Fear is innate to living. I recall one of my biggest fears was choosing the right job after graduating from college.
After going blind I had to relearn how to learn, and the disruption of that life-changing event forced me to reevaluate my perspective, my focus, my effort, and determination. It turns out that I was a better blind student than sighted student. I ended up making the Dean’s List with straight-A’s and securing job offers from two world-class companies.
One offer was from CapitalOne in their Tampa offices as a data analyst, and it seemed like a typical office environment. It required negligible travel, used predictable tools for the job, and paid well. It was a great offer.
The other offer I had was from Andersen Consulting, now known as Accenture in their Atlanta offices. In this job, I’d be expected to work with different and cutting-edge technologies, build software applications, and travel at least 75 percent of the time. Nothing about the job was predictable. It would be a constant maze of challenges from a technology, process, and learning perspective. As a Business Administration major, I’d never built software before, and had just begun using a computer about a year earlier.
The travel presented another basket of challenges. I had just lost my eyesight soon before this time, so I wasn’t yet comfortable traveling alone. How would I get through the airports, in and out of hotels, and find my way through office buildings?
By every measure, the CapitalOne job presented an easier path for success. It was much closer to my comfort zone. Yet I felt that the Andersen Consulting job was the right one. The technology and management practices were cutting edge, and it was obvious to me that technology and eCommerce was going to be my personal lifeline to the dark world around me. Even at the young age of 25-years-old, I knew that the right path is seldom the easy one.
I accepted the Andersen job and began preparing for the move to Atlanta. As the reality of my decision sank in, I grew uneasy. I was terrified with the looming obstacles that lay ahead. But when my friends and family asked, I projected utter confidence and courage in the face of this daunting new world. I didn’t want them to worry.
Internally, I was fighting my own emotional battles. I was scared of my new path, and even briefly considered backing out. But the thought that kept coming back to me was: I’m scared of crashing, but I am more scared of quitting. I can live with failing in pursuit of my goal, but I cannot live with not having the courage to try.
We are all human. We all face fears every single day. Which fear will drive you? The fear of crashing, or the fear of quitting?