A few months ago I opened up about my fears in starting a blog. In this post I revisit some of those fears, and talk about why some are still there, how some have subsided, and my take on what you can do to overcome your fears of starting something new.
First, a disclaimer. I'm not one to self-promote. I rarely share my thoughts to my social media following, and the times I do, I feel I have something really important to say. I guess you could say I'm a man of substance (hence why I started this blog) and I really don't believe in promoting myself for things I'm not passionate about or well qualified in.
This blog is an exception. I'm extremely passionate about sharing my message about going inward to find happiness rather than seeking it in the external world. And I truly feel the world would be a better place if more people subscribed to this truth. I'm certainly not the only one promoting it, but I believe the majority of us are still going through life the wrong way.
I mention this because in one of my first blog posts, I talked about how starting a blog felt uncomfortable, and how my nervous system almost rejected what I was doing out of fear of the unknown and the idea of having to promote my blog as much as possible. And yet, I find myself here four months later having moved past many of those fears.
Here are (were) my top fears about blogging, along with why they are, or are not, still fears.
"I'm not nearly as articulate about my thesis as I would like to be, or know I could be."
This is one that I think I'll always have at the top of my mind. However, to call this a fear today would be misleading. When I started out I was a bit fearful of this, but now I recognize it as something that will probably drive me to continuously improve. Of course I won't be as articulate now as I will be tomorrow, provided I keep speaking my truth. This is a good thing, since it implies growth.
"I will give up too soon and not stick with it."
This is a funny one. My original goal was consistency and momentum. I knew that if I didn't build up either of those, my initial excitement would wear off and I'd be left with nothing. To create this momentum, I wrote every single day for nearly 100 days.
The only reason I stopped writing every day was because I felt I could deliver more value per post if I spent just a bit more time on each. So instead of every day, I'm posting twice a week. What's funny is as soon as I stopped writing every day, I felt this fear creep in again. Uhoh, now that I'm out of the habit of writing every day, will I still stick with it?
But then I remember that my belief in my message is far too important for me to stop. And I'm definitely not going to stop just out of laziness.
"No one will read it."
When I wrote "no one" I think I meant people outside of my immediate friend and family circle. This is still at the top of my mind, and because I have something truly important to share (not sell!) I'm constantly thinking of ways to promote this blog. As I said before though, this is often a challenge for me because self-promotion is not my natural strength. I prefer to let my behaviors and abilities speak for themselves. Nevertheless, I know this a hurdle that I, along with so many others, have to get through in order to break through and be discovered by the people we're trying to reach.
"People will think it's garbage (or worse, people won't think anything of it)"
This was before I had shared my blog with anyone. My initial fear of starting was because I hadn't shared it with anyone. So far, I've shared it with a handful of people, and have received very positive feedback.
Below are three direct quotes I've received. Thank you to those who continue to show interest and find value in what I have to say. You know who you are!
"I enjoy your blog. Your thoughts are to the point and very positive. They are just the right amount of content to provoke thinking and I assume the content is broad enough to appeal to everyone."
"Attitude of gratitude! Focus on the positive! Lovely read. Keep it up! :)"
"Beautifully written. You’ve done an amazing job. I’m going to bookmark this so that I can read it quickly enough when I’m feeling agitated about something!"
Just with these alone, I know that I'm on to something. That initial fear of putting it out there has subsided, because I have proof that people are interested. This proof would not have been possible if I had let the initial fears keep me from trying.
"I'm going to lose interest myself"
Knowing myself, I do recognize that in the past I've lost interest in things that I was once passionate about, but I feel this is different. Never before have I had such an important message that I've been so eager to share with the world. This is more than just a hobby or something I enjoy. It's something that the whole world needs to hear, and that keeps me motivated.
What to do if you're scared to start something new
If you're scared to start something new, the first thing I recommend doing is ask yourself:
What could go right if I stick with it?
And don't just stop there either. Write down all your answers. You're not worried about what could go wrong. Those thoughts are already creeping around in your head. Just focus on what could go right. List it all out on paper.
Does it feel more uncomfortable when you think of all the things that could go right? Or does it get you excited?
You see, our brains are wired to think of all the possible things that could go wrong so that we keep ourselves safe. But in today's day and age, safe means boring. Safe means stagnant. Safe means depressed. Safe means unhappy and unfulfilled.
In order to be happy, to find fulfillment, and to live a life of substance, we must look within and challenge ourselves to grow.
Secondly, recognize that almost everybody is scared to start something new.
Isn't that true? So don't fight that feeling. And certainly don't let it stop you. Just recognize it for a universal thought that has nothing to do with you or your predicament, and then move forward in spite of it.
Try saying to yourself:
"I'm supposed to be scared. This is normal. This means I need to take action."
That's what anyone who ever achieved anything great did. They moved in spite of fear and uncertainty. Knowing that, isn't that enough to get you to take action?
Finally, remind yourself why you're interested in starting in the first place.
What even led you to this predicament of feeling too scared to start? Wasn't it because you're passionate about something?
Remember that the fear is inevitable. If you're not scared, that probably means you're not leaving your comfort zone. And when you don't leave your comfort zone, you don't grow. And when you don't grow, you're not happy.
So get out there and take some sort of action, no matter how small. If that sounds hard, take the smallest action you can every day for a week. If it's reading one article on your topic - do that.
I once heard a quote about starting new things. It went something like this:
"If you're not sure where to start, just throw a rock and start there!"
Because doing something, no matter what it is, is better than doing nothing at all.
I wish you luck and fulfillment in your journey.
Live with substance!