Why Fear Is Good, and How To Avoid Negative Self Talk

fear overcoming self doubt


Dec. 2 2015, Published 2:30 a.m. ET

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“Are you paralyzed with fear? That’s a good sign. Fear is good. Like self-doubt, fear is an indicator. Fear tells us what we have to do. Remember one rule of thumb: the more scared we are of a work or calling, the more sure we can be that we have to do it.” 

– Steve Passfield, The War on Art

There are not many things in adult life scarier than choosing to take a new path. When you’re creating or trying something new, you can be your own worst enemy. We tend to tell ourselves things that aren’t true, and this prevents us from growing and pursuing our goals. That’s why we’ve come up with four ways to avoid that voice in your head and listen to the calling in your heart.

1. Get People In Your Corner

Whether it’s a best friend, an online community or a mentor, you need to have a cheerleader. This is someone who believes in you and your passion and will help negate all the crazy things you tell yourself about why you can’t succeed. These are the people who will help hold you accountable when you feel like giving up and celebrate with you when you reach a new milestone. So here’s to finding your fans – find ‘em, keep ‘em, buy ‘em a nice meal when you’re rich and famous.

2. Know Your Why

When we start questioning our path, ideas and aspirations, it’s often because we’ve lost sight of why we started in the first place. Working long hours and not seeing the progress you anticipated can have a huge impact on your perception and attitude, and may cause you to lose sight of your larger goal. You have to remember why you decided to open your own business, start a new project or join a certain team. Write your ‘Why’ statement down somewhere you can see it every day and reference it every time you need to remember what you’re working for.

3. Follow Your Industry

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While it’s important to follow your own path, one of the greatest motivators can be seeing someone else grow and succeed in the same space. Your dream job can shift from an impossible idea to a tangible example by witnessing someone else’s journey. Social media is the perfect resource for introducing us to individuals and companies doing amazing things, and it’s time to take advantage of it. Search for relevant hashtags and companies in your industry, contribute to those conversations and become a fan. The more positive information you receive about your idea, the better you’ll feel about doing it yourself.

4. Stop Comparing, Start Connecting

While social media can be a great resource, it can also be a source of envy and may only validate your self-doubt through negative comparison. Sometimes when we see someone succeeding in our space we have the tendency to compare instead of learn. We think, “I could never do that,” or “she will always be better than me,” but we should be using each other as mentors and resources to grow. If you see a blog or Instagram account you like, reach out to that person and make a connection. Everyone loves hearing that someone enjoyed their work, and many businesswomen and entrepreneurs are open to sharing advice and tips for success. Ask them about their personal journey to success or to look at your work and provide feedback. This could be the beginning of a beautiful partnership.

The most important thing to remember is everyone who has achieved something noteworthy has been there, and despite what the voice in your head says, you’re not alone. So even if that voice never truly goes away, know that there is a stronger voice somewhere inside telling you to keep going. 

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