Day 193 (A Hundred & Ninety-Three) of 365 days
Have you ever avoided taking action because you were afraid of putting yourself out there? The tension between wanting to hide and wanting to succeed is a feeling I know all too well. But I also know that if I want to do work I love, I have to take a step into the unknown.
I can’t let other people, or my fears, control my life. Yes, you may face negativity when you start a business, write a book, or whatever it is that you want to do. But so what? Let people criticize you, but you keep moving toward what makes you come alive.
There’s a reason public speaking is one of the biggest fears. Some people would rather die than get up on stage. We, as a people, are deathly afraid of what other people think of us. What you may not realize is that other people are busy thinking the same thing. At some point in our evolution, I’m sure that this fear of standing out came in handy, but it isn’t relevant anymore, not if you want to follow your passion. Standing out is a necessity if you want to do what you love. Don’t shy away from your fear. Let it lead you to opportunity, growth, and interesting life.
You might think, Well, if my work was GOOD, people would love it and buy it and shower it with awards. And that’s a valid thought, but the most popular things are not automatically the “best” things. The important thing is you have to define your sense of “best.” When I’m writing, I think about who I want to like something I’m writing about. I’d rather have three of my favorite people love an essay than a thousand strangers. I’d rather take my time working on something I like and care about that has no place on the internet than publishing a half-baked essay about something I don’t care about just to scramble for some likes.
What if you put yourself out there for opportunities even though you weren’t sure you would get them? Or, what if you asked for what you wanted, full stop? You might think, “That’s just not me! I’m not extroverted, I’m not a natural leader.” You don’t have to be born with the ability to lean in and ask for what you want. It’s something you can learn and hone over time. Committing inserting yourself and tolerating the distress that comes with pushing your boundaries is a life-long strategy that can make a notable impact in your life.
Like oxygen on an airplane, you can’t help others until you help yourself. Set boundaries if you are overextended and find the courage to express your needs. Keep putting yourself out there! No matter what.