“To fear is one thing. To let fear grab you by the tail and swing you around is another.”
- Katherine Paterson
Growing up as a young man, I always had dreams of being successful in life. I wanted to be that kid who was going to make my parents proud. My parents expected nothing but the best from their children, and we were met with certain expectations. So, with expectations came a lot of pressure as well as a lot of fear. As for me, fear was the thing that grabbed me by the tail and it controlled almost every aspect of my life. So once fear entered into my life, I started to worry about how I would be viewed by my family and friends if I failed at achieving my goals. However, my family and friends would always encourage me to chase my dreams, but I allowed fear to make me perceive their advice as negative. They would tell me nine good things to do, but if that tenth comment was negative, I would always grab onto that and it would cause me not move forward. Like most people, I believed that once you get to a certain level of success, you start to feel safe and it causes you to be stagnant. So, lately I’ve been asking myself, why do I let fear keep me from pursuing my dreams? Why do I let fear stop me from living my best life?
In my mind, I thought because of the length of time I was a barber, I should have been in a different place or further along by now. So back to fear, I was afraid to reach out to other barbers or find a mentor and ask how do I get from this place to that place. I was thinking that I should have the answers even though I didn’t have the answers. I came to realize that it was not only fear, but it was also a pride thing that was keeping me from reaching out to others. I was afraid to reach out because I wanted to be seen in a certain way. I recently read a book titled Ego is the Enemy, and the premise of the book is that your ego can be your worst enemy. You can either think you’re better than what you are, or you can let pride keep you from obtaining what you should get. So, fear combined with pride is a bad combination.
Now what I’m learning to do is make an effort to do whatever I’m afraid to do. I read an article the other day that stated “flight and fight are seeded in the same place you can either choose to fight fear or take flight and run from fear.” At this point in my life, I’ve decided to take control of fear and stop letting it control almost every aspect of my life. It’s a work in progress and I still have a long way to go. I now understand that there is nothing wrong with failing or having somebody give me constructive criticism. In the past, criticism was something that I hated, and I always viewed it as negative.
I can see where I can be successful now, but I have to continue doing what I’m doing and keep pushing myself to face anything that comes my way. In the next five years, I definitely see my shop being filled with barbers. I see myself branching out and taking The Razor Edge to another city. Also, in the next ten years I want to have my barber instruction license and open up a barbering school. I want to help up-and-coming barbers by showing them how to build their clientele and share what not to do in the barber business. This business can be cut-throat at certain times because people care about the dollar instead of the customer. What I’ve learned is that you have to take an interest in your customers more than anything else. I would also say know your limitations but have realistic expectations. Also, try to push yourself past your limitations,yet don’t be too hard on yourself when things don’t go as planned.
Now that I’m learning how to deal with fear, I’ve started telling my kids the same thing that I tell myself: just follow through with your dreams or goals. Always remember that you have to fail sometimes in order to become successful.