I’m an Expert. At Fear.
This is sort of a funny thing. I’ve wanted to be an expert at something for as long as I’ve known what the word “expert” meant. But you know what’s interesting about that is that I’ve known what the word fear meant for longer, at a bone-deep level.
I’d like to formally announce to the world that I have stepped in to my own. I’ve finally become an expert at something.
Auburn Seal. Expert Scaredy-pants.
You were worried there for a minute, right?
You might have had a thought like, “Oh, lord. Another arrogant, self-aggrandized asshole.” But now, you’re like, “oh, yeah, someone just like me who is afraid of doing awesome things for no good reason at all.”
If you are like me and have a big dreams and crazy aspirations to go along with your little speck of talent, listen up for a second. (You should listen to me because when it comes to being afraid and DOING IT ANYWAY, I’m your girl.)
Still with me?
I want to tell you why fear is a good thing. But first I want to describe what it feels like.
Maybe it starts in your mind? Thoughts of self-doubt creep in and you think of all the reasons why you aren’t good enough or qualified to do the thing that you want to do. Now think about doing that “thing” anyway. Your stomach is probably fluttering if not downright vomitous. Maybe your hands are shaking. Is your heart beating out of your chest? Are you searching for a hobbit hole to hide in? Probably you are thinking about all the people who will mock you if you aren’t perfect. Or maybe you are thinking about the people who will downplay your success as an accident or luck.
The feelings that accompany fear are awful. And the lies we believe about the reason for those feelings are even worse. You see, we have been trained to believe that that those nerves, that sick feeling in our gut, is a sign that we are moving down a dangerous road.
Is it intuition, though, or is it something else? Do you have any evidence that what you are about to do will end in your certain ruin? If you are getting ready to jump off a super high bridge and you feel a little sick about it, stop and think. Do you have evidence that this will end badly? In my case, the answer is HELL YES. THIS IS A BAD IDEA. I’ve got a few broken vertebrae that prove that those nerves were right to send that message of safety to my brain. That message is a logical one. You’ve tried this. It ended badly. Don’t do it again.
But what if I get a similar feeling in my gut when I’m getting ready to start a new book project or a podcast? The self-doubt kicks in, all the reasons you shouldn’t do it race through your mind at the speed of light and you might think to yourself that this is a familiar feeling. But is it? Stretching myself to write a book in a format I’ve never tried before will not end in a broken spine or some equally debilitating outcome. No matter how much your nerves are telling you to step back, you don’t have any evidence to prove that this is bad. So test it out. Try something and see if the world stops turning on it’s axis. Because you have no proof that this will be bad. It might be the greatest thing ever.
You won’t know until you try. So you should just go for it.
I started writing my very first novel five years ago this month. I was terrified. I didn’t know what I was doing, only that I had an idea and an energy to try something. I couldn’t have known that five years later I’d have published 8 novels, ebooks, audiobooks, multiple short stories, and a bazillion blog posts. I didn’t know then that I’d be able to inspire other people to follow their dreams. I didn’t know that writing would light me up and make me feel whole all at the same time.
I only knew that I was afraid. And excited.
I’m not an expert in psychology and I never said I was so don’t get snootty. What I’m good at is being afraid. And what I’m getting better at is kicking said fear right in the ass, stepping over it’s dead, still-twitching body and laughing at its corpse. Because REASONS!
From now on when you feel fear, I want you to remember that means you are on the edge of greatness!
Go be great!
Remember: Say it loud, let it be.