isabelle thye

Tango with fear

I felt scared a lot lately. I asked a friend who started a specialty coffee shop in our small, remote hometown, ‘don’t you feel scared to hold on to your vision when nobody saw what you saw?

She told me about her ‘worst-case-scenario’ test – what is the worst that could happen?

When you know that you could lose everything and restart from ground zero, you’ll have the courage to take risk.

I smiled.

Last year this time, I just left the company I co-founded and lived in a strange stage of life where I had no job, career, and a vision for future.

A year later, I’m publishing a book about my journey.

‘One has to kill a few of one’s natural selves to let the rest grow — a very painful slaughter of innocents.’ — Henry Sidwick.

I’ve killed Isabelle the bright scholar, Isabelle the auditor, Isabelle the coffeepreneur, and Isabelle the café manager.

By Sidwick’s terms, I guess I am a serial killer.

These ‘slaughters’ made room for my growth as a transplant in a new industry, putting on the hat of a storyteller, writer, and author; toughen me up to find a way in the dark.

Every time I pulled the trigger, I invited fear for a tango, carrying on life between push and pull.

Drowning in unknown, I learned to adapt, to float, to swim, even to enjoy life.

In many ways, life is a constant battle of balancing opposites

According to the law of nature, we need to strive and to struggle, which we are biologically predisposed to, and pain is good if we know how to interpret it and react to it. There is strength and power in overcoming a fall or a defeat.

For us to strive successfully, we also need to have a healthy detachment from whatever it is that we are striving towards.

A few days before my book’s pre-sale campaign starts, the tango started again.

‘Would people buy my book?’

Fear is a partner I couldn’t get rid of.

No matter how much effort I devoted to the goal, I had to detach myself from the outcome or drown in mindless obsession.

Tango with fear
I believe in seeing our lives as a story, in which we are all the heroes of our epic adventures, overcoming challenges to achieve a goal.

Fear will follow us like a shadow, but tango with fear is something that we can practice and get good at. There is a tempo we can follow, a rhythm that guides us through the noises from the bystanders.

When we embraced every part of the journey and assigned meaning to each of it, we get to decide the ending of our stories.

Whether it is 1 or 1000 books sold, it will be a story that I’m proud of.

Take risk and dance with fear, life is too short to not live it.

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