I love Theodore Roosevelt’s quote about the man in the arena. “It’s not the critic who counts.The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood. If we want to truly live, we have to get into the arena. We have to take risks, strive, stumble, sweat, and dare greatly. Living fearlessly isn’t living without any fear; it’s just not letting your fears call the shots. Here are five ways to push your fears out of the way.
1. Work for yourself.
When I had a thriving career in publishing, I decided to resign and start my own digital marketing business for authors. It was 1995 and I didn’t know anything about Internet marketing. Fast forward to today, and not only is FSB Associates successful, but I have no regrets. There’s no better way to boost your confidence and become self-reliant than working for yourself. I know so many people who’d like to start their own businesses but don’t because they fear it might not work out or they want guarantees. If you wait until you feel ready or know you will be successful, you will always be waiting. Confidence comes from preserving through risk and making it to the other side. So take the leap. I’ve never regretted starting my own publicity company for authors. If you’d like to tiptoe before you run, start a side business while you still have your 9-to-5 job. Remember, work has its challenges whether you work for yourself or someone else. And if you’ve always dreamed of starting your own business, wouldn’t you rather try (and face fears) than wonder?
2. Take action.
Worry is an inactive state. Worry just creates more worry and most of the time, the thing you worry about never happens. When my husband left his position as sales director in publishing to join me in running my company, we didn’t know if working together would kill our marriage. When we quit our jobs to run our own company we had two babies, a mortgage and only a couple of clients. Of course we worried, but we didn’t let it stop us. My husband and I love working and growing our company together. We also love the freedom of working for ourselves. Take yourself out of a state of passive worry by going into action mode, even if it means facing a fear head on. Action alleviates fear and worry and soon you just may realize you were worrying for nothing.
3. See the world.
I have some friends who will never fly. Ever. For some it’s because of the loss of control, for others it’s the fear of a plane crash. I know someone else who never wants to leave the United States because she feels it’s unsafe. I’ve always traveled a great deal, so I’ve never had these fears, but there is a sound bit of simple advice I once heard: “You can’t live like that.” If you make decisions based on what could happen, your life will be limited. Take a step back and let go. I think it’s important to realize we all aren’t in total control anyway, so why reduce the wonderful experiences you could have by traveling? We can understand each other, our world, and ourselves so much better if we see the world.
4. Be ready for setbacks.
It’s important to view setbacks as just that—setbacks. It’s not a sign from the universe that you should change direction or give up. Failing doesn’t mean you are a failure. Whether it’s a failure, a setback or a misstep, view it as an opportunity to learn and to be wiser in the future. Where did we get the notion that pursuing our dreams should happen flawlessly and orderly? Perfection thinking can lead to procrastination. Progress and success look messy behind the scenes. Accept setbacks as part of the journey and learn to adapt.
5. Risk showing up for your biggest dream.
I work with so many authors who put their souls into 300 pages for the whole world to see. Authors have to be vulnerable and show up. If you want your biggest dream to come true, you have to put it all out there. Show up. Put your name on the line. Share your story to connect with people. If you try to pursue your dream while controlling what every person thinks of you, you will be frustrated and your dream will elude you. Go full throttle toward your biggest dream. My husband and I are moving to Southern, California to expand our company. We are taking a risk by moving away from New York City when we are in book publishing, but we know there isn’t reward without risk. We try to chart our own course by listening to our intuition and not our fears. You will experience tremendous joy when you live full tilt despite any fears. New opportunities await you in the arena. Happy New Year. May it be your best, most fearless one yet.