"The fear of drowning will either be the reason you stay in the shallow end of the pool or the reason you learn how to swim."
The quote above is similar to the psychological reaction theory of "Fight or Flight." When faced with a challenge, situation, problem, etc... you're either going to learn how to swim, or be too afraid to go deep enough to figure it out.
I don't like to generalize, but I would venture to say most of us find ourselves in a position where we're afraid to step out of the shallow end of the pool. The thought of our feet not being able to touch the ground is unsettling.
The thought of being placed in a position at work you don't feel ready for can be unsettling.
The thought of allowing a relationship to get too serious can be unsettling.
The thought of having to stand for what you believe in can be unsettling.
And by unsettling, I mean you're feeling some level of fear. That's normal. Natural. Not a bad thing. Unless you let it debilitate you.
We tend to get caught up in the negative possibilities instead of the positive opportunities when it comes to tougher, challenging, or maybe just uncomfortable, situations in life. Our mind goes right to what could go wrong - "Well if I go into the deep of the end of the pool, I could drown." Yeah, you could. But if you never go into the deep end you'll never have a reason to learn how to swim. I challenge you to challenge your own perspective. Are you seeing life right now for the negative possibilities wrapped up in it or are you seeing life for the positive opportunities that could flow from it?
That said, the reality is that more often than not life doesn't give us a choice in the matter - we get thrown into the deep end. And we react in one of two ways to the fear we begin to feel when it happens:
Become so overwhelmed by the fear of drowning that you don't move
Feel motivated by this fear to learn how to swim
You might have to embrace the "doggy paddle" for a little while to stay afloat. You might have to cling to the edge of the pool for a few minutes to catch your breath. And that's okay. But eventually you have to let go and give yourself the opportunity to see that you can do this.
Don't wait for life to throw you into the deep end of the pool. Take that job/position. Commit to that relationship. Stand firm in your values. Dive into the deep end willingly and confidently.
Maybe you don't know how to swim yet, but rest assured that you'll learn. And you'll be grateful you did regardless of how uncomfortable the process might be.