Do It Afraid

It’s all a part of the process.

Eric Turner
Nov 5, 2018 · 5 min read
“woman standing at beach beside shark signage” by Lubo Minar on Unsplash

So, I think we get caught up in our own comfort sometimes.

What I mean is that life gets comfortable and we stop trying new things, we stop traveling, going new places, challenging ourselves, etc.

I’m here to talk about a concept that I like to call “doing it afraid”.

I try to live life with the understanding that I’m going to be uncomfortable and/or afraid sometimes, and that I need to just do it anyway.

That concept is really hard to grasp for some people, though.

The truth is that if you‘re never able to understand that you’re going to have to just do things afraid sometimes, you’ll probably lack growth in certain areas.

No. It’s not.

You have to accept fear as being part of the process if you want to accomplish anything worthwhile.

I’m glad you asked.

Die to your nerves.

This sounds a bit stoic at first, but you truly have to understand that your nerves are just going to follow you everywhere, into everything.

Plenty of people have accomplished crazy feats because of their “fight or flight” response, by the way.

Such feats include stories that involve people lifting cars to rescue a trapped individual. Their adrenaline kicked in during the stress of the moment and they were able to accomplish a seemingly impossible task.

My point isn’t that you’ll always perform miracles because of your anxiety.

My point is that your anxiety will be a part of the process, whether you like it or not.

You’re going to take your fear into that presentation at work, or job interview.

You’re going to be afraid of standing up in front of an assembly of people, and you’ll be afraid of presenting your ideas to a room full of people you barely know.

You’ll probably be scared of the results of that big test you have to take, or maybe you’re scared of taking the test altogether.

You’re absolutely afraid of asking that girl out, but you’re going to do it afraid, or you aren’t going to do it at all.

I hope you’re starting to understand that fear is apart of the process. It has integrated itself into your plans, but it will not dictate the outcome unless you allow it to.

Isn’t that refreshing to know? Sure, you’ll be afraid, but you don’t have to let that fear make the decisions for you.

You still have the choice of whether or not you’re going to

  • ask her/him out for a drink
  • quit a job
  • get through the interview
  • put your best work out there for the world to see
  • show up
  • etc.

You have an opportunity.

You have a choice and a chance. Is there really anything else you could ask for in this life?

Your life is made up of choices. You’re going to be uncomfortable. Your educators, your bosses, your peers and friends and family, are all going to ask something of you at one point or another.

All of these people from all different facets are going to pull you out of your comfort zone and they’ll probably force you into a room with your fears.

At some point or another, you will need to just do it afraid.

Life is full of difficult circumstances and tough situations that you’ll continuously navigate.

I’ve had to speak at two of my grandparents’ funerals up to this point.

Both times I was afraid. Both times I was nervous — fearful of standing up on a platform and dealing with the pressure of sharing something meaningful about the people I love in front of a bunch of people dealing with loss in their own way.

It was uncomfortable, scary, and I was afraid.

I embraced those nerves. I recognized that nobody in the room was going to judge me for screwing up a sentence.

What I realized in those moments was that it wasn’t about me.

But, in these circumstances, I realized that it wasn’t just about the way I felt. To every person in the room it was about the way that they felt, too.

You’ve probably heard the old joke that you need to picture the audience in their underwear, or use some other tactic to feel comfortable in those moments of fear.

The truth is that everybody is in their underwear, all the time.

Most of your fears come from other people’s perspectives and what they are going to think about you.

The trick is to realize that most of their fears are coming from what you think of them, too.

It’s a weird cycle and tug-of-war.

You contribute to the anxiety of others. They contribute to yours.

Once you recognize that, you can overcome it, though.

You can take that realization into that meeting, interview, classroom, speech, first date, etc, and you can embrace those nerves.

Embrace the way that fear motivates you, instead of embracing the way it cripples you.

“Sometimes fear does not subside and one must choose to do it afraid”

-Elisabeth Elliot

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Eric Turner

Written by

Husband. Father. Friend. Social Worker. Life is messy. Come along for the ride!

The Startup

Get smarter at building your thing. Follow to join The Startup’s +8 million monthly readers & +787K followers.

Eric Turner

Written by

Husband. Father. Friend. Social Worker. Life is messy. Come along for the ride!

The Startup

Get smarter at building your thing. Follow to join The Startup’s +8 million monthly readers & +787K followers.

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