For a long time I thought that the expression “safety in numbers” meant that a small fish in a large group has better chances of survival because a predator most likely grab someone next to them.
That did not make sense to me because someone still gets eaten in this presumable safe situation until someone explained to me how this works. Apparently when an ocean predator goes for lunch it is trying to pick someone smaller in size. When hundreds of little fishes get together in a shining mercury sphere, from a distance it looks like a massive creature that you don’t want to mess with.
A predator discouraged by it’s size chooses to find something less threatening. Just like a lot of people have a hunger of going after something in their life. Only to be discouraged by enormity of their dream they quietly throw in a towel into the ring. And if that ever happen to you – keep reading before you give up on your dreams.
It seems pretty obvious that a solution to this is to move toward the shiny sphere and take a closer look so you can find that it is only little tiny fishes circling around. Fears struggle to coexist with clarity and objectivity.
At the moment I am preparing for 4 large certification exams in my other professional area. One of the exams takes 4 hours, contains 5 different parts with 120 questions and cost about $500 per attempt. I am preparing for it while doing a full time job, running stress management workshops and coaching. Sounds a bit too much right? But if I break it down to smaller parts, find test questions that I am more or less familiar with and tackle them first, dedicate an hour a day for study that makes this task manageable.
Breaking challenging goals to smaller components is another way of dealing with it. One of the participants of my recent workshop shared a story about her fear of public speaking. She was terrified of an idea speaking to a large audience. But little by little starting with small groups and gradually moving to larger while speaking on a subject of her expertise, she build up a courage to speak with a couple of thousand people.
With all of above do not ignore fear all together as it is there for a reason. There will be cases when a scary looking object if fact is a bigger fish that may kick your ass and you are not ready for that one yet. There will be fears indicative of a real danger so do not try to objectively analyse a bus that is about to hit you if you are crossing a road on red light! But in most cases fear and anxiety when thinking of your personal or professional growth is an indicator that this is something really important to you. Pay attention, take a closer look, break it to smaller parts and go after your dreams!