Facing Your Fears and Starting Scared

never trust fears custom (1)

Have you ever wanted to start something new? Maybe you dreamed of becoming a published author, or starting your own business, traveling, or _________ fill in the blank, but something always kept you from doing it. I know how you feel, I have been there many times. 

Typically it is fear that keeps us from starting our dreams. “Dream” is just another word for a goal or aspiration.  It’s something you long to do, something that gets you excited and makes you smile when you think about it. It’s also what probably scares you.  Facing your fears is the key to realizing your dreams.

I will cover four of the most common fears that keep people from starting down the path to their dreams.  These are four fears that I struggled with and how I faced them. I say “faced” them because they are still there.  

On some days, they are up close, face to face, toe to toe with me, and on other days they are far off in the distance.  One thing to know, though, is that fear is a part of life, courage helps us to face it and move forward in spite of the fear. It takes courage to face your fears and start scared, but I promise it’s worth it!

4 Fears That Keep You From Starting Your Dreams

Fear #1: Fear of Failure

The fear of failure is typically the one that keeps most people from starting something new.  We often fear failure because we fear what others will think of us when we fail. Atychiphobia is the psychological term for fear of failure. It is a common reason why people do not start things, whether that’s a dream, a career, or a new relationship.

Failure is often attributed as a personal attribute; i.e., I failed; therefore, I am a failure.  This is entirely wrong. We must rewire our brains to see failure as a positive tool. If we are failing at something, then it also means we are trying at something.

facing your fears and pursuing your dreams

Sara Blakely, the (now) billionaire and founder of Spanx, had an idea for a legging that would help women feel more comfortable and confident in their clothing. People told her that the idea was stupid–thankfully, she didn’t listen. She had an idea that she thought was good, and she wasn’t willing to give up on it. 

In his book The Storyteller’s Secret, Carmine Gallo explains why Sara didn’t quit: “Sara’s father had taught her about the power of failure. At the dinner table, Sara’s father would ask, ‘What did you fail at today?’ He would be disappointed if she didn’t have anything to say. Failure meant she was trying new things.”

This is how we all should look at failure. Perhaps we should exchange our fear of failure, for fear of not doing new things, and then determine to start something new. I discuss some quotes from Thomas Edison on my post about not giving up. He also knew a thing or two about failure. It took him 1,000 unsuccessful attempts to invent the light bulb.  He understood that failure is the pathway to success.  

Michael Jordan quote on failure and not quittingFear #2: Fear of Imperfection

Facing my fear of imperfection was vital in my journey as a writer. I want things to be “perfect” before presenting them to the world.  So, for over ten years, I put off starting my blog. I started several books, but never finished them. My need for perfection, my fear of failure, and fear of what others thought kept me from pursuing my dream of becoming a writer.

done is better than perfect

Elizabeth Gilbert’s book Big Magic gave me the approval I needed to start by letting go of perfect, and telling myself good enough is good enough.  Gilbert states that “Perfectionism stops people from completing their work, yes–but even worse, it often stops people from beginning their work.” 

Perfectionism is the killer of both beginning and finishing. I know it was with me. Gilbert said a favorite saying of her mother was, “Done is better than good.” Most people don’t finish what they start, and completing something as “good enough” is better than not finishing at all.

 “A good-enough novel violently written now is better than a perfect novel meticulously written never.” ~Elizabeth Gilbert

That is what I needed to read at that moment.  I wrote my first blog post, and let me tell you it was and is far from perfect.  Although I have yet to achieve perfection, I learn with every post I create. And you know what? I started my dream, and I have finished post after post since then.

I know this may sound like settling for mediocrity, but it is the difference between doing nothing and doing something.  The difference between starting your dream or living in fear–face your fears and start scared. Let go of the need for perfection, and you will feel free to be you. Good enough is a great place to start.

being brave not fearless bear grylls

Fear #3: Fear That It’s Already Been Done 

This is another fear I wrestle with.  I mean, what is something that I could write that someone else hasn’t already written? It may feel like you have nothing new to offer, but just by you being uniquely you, that is something unique that people need to hear.  

You have a voice, and you have a story. I know that not everyone wants to be a writer, but say you want to paint, or you have an idea for a business–don’t let the fear of what’s already been done keep you from offering the world what is in your heart. Your gifts and talents are unique and worth the effort.

“Most things have already been done–but they have not yet been done by you.” ~Elizabeth Gilbert

Fear #4: Fear of What Others Think

Oh, this is a big one.  We are social creatures, and therefore, we care about the opinions of others.  Our mistake often comes in caring more about what others think about us than we think about ourselves. Rachel Hollis says it best in her book Girl, Wash Your Face, “Someone else’s opinion of me is none of my business.” 

The truth is, you’ll never be able to make everyone happy or have everyone like you.  Accept that. You also need to see your value, and not find your value in the approval of others. This is your life.  Just think back to the story of Sara that I mentioned in Fear #1, had she listened to the people who told her that her idea was dumb, and gave in to her fear of what others thought, she wouldn’t have become the successful businesswoman she is today.

And finally, when it comes to facing your fears of what others think, it might be comforting to know that most people are too busy thinking about themselves to think about what you’re doing. 

Brene Brown Quote on true belonging

Facing Your Fears Means Accepting Fear As a Companion

Elizabeth Gilbert states in her book Big Magic that “Creativity is a path for the brave, yes, but it is not a path for the fearless…Bravery means doing something scary.” She goes on to say that “your fear will always show up–especially when you’re trying to be inventive or innovative. Your fear [is] triggered by your creativity.” So she says that if you “want creativity in [your] life…then [you] will have to make space for fear, too.” 

I hope as you begin the first steps toward facing your fears that you will recognize that fear is along for the journey, but it does not have a say in where you go and what you do. So start that new adventure, create the life you’ve always wanted, don’t wait to be fearless, start scared. Start now.

If you have a dream or goal you’re starting this year, I’d love to hear about it in the comments below or in an email. I would feel honored to cheer you on!

Go From Dreaming to Doing!

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