This weekend I did something that absolutely terrified me.
At the Problogger event I stood in front of a roomful of (mostly) strangers and spoke to them for an hour. By myself.
As I watched them file in to the room and take their seats, I realised I had nothing and no-one to hide behind. It was me, my words, my ideas, some slides on a screen and about 300 eyes.
After 6 months of preparing and 284 potential excuses to not do this, I was doing it.
So I took the stage, got my notes prepared and just started.
(Can I preface this by saying that I am a blusher. I get red when I'm nervous. Then I know I'm getting red so I get more nervous. I then get flustered because I know I'm nervous and I'm red.)
I was nervous. I went red. My voice wavered as I began to speak. But I was doing it.
And as I continued doing it, the nerves disappeared just a little. People were interested, they were taking notes and no-one stood up and pointed at me, shrieking, “She has no right to be here!”
Which, of course, they wouldn't. But that didn't stop me from fearing it.
When I finished, people clapped. Someone made a joke about drinking vodka. I laughed and thought, “No. Seriously. Where is it?”
I won't lie. I was utterly overcome with emotion at having done this thing I was so scared of. I was initially terrified, then it started and it finished and I found myself crying weird adrenaline-fuelled tears when it was over and I had retreated to the bathroom.
But after all that, I was proud.
At any one point, the fear could have stopped me. It could have caused me to give one of those 284 excuses and opt out. But I didn't. Instead, I actually faced up and did the thing I was fearing the most. And I've grown as a result.
Recognise, feel and do.
You've no doubt heard the saying, “Feel the fear and do it anyway.”
Yes, it's cliche. Yes, it over-simplifies. (If you come face to face with a bear while hiking, I'd personally suggest you feel the fear and get the hell out of Dodge.) But it also applies to a lot of those fears that hold us back.
You know those fears? They're insidious, internal fears that tell us we're not good enough. They sneer at our dreams. They make us doubt ourselves and our abilities. Those particular fears deserved to be brought out into the light, examined and then cast aside.
Much like any emotion or reaction that tries to hold us back – be it anxiety, cravings or something else – I think we need to recognise our fears, examine them, feel them and continue on our intended path anyway.
You can still:
- Feel the emotional pull of decluttering sentimental stuff, but don't let it stop you from simplifying.
- Feel the desire to stay in bed, but don't let it stop you from getting up and going for a run.
- Feel the need to buy clothes to keep up with fashion, but don't let it stop you from living a more mindful, less materialistic life.
- Feel the hankering to watch another hour of TV, but don't let it stop you from getting 7 hours sleep.
- Feel the cravings for junk food, but don't let it stop you from eating well.
- Feel the anxiety of trying something new, but don't let it stop you from moving forward.
Have you allowed yourself to really feel or do something uncomfortable? How did you react? Did you try to run away? Did you ignore the feelings? Or did you meet them head-on?