Fear. We’ve all felt it. Some of us turn into a sweaty, nervous mess unable to eat or keep a cup of coffee down. Some of us become deathly pale and forget our own names and some of us get unbelievably scared and what we create never sees the light of day.
For those of you who don’t know me, ‘Hi, I’m Nadia,. I’m a writer, mum and person of limited patience.’ Come to think of it, the mum and person of limited patience could be interlinked.
The older I’ve gotten, the less patience I have for things that stop me from reaching my goals. When I was younger, I would say ‘yes’ and nod my head to sentences like ‘You’re young, you have to wait your turn’.
Just pull up a chair for that sentence because I have a problem with it. Just because you are young doesn’t mean you have to wait your turn for ANYTHING in your career. Age and ability don’t always equate. For this example, I’d like to point out the very talented Tanmay Bakshi whom at 15 years old is an AI and Machine Learning Systems Architect, TED & Keynote speaker. Talent is talent, and this concept of ‘waiting your turn’ is something that I wish I had challenged sooner.
Why do some of us never stand up for what we believe in or what we know is right? Why do we never challenge our boss or hit publish on a piece?
It’s not because we are all introverts, though, to all the introverts in the room, high five sisters!
For me, it’s because of two feelings: fear and confidence.
One of my favourite sayings is that confidence can be learned by doing something 50 times over and failing, but each time learning something new and failing a little less. Doing something 50 times over is what makes us truly great at something because when you finally succeed, oh baby, that feeling is euphoric.
Fear is irrational. It can take a long time and many wallet sucking visits to a psychologist to get to the bottom of fear. Enter my limited patience and cantankerous nature.
Aside: did you know I live by the sea and refuse to swim in it? When I was a child, my brother carried me too far out into the waves while I screamed and beat him with my fists. Ever since I’ve been scared of the sea, and it’s taken a very long time to get me to place my feet in the shallows. (Funny story, I now live just off this beach).
So after a lifetime of dealing with this type of fear. The idea of having to deal with fear in my business was something that really grated on my patience.
“Nothing in life is to be feared. It is only to be understood.’Marie Curie
One of my biggest fears was publishing a book. I have several written, mostly children’s stories and a novel. At first, I wouldn’t allow anyone to edit them or read them outside of my family. Then I took part in NaNoWriMo and well, editing became something different.
Flash forward three years, and I started As Yet Unwritten with publishing an ebook in the area I wanted to develop as my business. Why? Because hitting my biggest fear right out of the gate was freeing. It allowed my brain to open up and build out my business research.
The time frame between the idea of the book and writing the book was less than a week. I started small so that the project wasn’t overwhelming and that it was something that was both manageable for me and of value to readers. Then came the sitting phase where it rested, and I moved on with other projects. I could move on because I had dealt with my fear of publishing (to a point).
Then came a fantastic editor who knew how to give feedback. The good and the bad all wrapped up together. An editor who had me laughing at myself, fist-pumping the air and also wanting to run and hide under the blankets. Grace, you are worth your weight in gold.
While this approach isn’t right for everyone, it got me thinking about fear. How we deal with it in our business and how it holds us back. If I had never started with the thing that caused me the most stress, I would never have moved forward.
Fear is uncomfortable. We don’t want to reach out because we are embarrassed or don’t want to ask for help. I could never have gotten to where I am today without the help of others. Folks, I’m a writer who couldn’t add an ebook to Amazon KDP. Do you know how insane that sounds in my head?
If there is something that is holding you back from achieving your goals, friends, I’m asking you to have faith in other humans. Not all humans are terrible. Some won’t laugh at you; in fact, the best kind offers you a gin and tells you a really embarrassing story about that time at work where their underwear got pinned to the notice board. (Yeah, I stole that right out of Grey’s Anatomy but you know what I’m saying).
I’m 100% sure that overcoming fear is never done alone. You don’t need to conquer it; you just need to manage it. Start small and reach out to a friend because the longer you let your fear stop you from moving forward, the more money it costs you in the long run.
Nobody has time to make less money, and you owe it to yourself to try.