Doing It Scared

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I have been terrified for years. Everyday, there is a voice in my head that tells me I’m not enough, that I don‘t know what I’m doing, and that nothing I do will ever be as much as what needs to be done. And everyday, I have to fight against that voice.

Somedays, I win.

Success does not happen in the absence of fear. It is fear that, simultaneously, holds me back and propels me forward. It causes questions, and then, the answers.

It gives me pause.

I feel like giving upon a daily basis, sometimes, and when I feel this way, I remind myself of two notions:

  • If what I am about to do isn’t right for me, I can stop right now

  • If what I’m about to do is absolutely the right thing for me, I've got no choice but to do it scared

Scared as a Skill

Over the past 6 months or so, I have pushed myself past a level of fear I haven’t felt in well over a decade. As I was going through this blockade, so were other women in my life, and I noticed that some of them were not making it through. Some of them didn’t keep going, didn’t pivot, didn’t block out the rest of the world and focus on a multi-leveled solution to the obstacles they faced. I had down days. They had down days. We shared ideas. We utilized each other as sounding boards.

But when it came to taking action, I was alone.

I have since come to realize that there is a skill to “doing it scared.” Each of us have feelings of trepidation and doubt, each of us gets lost on our way to where we need to be, but very few of us will be able to find our way, course-correct, push through our emotions, and do it scared.

This ability, or inability, is what separates the haves from the have-nots.

You can bet the farm that everyone who has ever been successful at anything, did so with a mountain of fear on their backs. I believe this takes a series of systems that are taught, learned, and adjusted to fit each individual –– and then, the trusting of those systems.

Scared as a System

So, over the past few weeks, I have intentionally stopped fighting with my feeling of fear. Instead, I have utilized it as part of my system. This shift would be the only way I’d be able to move past my analysis paralysis, and put into play everything I have been building, professionally and personally. Here’s how I did that:

  • I wrote my major goals on as series of yellow Post-It Notes, and placed them on the large, full length mirror in my closet. You can out yours on a patch of wall in your bedroom. If they have a hard time sticking to the wall, put them on a sheet of paper, and then pin or tape the sheet to the wall. As I accomplish a goal, I remove it from the bunch, and replace it with another goal.

  • I shut down for the work week. During this time, I do not accept any phone calls. I do not speak to anyone except for the people in my house, and even with them, I speak very little. For me, this is Monday through Thursday.

  • I designated a day off, a day when I do not work, but instead, I take myself on a field trip. On this day, Friday, I focus on my emotional and physical well-being. I make sure to connect to my heart, my center, the reasons why I worked so hard all week. These days are quiet days, with no talking or texting. These Fridays are just for me.

  • I kept my plan organized by scheduling and making daily lists. I did everything I could during my focused days, and whatever didn't get done, went onto the next day’s schedule or list.

  • I got excited a little more each day as I worked closer to my goals, and turned that energy into daily gratitudes.

  • I went for daily walks, at around the same time, to give myself a break from work and the anxiety surrounding the hope that everything would work out. It is during these walks that I share my gratitudes with God, and make my desires known.

  • I kept going. Period.

My advice to you is that you create a system that uses your fear as fuel. Because of my fear, I know I have to shut down and focus. I know I need to create a schedule of on and off days. I know I need to walk and spend dedicated time with God. And I know I cannot stop, so I just have to do it all…scared.

self careElisabeth Ovesen