I was afraid to go all in on Medium when I started back in June. I still didn’t know much about the platform, but it was an opportunity, and I knew, in my gut, I had to grasp it.
The girl I was two or three years ago wouldn’t have taken it.
She would’ve thought about it too much. She would’ve known in her gut that it was the right move, but ultimately, she would’ve given in to her fear. There were too many risks.
But the young woman I am now is much stronger than that girl.
I was afraid, but I welcomed the fear. Fear is a sign that you’re on the right path — that you’re about to do something worth the risks.
My attitude toward fear has changed, and now I hold the knowledge that it has no control over me.
Do successful people have fears?
It’s easy to look at someone successful and confident and believe they have no fears. How can someone who makes it far and always wears a smile be afraid of anything?
We put these kinds of people on a pedestal — envy them, wish we had their fearlessness, and wonder why they got so lucky.
Successful people didn’t get to where they are because they’re fearless. Believe it or not, they have as much fear as we do.
The difference is that they learned to master their fears rather than let their fears master them.
Fear is always going to be there, and no one can avoid it.
You have more courage than you think
“I wish I had the guts to do that.”
That’s what I sometimes think when someone shares a personal and vulnerable piece on Medium.
While I’ve written a few pieces that scared the hell out of me, there are still stories I’m afraid to write and even more terrified to share with the world.
So, when I read something similar to what I want to write, I wonder how the author was brave enough to do so.
Perhaps you’ve wondered the same thing, so let me tell you this: You are just as brave and courageous as the people you admire.
The issue is that your fears are beating your bravery. But that boldness — that’s in you right now.
You don’t have to go out and search for it or wonder why you were born without it. It’s not a matter of learning how to be brave, but a matter of learning how to overcome your fears.
In other words, you must learn to fight back.
There are hundreds of thousands of articles, books, and courses on overcoming fear — lots of them with unique advice that I’m sure works.
I overcome fear by asking myself three simple questions.
1. What are you so afraid of?
Have you ever woken up from a nightmare, so scared that your heart’s pumping and you’re afraid to close your eyes?
Have you ever recalled that dream to someone, and as you said it, realized it was actually ridiculous and not scary at all?
That’s what happens when you voice your fears: They become small and ridiculous.
When you’re scared, ask yourself what you’re so afraid of.
When you answer, “Failing,” “Embarrassing myself,” or “People laughing at me,” you’ll see how laughable it is.
That’s what you’re afraid of? you’ll think. And then you’ll do the thing because you don’t want something as silly as fear to stop you.
2. Are you really not going to do this because you’re scared?
There’s a scene in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban when one of the professors, Professor Lupin, has his students turn their fears into something that makes them laugh with a spell — riddikulus.
Ron Weasley’s fear was spiders. When a giant spider appeared in front of him, he yelled, “Riddikulus!” and the arachnid was suddenly wearing roller skates it couldn’t control.
Such a ludicrous sight diminished the spider’s menacing look.
You need to turn fear itself into something absurd. And you can do this with something as simple as asking yourself, “Are you really not going to do this because you’re scared?”
When you word it like that, fear becomes nothing but an inconvenience, and it loses its power. You want to beat it — not feel like a coward.
Fear suddenly transforms into a comical sight of a spider in rollerskates.
3. Do you want to be the person who backs down or the person who overcomes?
Asking yourself this question helps you remember who you want to be — and the actions you need to take to be that person.
No one wants to say they want to remain in their comfort zone. It’s like admitting you’re a chicken when you’re in elementary school.
I don’t know about you, but I always want to be the person who overcomes their fears.
You know those people you see in the photos who stand at the edge of the cliff with their arms in the air? That’s the bold fucker you want to be.
Backing down or refusing to take an opportunity you know you should take are the acts of someone who lets fear win. Is that who you wish to be?
I hope not.
I hope you choose to be the person who is petrified and is aware of the risks but does the thing anyway.
These are the questions that help me choose bravery over fear because that’s all it is — a choice.
You can choose to let fear win, or you can choose to be bold. You can try all the techniques you want and ask yourself a million questions, but that’s what your next move is going to come down to.
So, choose to be bold.
Next time you feel the fear running through your veins and trying to reach your heart, let your courage run faster.