Kitty J. Boitnott, Ph.D., NBCT
Certified Life Strategies & Stress Management Coach
“Regardless of what you want to do or who you are, fear will always see you as wholly unqualified for anything you ever dream or attempt.” ~ Jon Acuff
The quote offered above the illustration about fear is from a book entitled, Start: Punch Fear in the Face, Escape Average, Do Work That Matters, by Jon Acuff. As a “serendipity,” (I have written about those before) I found this insightful quote on a morning this past week when I really needed it. I was preparing for an experience that was a first for me, and I was quite literally shaking with nerves, and yes, fear.
This particular quote was from the passage of the day in a monthly devotional book to which I subscribe. Each morning, as I prepare to face the challenges of my day, I read the message of the day for inspiration and encouragement. The messages are dated, and this particular message was specifically for Thursday, August 7, 2014. As I read it, I felt that the passage had been written specifically with me in mind.
What, you might wonder, would have me so nervous on the morning of August 7 that I would be shaking? I was preparing for my live “debut” performance for an Internet program. Thursday was my first performance as an official coach for CareerHMO, and my nerves were so bad, my hands were shaking as I hooked up the computer to the Ethernet cord and attached the USB cord from my brand new Yeti speakers to my new MacbookPro computer.
I had done a dry run with a safe crowd of coaches the previous week. I had my “cheat sheet” of what to do if I forgot any of the settings I needed, and I prayed all morning that no one on the Livestream program would offer a question that so dumbfounded me that I wouldn’t know what to say.
While I was nervously getting the technology prepared, I pulled out the phone to call my mentor to see if she would check the settings with me to make sure everything worked and somehow I called my mother instead. I am not joking when I say I was a wreck. In fact, I can’t remember the last time I was THAT nervous about anything. I was clearly shaken by the prospect of being exposed as too stupid to be taking on this new challenge, and I was taking the prospect of that very seriously.
I explained to my somewhat bewildered mother that I hadn’t meant to call her, that I was busy trying to get something set up, and I would call her back in a while. I managed to call the mentor instead, and she calmly walked me down from my encroaching point of panic. We had everything set and ready. All I needed to do at that point was hit start again when the appointed time came, and all would be well.
When I shut the dry run down, however, all of the automatic settings on my computer reset themselves, and so, when I signed on at 11:00 on the dot, people couldn’t see me at first because the screen kept freezing, and what they heard was a horrific echo. Taking a deep breath, I checked my settings, reset things to where they needed to be for the broadcast, and as people started to write in the chat box that they could see me and hear me and that I looked great and all was well, I read them the quote above and we started out talking about fear.
I admitted that I had been nervous because this was a “first” for me, and people started offering encouragement. Some asked me what I would recommend that they do about different circumstances in their career search, and amazingly, I knew what to say. The hour flew by and we signed off with my knowing that my “first” experience was behind me, and in spite of the technology glitch, I had survived. Now that I know I can and will survive, I am even looking forward to my next experience.
The point? I worked through the fear of something that scared the you-know-what out of me. I tamped down the voice in the back of my head that told me that I wouldn’t know what to say, that I was going to humiliate myself in front of dozens of people, and that I would wind up slinking away in failure.
We all have that voice in the back of our heads. Clearly the author, Jon Acuff, has had a brush or two with the fear that threatens to hold us back from our dreams.
So, my message today is to work through the fear, whatever it may be for you. Don’t let it keep you from doing what you truly want to do. If you do, you will wind up living with regret, and that is no way to live. If you have a voice in the back of your head telling you that you can’t or you shouldn’t or why bother because you will surely fail, remind yourself that even the greatest individuals who have ever lived and who have accomplished the most have had to deal with fear at some point in their lives.
Remember the now famous quote of Franklin D. Roosevelt: “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”
It is true.
Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote that you should “always do what you are afraid to do.”
“We fear the thing we want most,” according to Robert Anthony.
And my favorite quote about fear is by Marianne Williamson:
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us.
Your playing small does not serve the world.
There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you.
We are all meant to shine as children do.
It's not just in some of us; it is in everyone.
And as we let our own lights shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.
As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
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If you or a friend or family member is looking for a job because they are out of work, between jobs, or underemployed, contact me for information about the “disruptive job search” methodology that is taught atCareerHMO, the “cure for chronic career pain.” I am now working as a career coach with CareerHMO and am looking for people who could benefit from the program and the fantastic resources that are available throughCareerHMO and its sister site, Careerealism.