Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway

Purposeful Parent Tip: Pushing through fear empowers your child. Encourage them all the way.

“Feel the fear and do it anyway.” I remember reading this book by Louise Hay several years ago. Like most of the self-help books I have read in my life, I finished it, agreed with its precepts, put it on my shelf and thought that because I had read the book, that I’d be magically transformed into a risk-taker instead of a risk-avoider.

Sound familiar? Do you read books or hear an inspirational speaker or take a class and then hope that by osmosis you will be transformed? That the mere intention of wanting to change is enough? Does the phrase, “The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak,” come to mind?

Magic is great, isn’t it? I watch magicians in awe as they make rabbits disappear and escape locked boxes. “How did they do that?” I always wonder. My analytical mind tries to figure it out but never can. I know it has something to do with mirrors and lighting and a slight of hand, but do you want to know how it’s REALLY done? I’ll tell you, but I bet you won’t believe me.

These magicians all did the same thing. They made a decision to perform this trick. They researched the heck out of it. They practiced it until they would possibly lose their minds from the repetition and then they practiced it some more until it was so perfect, no one would be able to figure it out.

Easy, right? Not.

For most of my life I would describe myself as a risk-averse person. I like safe. I like security. I like comfortable. I rarely put myself out there. Why? Lots of reasons, but I won’t bore you with those here.

Whether it was my age or simply getting sick and tired of being so afraid, I started to take baby steps to do what Louise’s book said to do. “Feel the fear and do it anyway.” This manifested in my corporate career as me speaking up in meetings, volunteering for projects, trying new tactics of getting my work done, and yes, breaking some political/corporate rules. What did this get me? In short, it got me more recognized and eventually got me a promotion or two.

But that’s only what it got me on the outside. What this ‘stepping out’ got me on the inside was a lessening of the fear of trying new things. I carried this into my entrepreneurial life four years ago when I walked into my first Entrepreneurial Woman’s Network event. I knew no one. Not a soul.

As I walked through the hotel parking lot, I kept saying, “You can do this. You can do this. If you want to have a successful business, you have to meet people and tell them what you are doing.” My heart was pounding as I stood at the registration table barely whispering my name to the woman checking the attendance list. Within seconds, another woman came up to me and introduced me to a group of women. All was well in the world.

My heart stopped racing. My breathing returned to normal and I made several new contacts that day who are now good friends.

I wouldn’t have done this had I given in to my fear in the parking lot. I would’ve listened to the negative voices in my head, turned around and headed for the comfort of home. It would’ve been easier, but it would not have been the best decision.

Last night, I attended this organization’s holiday event. Not only did I not have a stitch of fear upon entering the room, I was excited to be there. Excited to see old friends, yes, but excited to meet all the new people in attendance. Wow…how did I get here?

By doing what that magician did above. I made a decision. Took the first step. Took it again by attending more and more events until it became so effortless, no one would ever know that I had ever had an ounce of trepidation.

I encourage my children to do the same thing. Ok, I do more than encourage. Sometimes I force them to do something out of their comfort zone. Why? Because I know if I don’t, then they will be forever afraid to take a risk on their own and I want my kids to feel confident about themselves – no shrinking violets here.

Do they resist? Yup. Do they hate me in that moment? Probably. Does that bother me? Nope. I wished someone would’ve pushed me when I was younger to step out more. Perhaps if they had, the conversation in my head as I walked through that parking lot years ago would’ve been quite different.

Get out of your comfort zone. Take a baby step each day to try something new. Challenge your kids to do the same thing. Talk to them about why they don’t want to do it and tell them you understand how hard it is, but also tell them how great they are going to feel afterwards when they accomplish something they never thought they could.

“Feel the fear and do it anyway.” Go on. Do it!

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