I’m on Day 4 of Jeff Goins’ 15 Habits of Great Writers Challenge. Today Jeff challenged us to publicly take a risk with our writing, such as blogging about something we’ve never told anyone. And that’s what I’m going to do.
This is so, so, so scary.
Here I am, mentally shivering, about to take the plunge: I’m going share with you my biggest fear, the one I’ve struggled with my entire life. Talk about feeling vulnerable.
I’m afraid to look stupid. There. I said it.
You know what’s strange? I can’t stand the word stupid and I don’t ever use it in regular conversation. I certainly wouldn’t let my five-year-old use it. But fear isn’t polite or politically correct, and if I’m being honest about my fear, that’s what the little kid in me would say: I don’t want to look stupid.
And now that I’ve verbalized it, it sounds ridiculous. I know I’m not stupid. There’s no question. But still, fear isn’t rational, is it?
Fear can have far too tight a hold on us, limiting our growth and experiences. Here are some of the ways this fear has affected me over the years:
– in the 6th and 7th grades I’d conveniently “forget” my shorts on gym days where we had to play baseball (I’m not sure how this got me out of playing, but it did), because I felt totally awkward playing baseball and didn’t want to be laughed at
– I didn’t particularly like trying something new in front of others, because I didn’t want to fumble at it and feel humiliated
– I avoided putting my hand up in class if the subject wasn’t something I was totally versed on
– In university I used to avoid courses that required public speaking, for the same reasons
– I used to get frustrated with myself when starting a new job because I didn’t have it all figured out right away, and didn’t want to make mistakes.
You get the picture.
You know how fear skulks in the damp, dark reaches of the mind, ever ready for the opportunity to unleash that fight or flight response? Well, you don’t conquer an irrational fear by suppressing it, or it’ll rear its ugly head again. No, you conquer it by acknowledging it and facing it head-on, allowing it to fade in the light of day. So, now I’ve (very publicly) acknowledged mine by sharing it with you. AND, in facing it head-on, I risk the very thing I’m afraid of: looking stupid for posting this so anyone can read it.
But that’s okay. Unlike when I was a kid, it now matters more to me what I think of me. It’s time for me to let go of this stale fear of mine. It’s not serving me and it imposes way too many limits.
I like the E.E. Cummings quote, “It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.”
It’s time for me to grow up.
This exercise was scary but liberating. Are you ready to let go of an old fear that’s been holding you back? Would you be willing to share?