Can you think of a time when you were going to do something but you had so much paraylyzing fear? You wanted to back out and not do it?
I want to start off this episode by sharing with you a story of my own paralyzing fear.
This was back in 2015. At that time things were going great for me. I had a blog, podcast, and I was making more money online selling t-shirts than I was at my old restaurant job.
I got an invitation from Chris Guillebeau to come do a workshop at a small conference he was putting together called Pioneer Nation. If you aren’t familiar with Chris he’s a New York times bestselling author and runs a great yearly conference called World Domination Summit. Great guy and great writer.
When I got the email, it sounded like a great opportunity so I accepted without hesitation. But after accepting fear started to kick in. Saying yes means I had to speak in front of people. Public speaking. The #1 fear people have. What did I get myself into? I had to come up with a topic to teach to a classroom full of people. So I spent months preparing and practicing.
I’m terrified of public speaking like most people so I practiced what I was going to say as much as I could. It was day and night.
But as it got closer to the day we were leaving, I got really nervous. Terrified. Scared out of my mind. Every kind of fear when it comes to public speaking. It got so bad I seriously contemplated just making up some excuse and sending an email to say I couldn’t make it. If I did that then all the worry and fear would go away instantly. I would feel a huge relief. It was very tempting to do that.
But despite how nervous I was and that I should just back out, I thought about it and asked myself if I backed out would I regret this opportunity in the future. The answer was yes. I would regret it if I said no and missed out on this.
So despite how much fear I had I didn’t back out.
The day I arrived I checked in and I get the schedule and I find out that I’m not just doing a 1 hour workshop but I’d be doing it for two days. This made me even more nervous because I had to speak to a room full of people not just once but twice.
It was too late to back out at this point.
I got there the day before it started so the rest of the day and night I was in the hotel room practicing everything I would say. I stayed up way past my normal bed time practicing. I woke up as early as I could and practiced some more until I had to leave the room.
I got to the classroom and waited for people to come in. I hoped not that many would show up. If it was a small audience I’d feel better. There were a handful of other workshops at the same time to choose from. Surely most people would choose something else. My room ended up full. I can’t remember the exact number but I’d say 20-30. I was hoping less than 10 would show up.
In the end everything turned out great. No one laughed at me like I feared. I didn’t go blank and forget what I would say. Half the room didn’t get up during it and leave. In fact, I got some great feedback afterwards.
After finishing the first class, I felt relif but i couldn’t relax completely. I had to do it again the next day.
When I finished the second class, so much weight was off my shoulders. I was able to relax and enjoy the rest of the conference and had a great time.
I remember thinking of how scared I was and that I wanted to not go. But after I finished, I was so glad I didn’t do that.
That a time that I felt so much fear.
6 years after that some of the same fears have come up when wanting to do this podcast.
It’s not as fearful as live public speaking of course but I’ve had to overcome fears to even get this podcast live.
It’s been the longest project I’ve wanted to start that’s taken the longest from idea to being done.
I couldn’t start recording episodes and planning a date to launch because I didn’t know what the podcast was going to be exactly about and I didn’t have a name for it. Coming up with a name was so difficult. Nothing I thought of felt right.
All of 2020 I was stuck at that stage. In my mind I couldn’t answer all those questions and therefore I couldn’t move past it.
But I think the real reason I couldn’t move past it was because of fear.
So much that it held me back and I’ll go deeper into what specific fears in a bit.
Not being able to come up with what the podcast was going to be about and a name were all just excuses to cover up the true reason. Fear.
Starting this podcast has probably been the hardest thing I’ve ever started. Fear doesn’t go away as you get older. I feel like it’s stronger now than 10 years ago.
When I think back to things I’ve started that ended up successful like making money from iPhone games, starting a blog, podcast, selling t-shirts online, and starting a Shopify store, I can’t remember hesitating that long before actually doing it.
When I started my blog in 2011, I had fear but nothing so strong that I kept putting it off for over a year.
When I wanted to do a podcast in 2013, I don’t remember so much fear and hesitation. I just did it.
Being older and with more experience doesn’t mean fear goes away or it gets easier to do something new. For me, I feel like I have more fear now when wanting to do something new.
I’ll start with the biggest fear I had that prevented me from starting a new podcast.
It was the fear of interviewing others.
Just thinking about that fear is kind of silly to me, but it was and still is my biggest fear.
When I thought of starting a new podcast, my first thought was to make it an interview heavy podcast. The idea of doing interviews sounded interesting to me. I wouldn’t have to always come up with the content. I could get great stories and advice from others and share that with you.
but the thought of doing an interview terrified me.
I wasn’t this scared of doing interviews 8 years ago.
When I started my last podcast, Get Busy Living, I did a handful of interviews early on. I can’t remember how I felt back then about doing interviews. I obviously wasn’t as fearful as I am now. I did the interviews. Then I stopped doing interviews and only did solo shows. I don’t remember exactly why but I think it was mainly because of how easier it was for me to do solo shows. I know some people are the opposite. they’re more comfortable doing interviews versus doing a solo show.
but now I wanted to do an interview focused podcast but I was terrified. Terrified of being a bad interviewer. Terrifed of not knowing what to ask next. Terrified of people thinking I wasn’t good at it.
Again it’s crazy to think that because it shouldn’t be a huge deal. It’s just a conversation between two people. But I wanted it to be perfect from the beginning and was just afraid that I couldn’t live up to that standard.
So to me that was the biggest fear I had holding me back. But I had many other ones that were right behind it.
Here are some of the fears I had and still have as I’m starting this podcast.
I’m afraid that I’m not going to be helpful. The last thing I want to do is not be helpful and waste people’s time.
I’m afraid that I’m going to run out of ideas to talk about.
I’m afraid not many people will listen to each episode.
I’m afraid that people aren’t going to like it.
I’m afraid that I’ll start and people will like it and look forward to more episodes and I lose momentum or interest in it and stop. I’m afraid I’ll disappoint people.
Those are the things I’m honestly afraid of as I’m starting this podcast.
I would think I shouldn’t have these fears since I’ve done a podcast before. I started one in 2016 called Get Busy Living. I have a little over 100 episodes but the last couple years I did not podcast consistently. Not that I didn’t enjoy it but I just didn’t make the time for it.
So instead of continuing with that podcast I wanted a fresh start.
But having started one before didn’t make starting this one any easier.
It’s been over a year I’ve been thinking and wanting and thinking and wanting to do another podcast. I’ve switched to other ideas like find a new product to sell online, starting a blog, but I always come back to the idea of starting a podcast.
So what got me to overcome that fear and start? There were two things.
One thing that helped me a lot is a reminder from great book called “The War of Art” by Steven Pressfield. I read it a long time ago and how he described the fear we have has always stuck with me.
His quote reminds me that because I have this much fear that it is actually a good sign.
“Are you paralyzed with fear? That’s a good sign. Fear is good. Like self-doubt, fear is an indicator. Fear tells us what we have to do. Remember one rule of thumb: the more scared we are of a work or calling, the more sure we can be that we have to do it.”– Steven Pressfield
That quote is so good and I know a lot of creators mention his book as a must read because what he said is so true.
I’m scared to do this podcast BUT being scared is a good thing. I just means it’s something I have to do. It s
If were starting to blog again, I’m not paralyzed with fear. It would be easy for me to start.
If were starting a new Shopify store, I’m not paralyzed with so much fear that I can’t do it. I’d just do it.
But the thing that gives me the most fear when I think about it is doing this podcast. Steven Pressfield said fear is good. It’s a good sign. It’s a great indication that this is what I have to do.
So I hope and I believe that I’ll feel the same about this podcast.
Here I am full of fear and doubts about how this podcast will go. I can’t worry about the future and play the what if game.
I can only do what scares me the most because it’s a good sign that I have to do it.
The second thing is just not wanting to waste more time. I’ve wasted over a year by not starting. I didn’t want to keep waitnig for the perfect time because I’d probably be waiting antoher year.
I just want to start this and see how it goes. I’ll talk more in the next epsiode why this is so important for me to do.
I’ll finish this episode with another quote from Steven Pressfield that I hope will help you if you are feeling resistance to do something you want to do.
Instead of letting resistance stop you, use it to your advantage. It’s okay to feel fear and self-doubt – these emotions mean that you truly care about your dream. You wouldn’t be afraid of failing at something if you weren’t deeply passionate about it. Fear can be a good indication that your dream is meaningful enough to pursue.
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