When You’re Scared to Death, Do Something Anyway

We all face fears. Fear of flying. Fear of heights. And the worst of all: fear of failure. Fear has the uncanny ability to paralyze us. So what do we do when we feel its icy-cold hands of restraint? What we must: we move.

Photo of Child Leaping
Photo credit: Creative Commons

For the longest time, I was afraid to be who I was. I was trying to live someone else’s dream.

But then one day, a friend came along and told me the words I was longing to hear:

You are a writer. You just need to write.

After that, something amazing happened: I began to live my true calling.

Friends, family, coworkers all saw it. They encouraged and affirmed my passion, which only fueled my pursuit even more. I began to do better work and enjoy life more. My wife saw it, too.

How you’re robbing the world

When we forsake our dreams for the sake of others, we deprive the world of a gift.

I’ve had my fair share of fears in life. I’ve been timid and intimidated, shy and apprehensive. But even when I was acting courageously, those feelings never went away.

Recently, I interviewed a preacher who had delivered thousands of sermons in his lifetime. When I asked if he still got nervous, he said, “I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t anxious.”

There’s something to learn here: Even pros feel fear. They just do something different with it.

You know that fear you feel when you’re about to do something great? That never goes away. It just so happens that the courageous ones name the feeling, move through it, and do something, anyway.

Live your dream and learn

When I stepped into my passion, I was afraid but decided to act, anyway. And it made all the difference. Through the process, I realized a few things:

  • Failure isn’t as scary as you think.
  • The universe makes room for big dreams.
  • Courage is contagious.

I wrote about this on Michael Hyatt’s blog. Here’s an excerpt:

After years of procrastinating, I finally pursued my dream. I decided to become a writer. To my surprise, I saw success far more quickly than expected: I launched a popular blog, got a publishing contract, and found my true fans—all within a year.

How did this happen? Simple. I believed in the dream before it happened. I didn’t wait for fear to go away; I started living into the reality I was longing for.

Waiting for the fear to go away isn’t a good strategy — it won’t happen. For those called to do important work, you’re going to have to move through it.

When was the last time you were afraid — and did something anyway? Share it in the comments.