Goins, Writer

On Writing, Ideas, and Making a Difference

The Secret to Doing Brave Things

Earlier this week I hosted a webinar, and during that training, I asked people what was the main thing holding them back from pursuing their dreams. Do you know what they said?

Good Fear

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I’ll give you a hint. It was a four letter word beginning with the letter “F.” No. Not that f-word. Sheesh. Get your mind out of the gutter. It was a much worse one.

Fear. That’s what holds us back from the lives we’re meant to live. That’s what prevents us from finally going pro with our dreams. You probably knew that, though. But did you know that not all fear is bad?

It’s true. Some fear is actually good. It helps you get to where you want to go in life. So how do you tell the good fear from the bad?

How I faced fear without overcoming it

Here’s how it works: Good fear leads to action. Bad fear leads to complacency.

Good fear — like the fear of never doing your dream or making a difference with your life — makes you move.

Bad fear — like the fear of messing up or getting rejected — forces you to stay stuck.

For years, people have been asking me to share my process of how I chased my dream and became a full-time writer. It’s something I’ve helped many others do, as well, but for some reason still felt unqualified to teach.

Who was I to tell people how to live their lives? What right did I have to tell people to chase their dreams?

But every time, I did, there was fruit. People would tell me, “that’s amazing!” Or, “thank you so much!” Or, “this changed my life!” I couldn’t believe it. But then again, we are often the ones most oblivious to our greatest contributions

So after waiting for the right time, I finally realized that time was never going to come. I was never going to be ready. I was never going to not feel afraid.

So finally, I just did it. And here’s my secret: I was afraid every step of the way.

What’re you afraid of… really?

We are all waiting, I think, to not feel afraid before we attempt great things. But that’s not the way it works. When you’re afraid of what people might say or of totally bombing it, that’s when you play it safe.

That’s when you fail.

The secret to doing brave things, then, isn’t to not fear. That’s a myth. We’re all shaking in our boots when we attempt great things. The secret is to do it afraid.

So when I opened a new course to help people beat fear, find their passion, and start doing it for a living, it’s no surprise some said they were afraid to take the next step. That’s normal.

The question, though, is what kind of fear is it? The kind that will leave you stuck? Or the kind that could set you free?

That’s a question you’ll have to answer for yourself.

Let’s face fear together

Recently, I launched a brand-new course about what it takes to turn pro as a writer — based on the concepts in my best-selling book, The Art of Work.

Honestly, this was something I was afraid to do. It felt risky and audacious. Again, the voices of accusation came, and I started to feel like an impostor.

But finally the fear of failure just wasn’t enough to not try. What I realized was I was more afraid of not doing it than trying and failing.

That’s the difference between good fear and bad fear. So I recognized it for what it was, counted the cost, and pulled the trigger. I think we all have the power to do this. You can do it, too.

To learn more about this, check out the webinar I mentioned earlier. In the replay, I share everything I’ve learned in the past severals years of becoming a full-time writer (and how you can make a similar transition).

That replay will only be available for the next few days, so be sure to carve out some time and listen to it before I take it down. And remember that brave people don’t wait to feel brave. They do it afraid.

Learn More About The Art of Work Course

Was there ever a time when you felt afraid and did it anyway? Share in the comments.

About Jeff Goins

I write books and help writers get their work out into the world. I am the best-selling author of four books, including The Art of Work. Each week, I send out a newsletter with free tips on writing and creativity.

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