Feel the Fear, Do It Anyway
I quit my job last Friday. Good pay, great friends, selling a cool product, and working in a great environment. Even so, it was finally time to strike out on my own.
Scary? You bet. Even though I have a bunch of freelance work (Spare-Time Biz Success included) plus my spare-time gigs in the pipeline, it’ll be the first time in my adult life without a consistent paycheck coming in.
And, my wife’s still a student — finishing her Ph.D. — so her income is nowhere near enough to live on. Won’t be much better next year either as she’ll be on an internship.
Plus, we have a nine-month-old son at home. This means both added expenses we’ve never dealt with before, and a tremendous sense of responsibility.
In short, strong reasons why I should NOT be striking out on my own right now.
The fear is overwhelming
There are tons of what-ifs that should be paralyzing me with fear right now.
“What if I lose all my clients and my family’s income with them?”
“What if my spare-time income dries up, too?”
“What if something terrible happens and I’m unable to work?”
“What if … ?”
“What if … ?”
“What if … ?”
I could go on for days. And, the more I go on, the more fear builds and builds and builds. And really, that fear could easily paralyze me and send me groveling back to my old employer, admitting defeat, and heading back to the 9-to-5 lifestyle that “should” make me happy.
Yet, I choose to act anyway.
Do I feel the fear that all those what-ifs raise? Sure. I do. Sometimes it’s powerful. Gets me right down in the gut. My heart starts racing. It’s hard to breathe.
Yet, I’m doing it anyway. I’ve quit my job and I’m working for myself full-time — both as a freelance copywriter and jack-of-many-spare-time-trades. Because there’s a deeper truth in play.
The truth driving me to feel fear and act anyway is knowing that it takes action to spur results. Sometimes dramatic action. If you want to create the life you desire, you need to start creating. You need to DO something.
Maybe your something is quitting your job to start freelancing full-time.
Maybe it’s starting your spare-time resume writing or self-publishing business. Maybe starting a Money-Making Website. Maybe stepping on stage for your first public-speaking gig. Maybe picking up the phone to call a potential client. Or, maybe just turning in work you just poured your heart and soul into with the hope that 1) your client will love it, and 2) it will generate sufficient sales to be called a success.
I don’t know what your something is. I just know you need to do it.
This is how you get ahead
It doesn’t take a success guru to tell you that you create results by acting in the face of fear. Prove it for yourself. Take one thing you’ve been holding back on because of fear, and take a step toward accomplishing it today.
Not tomorrow. Not soon.
Feel the same fear you’ve been feeling, then take action anyway.
Don’t bother yourself with results either. Right now, your primary concern is taking action in the face of fear. Then, once you’ve taken action on one thing, take action on another. And another. And another. Let the determination build and build. You will feel the fear, and do it anyway.
Pretty soon it becomes a habit. Feel the fear, do it anyway.
As far as I know, there’s nothing that will take away fear, short of having the fear center of your brain removed. The good news is that it’s okay to feel fear. You just act anyway.
This is how everyone who has done anything big in their life has done it. Facing fear, one day at a time. And acting anyway.
This is how you can do big things in your life.
Again, I challenge you. Recognize the one thing in your life right now that you’re not doing because of fear. And do it anyway. Today. Now.
Feel free to leave your comment here after you’ve taken action, to tell the world how it feels.
Are you ready to make the leap like Roy?
If so, we’ve put together a roadmap you can follow.
It’s an easy-to-follow, eight step plan.
And whether you’re looking to make the leap now, or plan to in the future and just want to know what the path looks like so that you can prepare, this roadmap will help you get organized and stay on track.
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I have just done the same thing. I'm single, 35, and was in a dead-end job that was barely paying the bills. But, it was still a regular source of income. I quit 24 December (Merry Christmas to me) and haven't had income since. I invested most of my savings into starting a few businesses. That investment was bigger than I was anticipating, and the panic was rising.
The past few weeks, I've felt the pull to try to find a job back where it was safe, with regular income. However, I found out that I'm a much better queen bee than I am a drone. Today, the panic almost made me quit. So, it was a welcome relief to read this article. How refreshing to find that there is someone else like me, perhaps with even more responsibility than I have, who is sticking to their decision to start a business.
It was exactly the encouragement I needed, at exactly the time I needed it. Thank you.
The hardest thing I ever did was leave a really steady job at a very unhappy workplace. But it was also the best thing I ever did. Its funny that you use the phrase "Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway." That book by Susan Jeffers really saw me through the few months of adjustment and anticipation as I began working freelance. It still helps me all the time.
Excellent piece. The best weapon against fear is to "do it afraid." Most of the time we're more afraid of the fear than the doing. Once started forward, the fear most often subsides and common sense takes over. I try to remember that thoughts are the major controlers of emotions. To reduce fear, change the thought patterns.
Nancy G –
Thanks Roy, for sharing your story with us. "Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway" is the title of a book by Susan Jeffers PhD.
I read it and copied down the following from it. I quote:
Five Truths About Fear
1. The fear will never go away as long as I continue to grow.
2. The only way to get rid of the fear of doing somnething is to go out and do it.
3. The only way to feel better about myself is to go out and do it.
4. Not only am I going to experience fear whenever I'm on unfamiliar territory, but so is everyone else.
5. Pushing through fear is less frightening than living with the underlying fear that comes from a feeling of helplessness.
If everybody feels fear when approaching something totally lnew in life, lkyet so many are out there "Doing it" despitge the fear, then we must conclude that Fear Is Not The Problem.
Thanks to Susan Jeffers for a great book and great advise!
Warm regards, Ben
Ben Browning –
I too quit my job the day after Christmas. I have four kids at home but am a good writer. My business wasn't even partly started! I knew that I could do it. I have been terrified because I have no savings but I push on and try very hard each day to send out query letters for my SEO writing buisness. I know that working at home doing what I love has got to be better than living in frustration and hate each day!
Guest (Catherine) –
I am a 43-year-old disabled mother of six. I was injured on my job almost 10-years-ago, which resulted in me having a back injury, losing my job, losing my medical coverage, going into debt, losing everything, and plenty of medical bills. Long story short, even before the job injury, I had been trying to come up with a legitimate way for to make money from home. I believe that this turned out to be a blessing because since that time, all I been doing is writing...which is something that I have been good at, and passionate about all of my life.
Reading this was right on time because, yesterday was the day that I said that I was going to start facing all of the fears that I have, especially when it deals with my freedom to really enjoy making money doing what I am passionate about.
Guest (Patricia) –
Roy, I echo the comments above thanking you for your article. I know these emotions quite well and it is good to know we are not alone.
I am 2 months out from leaving a dead end job in childcare, after spending 5 years trying to get established in education.
My action is to reconnect with you fine people at AWAI, a group I first encountered 9 years ago. I am ready to hone and market my writing skills, earn a living and make a contribution in the B2B arena.
Brian T Copywriter –
Thanks for this inspirational article, and also to the many who have commented. If I am drawn to an article online, I find that I often get as much from the commentary as I do from the main content. Approximately 3 years ago, I was diagnosed with anxiety disorder/agoraphobia which has advanced to bipolar disorder. It has interrupted everything in my life, except - strangely enough - my drive toward more creative outlets than my high stress, toxic job was providing. I take medications for these "disorders," and at the risk of sounding too glib about a serious mental health issue, there are times when I don't know that I want to medicate me away - and I am at my most creative when I am also the most anxious, moody or manic. I know I can't speak for anyone else, but if there are other readers who feel the same way, know that you are not alone. Remember, it was fear that first prompted the cave dwellers to run when they heard the lion's roar behind them. It can be powerful
Guest (Eric G Young) –
I recently paid for the "Barefoot" magazine hoping it could help me gain the information needed to land a job in the field of writing, and had no reason to think AWAI was anything other than a "class" outfit that really knew how to instruct and be a great "leader" in the field of writing. As I just read the above article, entitled, "Critica Insight," by Ben Browning, written on 2/20/10, I was amazed he could not even spell the word "advice!" This really makes me wonder now just how much AWAI is REALLY going to assist me! Peter Goddard, St Pete, FL 7/16/12
Guest (Peter Goddard St Pete FL) –