Feeling the Fear and Doing it Anyway

20 Jun


Fear is only as deep as the mind allows –Japanese Proverb


On Saturday I did something a little out of character. I went to Oprah’s casting call for her new tv network. I had seen the casting call information the week before I left for the Bahamas and thought to myself that it would be an interesting experience. So I filled out my application, I thought about my pitch and I watched some of the online pitches in preparation. Then on Friday night something happened. Fear set in. No, Fear moved in and quickly unpacked Self Doubt and Uncertainty. I started thinking of all the reasons I shouldn’t go to the casting call. “I’m kinda tired and it’s a far drive” “There’s going to be thousands of people there, I’ll never make the cut” “My pitch is way too generic” “I have nothing to offer” “I’m too young/inexperienced/new to do this” “This was a silly idea, who do I think I am?” The list went on and on and on. By midnight I had worked myself into a little tizzy and was now feeling completely unsure about just about everything in my life. I knew I had to reel myself back in and firmly told myself that I was going to the call and that it would be fine. I set my alarm and went to bed.

I am so happy that I forced myself through my self-doubt and went. It was a fun and exhilarating experience. We pitched our ideas in groups of 12 so there was this great sense of camraderie. Once our group was done several of my pitch-mates declared that we were definitely the best group and that we would all most certainly be called back the next day. I made lots of new Twitter buddies and learned of lots of cool businesses and blogs. I was incredibly nervous during my pitch and am still amazed I didn’t go totally blank or spaz midway through it. I was defnitely scared but once I was done I felt a huge wave of relief and accomplishment. And none of the terrible things I had envisioned happening happened.

On the drive back home, I couldn’t help feeling proud of myself. Maybe I’d get a call back, maybe I wouldn’t (I didn’t.) But what was important to me was that I went. I could have easily made an excuse when my alarm rang and crawled back into bed. I could have let my self-doubt set in permanently and just continued on my way. But then how would I know what I was capable of doing? When we push through our fears and doubt we stretch our limits and create new boundaries for ourselves. When we feel that fear and we do it anyway, we grow. And that’s what life is all about, right?

Now it’s your turn: What have you done lately that has completely pushed your limits? When is the last time your felt the fear and did it anyway? I’d love to hear about it!


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2 Responses to “Feeling the Fear and Doing it Anyway”

  1. Natalie June 21, 2010 at 4:16 pm #

    What a sweet and inspiring post! You described such a visceral feeling: fear and excitement and anxiety over trying something totally new, different, and unexpected. And then the moments after you get the idea to do it, when you try and talk yourself out of it! It seems like experiences like these are almost always super rewarding if you go ahead and go through with them =) I’m glad you had such a great experience, and in addition to all the great networking you got out of it, you can also now say "I tried out for a TV show once!" Cool!I haven’t had any opportunities pop up recently that were quite that exciting or unusual, but in anticipation of me leaving my day job in a month, I have been slowly sharing with others the ideas I have for the future — ideas that are pretty unconventional and might sound kind of weird! It doesn’t seem like much, but I worry a lot about people judging me and thinking I’m being naive or unrealistic in pursuing these project ideas, so it’s exciting when I am able to share it with someone after all. Some people have been excited, some people want to help, and others’ responses have just been lukewarm or uninterested, but so far nobody has expressed doubt or disapproval, at least not to my face 😉 It feels like an important step towards my future. After all, it would seem like I was even more naive and less prepared if I seemed so not passionate about my ideas that I couldn’t even talk about them to other people without getting embarrassed!

  2. Nailah June 23, 2010 at 8:48 pm #

    Natalie, thanks for sharing! Getting your ideas out there and sharing your thoughts for the future is a HUGE & scary step. I still have trouble sharing some of my most unconventional ideas. It takes a boatload of courage to put yourself out on a limb and share your deep thoughts and passions with another person. Kudos to you! And congrats on being able to leave your day job in pursuit of some exciting opportunities. Please keep me posted on how that goes!

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