At last, time to myself. My wife escaped for some time with friends. With my kids asleep, I had two hours of quality time to myself.
I decided to take a quick shower. I finished up, grabbed my towel and opened the bathroom door.
“Daddy. Daddy. Where are you?”
It was my older son. Something was wrong. Wearing only a towel, I ran over to his bedroom.
“What’s wrong? What is it?” I asked in a calm but stern voice.
He mumbled something through his tears. I couldn’t quite make it out. He pointed up at the ceiling.
“What? Is there a spider or bug crawling on the ceiling?” I focused my eyes but saw nothing.
“No. There’s a shadow. I don’t know where it’s coming from.”
I let out a sigh. My body relaxed. I let out a brief smile.
The shadow came from a weird positioning of a night light. Once I explained it, he was fine.
Kids often fear absurd things like shadows and monsters under their bed.
We outgrow those fears as we age.
The Fears That Stick With Us
Some fears never leave us. Fear of rejection, embarrassment, failure and regret stick with us. In my twenties and early thirties, fear of rejection led to a disappointing career in sales. As a result, I found myself in a comfortable but unfulfilling desk job in corporate America.
Years later I jumped into marketing, copywriting and writing. Those same fears cropped up again.
I faced this with my writing last year. Fighting through it led me to a simple technique to deal with these fears.
Stumbling Onto A Solution
I’ve written and published work every single day for six months. For six months before that, I wrote every day too. But I limited my work to Google Docs.
“Nobody could reject it if they can’t read it.”
One day, I felt compelled to ask myself:
Why won’t I put my work out there? I didn’t like the answer. At least I was aware of the fear.
From there, I took baby steps. I wrote every day for a month. I published a few pieces under an anonymous name. Each day I gained more confidence. Finally, I set a date of December 1 to put my work out there.
I woke up that morning and couldn’t pull the trigger. I invented reasons to put it off. I was at a crossroads. I knew if I failed to act, I’d regret it.
Before I went to sleep, I hit publish. I’ve been publishing every day since then.
The “ABC’s” Of Beating Fear
Reminding myself of these points keeps me focused and better able to combat fear.
- Awareness – Fear often operates on autopilot. We find justifications to avoid taking an action. Assume each action you avoid is fear based. Once aware, you look at it in a more objective manner.
- Baby steps – Before I published my first article (under my own name) I wrote on Google Docs. This got me in the habit of writing daily. Hitting “publish” was the only remaining step.
- Crossroads question – Ask yourself this question at each crossroads where you decide to act or not act. What will I regret more, acting and failing or not acting at all? Sometimes acting and failing leads to more pain.than not acting, That happens when I face a risk of financial loss. That’s why I love this question. It helps you avoid risks that keep you up at night. It also helps you take action on negligible risks.