This blog post has been written, deleted, and rewritten a few times.
On my first attempt I tried writing something inspirational. I wrote stuff like, “fear cannot be overcome, it can only be understood” and “feel the fear but do it anyway.”
But that post felt weak.
On my second try, I set out to answer the most common question people ask me about my Year of Fear: “What was the hardest/biggest/most difficult fear you faced?”
I tell them that standup comedy was brutal and hitchhiking was tough. Then again, bungee jumping, sleeping in a homemade igloo, and going to a nude beach for the first time were scary, too. Of course, those were just my planned challenges. I also had to deal with unexpected fears. Losing my cushy corporate job unexpectedly and going through a breakup with my longterm girlfriend weren’t walks in the park, by any means.
That draft was better, but still not what I wanted the conclusion to say. I’ve already written about all my challenges and hindsight hasn’t changed my views on them.
So I deleted everything. Again. Hopefully the third time’s a charm.
I asked myself, “Why is it so hard to write a conclusion for my Year of Fear? Shouldn’t I be able to sum it up and move on?”
Then I thought, “Maybe it’s because I don’t want the Year of Fear to end.”
Facing my personal fears all year was scary, stressful, and difficult. I often struggled with my fear of failure, imperfection, and rejection. There were times I felt sad and lonely. There are things I don’t necessarily want to experience again.
But, my Year of Fear was also empowering, exciting, and full of adventure. I moved forward. I learned that I have capabilities I never knew I had before. I’m more confident.
By intentionally challenging my fears I was forcing myself to take action. I was always DOING something instead of just thinking, reading, and brainstorming—the drugs of procrastinators everywhere. I was doing new things that pulled me out of my comfort zone on a regular basis.
And I liked it.
A couple weeks ago, I did a 45 minute presentation about traveling and the importance of following your own path to a high school class. I was intimidated (scared shitless) to speak in front of a room of 17 year-olds. Trying to hold the interest and attention of people who are known for being glued to their smart phones was a daunting task. But in the end, the students were engaged and asked insightful questions. I hope it was a big first step towards more public speaking gigs.
Once again, I challenged a fear and learned something new.
And that’s what it’s all about.
In the coming months, I’m planning on doing things in my personal and professional lives that scare me.
I’m going to continue challenging my fears, being vulnerable, and putting myself into uncomfortable situations.
If I take action instead of overthinking, I’ll move forward.
If I don’t allow perfection and fear of failure to control me, I’ll be more successful.
If I embrace my fears instead of hiding from them, I won’t feel stuck.
To hell with a conclusion.
The Year of Fear isn’t done.