional. Thought by thought and with each conversation, the idea became more and more real until I signed the contract mid of October and returned all my equipment. And there was no more fear. Instead there was trust and confidence.
A request to you
I belief that by consciously deciding to trust in life and in myself and by taking my own desires seriously, undreamt opportunities appeared over the last years helping me to create the life I want to live. It was and is not a quick fix but a journey that takes its time and will always continue.
With sharing my thoughts and feelings I want to encourage you to follow your own dreams and go through your own fear in order to grow and live the life you want to live.
Take the hard decisions and ask yourself powerful questions such as:
- What am I missing in my life?
- Where am I not being honest with myself?
- What excuses am I telling myself?
- What is the long-term price I am paying for remaining in discomfort?
- What are the difficult decisions I have to take?
- What do I have to let go?
The awareness that I will die one day, and that life is finite helps me to go for my dreams. That reminds me of two great sources of inspiration which I heartly recommend:
Bronnie Ware – Top Five Regrets of the Dying: A Life Transformed by the Dearly Departing