Written by Karen D. Swim
For the past week I have been working on a low cost information product for job seekers. I have ghostwritten two books and a manual on career marketing and management for clients, in addition to my own work in the field. I have spent four years successfuly helping job seekers search for and obtain new positions. I have coached clients on interviewing and salary negotiation and have written hundreds of high impact resumes and bios. Yet, with 65% of my product complete, I was gripped with doubt.
I was sitting at my desk working away. It was Saturday and I had chosen to work because I was excited about the product. I had it on my 2008 list and kept pushing it aside but here I was finally doing it. It was snowing outside and the perfect day to write. The peaceful silence was interrupted by an old familiar voice, “What if this is a big flop?” My stomach quivered as I considered the question. “Oh god, what if it is a flop, I’ll be a total failure and everyone will know, what am I thinking, I’m not as smart as…”My thoughts raced ahead to me being the BIG FAT LAUGHING STOCK of the internet. People would tweet about my failure and the virtual tomatoes would fly in my direction.
The voice taunted me, telling me I wasn’t smart enough, good enough or ready enough to complete this project. My shoulders began to sag as the joy dissipated from my heart. It was then another voice, softer but bolder declared, “And?’ One word but the meaning was crystal clear, “and so what?” I straightened my shoulders and listened to that voice.
I could try and possibly fail or never try and fail for sure.
We are all vulnerable to moments of self doubt. In less than 10 minutes I had gone from a happy, reasonably confident woman to a quivering mass of insecurity. This time I had stared fear in the face but I am ashamed to admit that at other times fear has been the victor.
If you are 100% comfortable and confident you are probably not taking a risk. Taking on new challenges, stepping outside of our “tried and true” is scary. Too often we allow fear to direct our footsteps. Yes, there are times that danger is ahead, but that voice is a confident voice of warning not a voice of self-doubt and negative self talk.
Instead of waiting for fear to leave, invite it on the journey. Let faith drive the car and shove fear in the back seat, or better yet, leave it by the side of the road.
As for me, I am scared but I am also excited. I might blow it big time but there’s also the chance that I might get it right. Of course there are people who know more than me, but if I wait to be the smartest, fastest, or best I’ll die never having tried, and I have decided that would be a far greater tragedy than failing.
How do you overcome fear? Have you ever allowed fear to prevent you from doing something you really wanted?
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