- Understand your fear. Be honest, don’t bullshit yourself. No one is listening; you can be real for a moment.
- Divide and conquer. Don’t try to fix it all at once. Chop at it, little by little.
- Tell a friend or a mentor about it.
- Implement practical exercises that will get you used to your fear.
- It’s not just you; everyone is scared; they could be a little better than you at hiding it, that’s all.
- Once you’ve trained a little, do the thing that scares you, do it and fail. The sooner you fail, the sooner you’ll learn something and do it again much better.
The fear is real, so must be you
I recently managed to kick start my website(dude, it’s old news, get over it). I managed to finish the initial step while I was on vacation, and I've been quite happy about it. Next week though, I’m going back to work, it’s about time. Thinking about this is raising all kinds of doubts in my mind.
- Will I have the time to continue?
- Will I have the willpower to be consistent?
- Is it worth it?
While all these thoughts are popping in my mind, I can’t shake the feeling that I’m afraid of too many things that I don’t even know, which may not even happen. I think we all are bombarded with anxious thoughts, so I decided to write this small article about fear and some of the tricks I’m using to stay friends with it.
Now, there are a lot of fears, and some of them are very useful. The fear of death keeps us from jumping from a tall building; that’s freaking sweet. At the same time, many stupid things make us anxious and are not even that scary. I’ll take as an example my fear of looking dumb on YouYube or videos in general.
My roadmap encourages me to create video tutorials starting next month, and I have to tell you, my mind starts racing when I think about this. “They will say I’m dumb and have a funny voice!” My ass is sweating right now while I’m writing about it; how stupid this is. Why am I so afraid?
Here is how I keep my relationship with fear in good shape.
Step 1 | Be honest, don’t bullshit yourself
I believe the first step you need to take to conquer your fear is to understand it properly. You have to be brutally honest with yourself.
- I don’t have a good camera and mic.
- I don’t have enough time; I need to relax a little after six.
- My voice is squeaky.
- My English is not that good. I have a funny accent.
- There are so many tutorials on the internet; why would I want to add more?
Great points. I have only one thing to say; that's crap!
I’m afraid of being judged. “Hey, did you saw the video that dude did? He’s so stupid, lol.”
Ok, now we’re getting somewhere; what else?
“I don’t like my voice; it sounds funny.”
I see; what else?
On my LinkedIn, it’s written that I’m head of front-end technologies, you understand, that’s some serious stuff right there. I have to live up to that title. It means I know everything about front-end, and what if people will see that I’m dumb as a cat?
Ok, I see what you mean. We have something to work with here.
Are you sure you are not just plain lazy? That could also explain some things.
You are afraid that people will judge you, and you may look stupid.
Step 2 | Divide and conquer
Once you understand the fear, what can you do about it? To conquer your fear, you need to split the problem into smaller chunks. You shouldn’t try to solve it in one go. Usually, that’s impossible and brings even more anxiety.
Let’s see how you could split the fear into chunks.
Step 2.1 | Tell a friend or mentor about it
Tell a friend about it. Maybe you have a mentor or someone you are looking up to. You, ma man, I’m afraid of doing youtube videos. It’s like, every time I think about it, my ass is getting ready for something terrible. What should I do, what do you think?
Chances are your friend won’t know how to help you, and that’s fine. The process of accepting the fear and telling about it to someone has a beneficial effect on our brain; it tends to calm us. We’re humans, and it’s ok to be afraid.
Now, if you are lucky, your friend may say, “I know how it feels; I’m also afraid of a lot of things.” If your friend is a douchebag, it may say, ”Fear, man, I don’t know what that is, I’m fearless, you get me?” I’m lucky; I have great friends that are encouraging me to pursue my dreams. Most of the time, I’m the douchebag of the group. I should try to improve there.
So, tell a couple of trusted friends how you feel, not to get something in return but to get it out of your chest.
Tell a couple of trusted friends how you feel.
Step 2.2 | Do practical exercises that will get you used to your fear
I’m afraid my voice sounds funny, so I’m recording myself daily for 5-10 minutes. Then I’m listening to myself to understand what I could improve. I’m trying to train my brain to like my other voice, which is not going through my bones, but I hear through headphones. Youk, I sound like a drunken duck!
In regards to the “Head of...” It’s just a freaking title, you know, remove it from all the platforms if it bothers you so much. Yes, I should have a lot of experience, but what if I don’t have as much as I thought. I’m trying my best to grow; that counts for something. I’m not hiding behind my past achievements, not that I have any. I’m exposing myself to the elements. I’m here so that people could point fingers at me. So what if someone will laugh, so what?
Let me tell you a “secret,” it may sound harsh, but it’s a good thing.
People don’t care about you.
Sometimes that is bad, yes, but a lot of the time, that’s a blessing. No one cares about you, what you drive, what you eat, what you wear, or where you live. They have their problems to solve. No one has the time to worry about you.
Get over yourself! Do what you want without worrying too much about what others will think.
Step 2.3 | Understand that the fear is here to stay
You may fix some of the issues, but we are not trying to find a cure because there is none. You will be afraid of things your whole life, everyone is. The goal is to do the things that scare you even if your pants are almost wet. Does it make sense? I hope it does.
I’ve spent my twenties thinking that I’ll grow up a little and I’ll get to my thirties, and I will be cool, accomplished, and with a lot of confidence. I'm not doing too shabby. I have a job that I love, healthy parents, a girlfriend, a cat, and a dog with three legs. My life is good. Still, I can’t shake all the noisy thoughts that make me anxious about the future, about myself.
I realized that there is no point in waiting until I’ll get rid of all my fears; that will never happen. As long as you keep growing as a person, you’ll encounter new obstacles that will put you to the test.
Accept it, live with it, deal with it!
Step 3 | Close your eyes and do it anyway
“Just do it” sometimes sounds like a cliche. It doesn't work alone, but if combined with other tricks, once you prepare a little, once you have some sort of plan, it makes sense to dive deep into your fear and do the thing that scares you to your bones.
Fuck it, will do it live!
Don’t waste time thinking about what it may be. I know I won’t. I’ll do a video and ask for feedback. It should be at the beginning of this article, and if you have a moment to spare, I will gladly accept your input in the comments.
That’s my dog; her name is Mia. She doesn’t care that she has three legs, but she appreciates the good(hopefully) food I give to her. She plays, breaks staff, and smells other dog’s asses. She’s a happy dog, and I envy her, not the ass part, the “she’s doing what she loves” in general. It’s worth thinking about that, about the simplicity of true happiness.
Have a great day!