Fear is a very powerful force and it can prevent us from doing many of the things that would help us progress in life and make more money. When we are frightened, sometimes we won’t invest when we should, we won’t take a new job, or we won’t move from one state to another. There are plenty of examples I can use to stress this point. Most of us won’t do so because we are just too afraid to take a chance on trying something new, which comes with a certain level of uncertainty.

A lot of our fears stem from our past failures that were so bad that we dare not step out on our own again. When you have a setback in life, it takes a lot of drive and energy to believe that you are going to make it next time. You fall into a fearful state and say to yourself, “I won’t do that again.”  However, when you do, that pessimistic way of thinking blocks your opportunity for growth.

Falling into the mindset of playing it safe to avoid future pain can actually hurt you in another way. You don’t realize it, but it can also take away your desire to try something new that you may like. However, more importantly, it also can block you from taking advantage of opportunities that are being given to you and only to you. You don’t know, but this may be the opportunity that will springboard you to the next level. Having opportunities are great, but only when you are willing to push past your fear and step up and seize them. Taking risks is all part of growing and when we refuse to do so, we are holding ourselves back at the time when we should be moving forward.

I recall when I was working at IBM, the large computer firm, and a similar situation came up for me.  A couple of co-workers advised me to follow their lead and purchase the company’s stock, as we were given a 15% discount from the market price.  I rejected their advice and decided to keep my money in the bank.

In my mind, I couldn’t afford to lose my money on this stock deal that I knew so little about so I turned down the invitation. It wasn’t long afterwards that the company’s stock had a stock split and the market value of their investment quadrupled.  Meanwhile, I only received 2% interest on my bank holdings. I was very upset with my co-workers and I blamed them for not forcing me to get in on that offer. The truth is, they advised me, but I chose not to listen and I missed out on this outstanding opportunity to make a bundle of money.

In another situation, my company was moving from New York to New Jersey.  Senior Management advised us to purchase our homes before they announced their move to the public. The thought behind this was that if we were one of the first people to purchase our homes in this new area, we would get a better price.  At that time, I loved living in New York and didn’t want to relocate. However, Senior Management gave us up to six months to purchase our homes. Since I was too afraid to leave, the home that my family and I found and loved in New Jersey went on the back burner.

A year later, I was forced to move or lose my position and I finally did go. However, in leaving a year later, the price of the home that we wanted had risen $50,000. My family is still upset with me for that decision.  I gave all kinds of excuses, but the truth was, I was too afraid to move at that time in my career and I thought I was too young to make such an important decision.

As I have gotten older and hopefully wiser, I have learned that your inner hunch of when you should go and when you shouldn’t go will always be very close. The reason why this major decision is so difficult to make is because it is going to have a significant impact on your life going forward. Once you take on the new opportunity nothing is ever the same.

When I moved to New Jersey, my family and I went through a major transition period. As I look back today, I would like to think that this move changed our lives for the better and I don’t regret it. This ended up being an opportunity that worked out well for me and when you make your big decision regarding the same, you will figure it out as well.

Unfortunately, no one can make this tough decision for you as life places that responsibility on your shoulders. However, after years of seeing all sorts of things go in favor of some people and go against them in others, I have come to the conclusion that something unusual will happen to guide you through these decisions.

In other words, there will be a catalyst that will come your way to give you a clue on which path you should choose.  When it does, you have to act accordingly before that opportunity goes to another person.  This process is not an exact science so I can’t tell you what will be your catalyst, but there will be one and when you see it you will know.

In closing, don’t let fear dominate your life because if you do, you will become a prisoner of lost opportunities.  Also, it is important to take each of these opportunities seriously because they often don’t come again. When making tough decisions, focus more on the benefits that you will be receiving versus what you will be leaving behind. You don’t want to look back years from now and tell yourself, I should have made a move earlier as that won’t matter then. If you get that hunch to go one way or another, do it and don’t look back because if it’s for you, you will find a way. Good Luck!!!