Exciting News: Before I talk about fear head on, I wanted to share some very exciting news with you. My podcast – the Launch Yourself Podcast, will officially be launching in one week – on Monday, December 23rd. It has been an often thought about idea of mine, for quite some time, but I always stopped short of making it happen because of fear. With several interviews all ready to go, I can’t back out now…. But I can push it off for another week. If you have any guest suggestions for guests or topics, please let me know.
I have a little secret to share with you: fear is a constant friend and foe of mine. On a daily basis, maybe even hourly. I’m not quite sure when it started becoming part of my life, but I know it hasn’t always shown up in the same ways as it does now.
I think back to when I was working for someone else – the fear rarely, if ever, showed up at work. My fear showed itself in holding me back outside of work. It stopped me from doing all of the things I wanted to do – the things that I secretly dreamed of doing, but was so terrified about not being good enough, that I never did any of them.
I can easily remember sitting at park bench in Mountain View, CA in 2009 with my notebook on my lap writing down what I wanted. Who I truly was. Things others never knew about me. I saw myself as a writer. I knew that I was supposed to be writing. Writing had always been something that felt natural and necessary to me.
But I never wrote a darn thing outside of my diary. I was terrified. I would write out story ideas and create characters and read as much as I could about how to be a writer. I read about daily habits, how to get past writers block, how to write a book proposal, and so on.
I did everything I could think about to avoid actually writing.
Every time I tried to “be a writer,” I would sit down, write 1000 words and never look at them again. I just stopped. The fear would set in. If would often appear in questions such as, “Who would want to read your words?” “Who are you to be sharing your thoughts with others?” “You aren’t smart enough to be a writer.” “Who cares about your experience?” “You’ve never written anything before, what makes you think it’s what you’d be good at?”
And I’d hear those questions every single time I sat down to write. So I didn’t – I didn’t write a darn thing for so many years, it’s appalling. The fear of not being a good enough writer, of not selling my work, of not being worthy of sharing my experience, paralyzed me. It took away stories; it took away years of creativity; it took away who I felt I was.
When I wrote my first blog post, fear showed up with every single word I typed. I was scared of oversharing. I was scared of making a mistake. I was scared that my family would make fun of me or be upset that I told their secrets. That no one would read it or that I’d lose my job. And so on.
The craziest thing happened when I wrote my third or so blog post. I didn’t care. It still felt scary as hell, but I finally felt a confidence in myself, that had never really been there. It felt right. No one was probably reading it, but I didn’t care – the world didn’t end, I didn’t receive nasty phone calls from the fam (yet), I wasn’t fired, and so on. With hitting one little publish button, I was able to be a writer. I was able to put my voice out there… finally.
The best part of all of that, is that I think it was the first time in my adult life that I overcame a significant fear. I was so scared, that I wouldn’t write for years and years – but I pushed past it to put my words out there and “publish.”
It was the most exhilarating feeling – fear wrapped up with a shot of adrenaline.
It made me believe that I could do “things;” that I could accomplish things outside of my comfort zone. That I can suck at something without the world coming crashing down.
Strangely for me, fear doesn’t show up in ways that you would expect. The BIG scary things and risks, do start with fear for me. Moving across the country on whim – no problem. Leaving a job I hate without a safety net, been there. Starting my own business without a clue – not the wisest move, but I wasn’t fearful.
Instead, for me – fear shows up for me in the small things. The mini-steps that everyone advises you to just start doing – that a bunch of “baby steps” will equal big things. It’s those baby steps that stop me in my tracks.
With my business, fear dictates a lot of what I do… and what I don’t do.
I’m terrified of reaching out to my friends and fellow online peeps, to ask for support on a project. I don’t want to inconvenience or bother other people, even if I know that they will be more than happy to help me.
For the past year and a half I’ve been in business for myself, I’ve been fearful to be all in – in case I couldn’t make it work. So I’ve hidden behind the freelancer mentality, just in case.
Most recently as I was creating my podcast, I was fearful when:
- I wrote the pitch email about the podcast
- I sent an email to one of my closest friends who already said yes to me on the phone three weeks prior about being interviewed, it still took me three weeks to press send
- I purchased a microphone and all other associated programs to record the interviews
- I was designing the podcast cover
- I recorded the introduction
- And so on.
I wasn’t nearly as fearful when I was doing the actual interviews. Just all of the little steps that got me one step closer to it being real. My brother kept saying, “Why is that scary to you? That’s ridiculous?” But it was – and still is. To think that my voice is going to be out there, recorded, terrifies me. It echoes back to the time I was scared of writing. The same concerns kept creeping up – why me?, would cares?, what makes you special?
Fear for me, shows up when I’m moving forward. When I’m trekking towards something I really want. Something that I know is a part of what I am supposed to be doing.
I’m scared of not being good enough or polished enough or perhaps my biggest fear of all, not adding enough value.
I don’t care about being perfect, that’s not something I’ve ever cared to achieve. But I want to not be mediocre. To not let fear stop me from fully being who I need to be. And that’s always going to be a struggle.
But every time I am filled with fear, it’s a reminder to me that I must be on the right track. The important lesson that took me a few times to learn is:
Fear will always show itself to you. What’s important is lessening the hold fear has on you. Every time I push past fear, it shortens the time fear can rule for the next adventure. And when you do something fearful, the world doesn’t end – in fact in most cases, the world doesn’t even notice.
And so, it comes back to the Launch Yourself Podcast. I’m fearful to share it with you, but so excited to be sharing the interviews, stories and launch ideas that are within it. I’m scared that no one will listen to it or that I won’t be able to get another brilliant person to come on my little show, but it’s happening.
And I’m excited to have you join me on this scary journey – and hopefully it will help you push past a fear you are currently struggling with.