There are a lot of things that I am afraid of. As a woman, as a mother, a writer, a designer, and a new business owner (on top of everything else which defines who I am) there seem to be countless things to be scared of.
I’m afraid I will fail. At everything.
I’m afraid people won’t take me seriously.
I’m afraid that what I do is meaningless.
I’m afraid this constant fear will never go away.
For all of my life, I have been afraid.
Primarily I am afraid of being seen as a fraud, a fake, a failure, and a talentless, unskilled hack.
But I don’t want to be afraid anymore.
I know that it isn’t possible to just turn the ever present fear of ever-present judgment off. If that were the case, I might not be taking pills every day to tame my anxiety just enough to want to leave the house. But just because I can’t shake the feeling of fear completely, there are two specific fears that I’ve decided to quit having.
Yeah, that’s right. I’m trying to drop these fears like bad habits, and just like quitting any habit that has been a daily part of life is hard, this is going to be hard, too.
So why am I doing this?
Because I have to.
Because I cannot take the leap off this cliff and dive into entrepreneurship if I am dragging all of my fear along with me, so these are the ones I’m trying to leave behind:
What will people think of me?
I’ve always thought that there is a very fine line between the people who say they don’t care what other people think about them and the people who are actually sociopaths, so certainly this is going to be the harder fear to ditch, as it’s clear the line needs to be carefully toed.
I’ve spent years avoiding writing what I want to write and sharing what I really want to share about my life on social media because I have been afraid of being judged by people I used to know.
I don’t share the short stories I’ve won awards for writing on Facebook because I don’t want that guy who sat next to me in sophomore year biology to laugh and point to his screen and say to his pretty wife: “Look at what this chick is doing. (LOLS) She was such a dork in high school, of course she’s posting her little stories on Facebook to get attention.”
I waited years to start offering design services to friends and acquaintances because I thought that everyone seeing my offer would just roll their eyes and chuckle, because when have I ever demonstrated having the skills a person needs to make something with their life?
Then I waited months, MONTHS, to get up the courage to do what I am doing now – treat my business like a business and learn the art of ASKING. Well, this shit has to stop, because it’s getting me nowhere.
I told myself: YOU NEED TO STOP CARING SO MUCH ABOUT WHAT OTHER PEOPLE THINK OF YOU.
And then I asked myself: WHY?
Because other people’s unsolicited opinions should never dictate how I feel about myself or the work that I do.
Because what I think about myself trumps what others think about me.
Because life is way too short to give so many fucks.
I mean, really. I can’t believe that I’ve spent so much of my life hiding myself from others when I’m actually feeling desperate to make connections with like-minded people, and I’ve been holding back all this time because I’m afraid that anyone and everyone who has ever known me in my life will think that I’m not capable of change.
But we’re all capable of change.
We’re all capable of so much more than we give ourselves credit for – which brings me to the other fear I’m kicking to the curb:
What if I fail?
Well, what the fuck if?
What if I spend thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours starting this business but no one takes it seriously (INCLUDING ME!) so it never gets off the ground?
What if I do start making some money, but it’s not quite enough and I still have to wait tables a few days a week and live broke just like I’ve always done?
What if I reach my goals, using LuLaRoe and writing to replace a day job, but then something happens and I stop making money and need to start all over again?
What if I fuck up my taxes???
Well, what the fuck if?
Well said, Dude.
So I might fail, and that’s cool, because I’m old enough to have realized that every choice you make in life is at least a 50/50 crapshoot.
Everything a person chooses to do has the potential to end up a complete fail.
Is it better that I don’t try at all?
No. No, it’s not better. There are, like, a million very smart people throughout history that have said something to the effect of “it’s better to try and fail than to not try at all.”
But my favorite person who said it is Teddy Roosevelt:
I say to myself:
It’s not the critic who counts.
There is no effort without the potential of error.
This is fine.
Because progress is more important than perfection.
Because even if I fail, I’ll have been working toward a worthy cause, and I’ll have been, as good ol’ Teddy said, daring greatly.