About Fear

When I'm into production mode, I like to listen to inspiring or educational podcasts. While my hands are at work, the mind is too! One I discovered recently, thanks to a twitter follower, is After the Jump  from Grace Bonney who runs the blog Design*Sponge.
I can't wait to have enough time to read the Biz Ladies Series but for now, I'm digging her radio shows. Bonus: guests often have their own interesting blog or radio shows, which leads me to even more podcasts and readings!

One of the interviews I listened to today — episode 83 — was about Overcoming Fear. Fear in business and in life. Fear to start and do something new, something different. What if people don't like it? What if I fail?

I was all ears. Not because I have lots of fears. Actually I don't, I'm generally a confident person*. But as I'm starting this new business alone, fear is not such a strange concept. When I stop to think, I'm scared what I wish and dream about for my business won't come true. In fact, so much so I don't want to consider it an option. Thinking it won't happen makes my eyes watery. It will come true. It HAS to come true.

But what if not? 

And I'm scared because next year I will be turning forty. Yes, the big 4-0. Since I'm a teenager I had dreams and clear visions of where I'd be. And I'm scared I won't be there. 

So what if I'm not?

Grace is advising that first thing to do, about how to turn fears into something that leads you to where you want to be, is to acknowledge those things. Acknowledge what that fear actually is and what it really means. And, what it really boils down to. 

One of the point of the interview was to not try to put away fear, but to turn it into confidence. That what scares you is usually tied closely to something you deeply want. Yes, I say. I can see that. 

99.9% of the time, if you talk out, to the very end, what your worst case scenario really is, it's rarely as bad as it seems inside (...) so often fears are trapped in a self aware place.

She was giving examples on how to exercise facing and exploring these fears: remembering a time where you took a risk and failed. What lessons did you take out of it, and did all your worst fears come true? Meaning: life went on, you moved on, the world didn't end and even though the memories are painful, you are here today.

Grace also talked about something revolving around realizing and celebrating all the little steps it took you to go from point A to point B, even though you didn't make it to the point you wanted to be. Same goes for our fears of things that might happen. Taking baby steps and congratulating ourselves for making it to that point.  

There was much more on the show: she talked about vision boards, practicing and getting used to being rejected — absolutely not everybody you wish would, will want your products/project/ideas. But conclusion is: there is also a weight and a cost to NOT risk and let fear let you stay where you are. You will not learn and won't get that huge set of skills that comes with failure. And success. Because your fears just might not come true! 

She ended with a great quote from Eleanor Roosevelt: 

You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, 'I have lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.' You must do the thing you think you cannot do.

*About my punk haircut? I did it and I'm so happy I was brave enough :) It's just hair after all...right?