I didn't get it for ages that my procrastination, dithering, putting things off, taking the 'easy' route was because I was afraid to commit. When you commit, the stakes get higher, the fear doesn't go away. And in the words of Susan Jeffers, you've got to feel the fear and do it anyway! I am not even close to conquering the fear factor, but I've cottoned onto a few thoughts about going for it.
1. Take advantage of the punching practice - the next round will be bigger and scarier.
After you dealt with fear the first time, it will be back. And most likely the stakes will be higher. But the good news is, you get accustomed to fear showing up. And the more you punch fear, the more you anticipate it. Even at the beginning, once you start getting used to taking little baby steps, keeping going isn't quite so hard. It's like learning to walk: confidence grows even with a fall or two along the way.
2. Put some tunes on!
Life is better when you can bop around the room/sing along/play air guitar.
3. It's not a life or death situation : is it?! No?Well, then, it's usually fixable.
Very few things aren't solvable. I used to stress about mistakes at work, the wrong version of a document going to a client, saying the wrong thing on the phone. But these things are rectifiable. Being around people who deal with problems calmly and creatively is a real eye-opener, and will change your life.
4. Tell me. How cross are you going to be with yourself if you don't take this chance to act?
I find this a little bit weird, but it's been suggested to me, when you're trying to figure out what to do/next steps to take/priorities. Write your own obituary, what would your life to be about? How can you break that down into what you need to do next? Can you do that tomorrow?
5. Who is going to laugh at you when you fail? Have they been there and done what you're so afraid of? No? And why exactly are you listening...?
The biggest scaremongerers are the ones who a) are protective about you and love you and b) those who don't like how brave you're being. The a) people need encouragement that you've got it all planned out, and usually come around. They can become your biggest cheerleaders. The b) people will sabotage because they are jealous of what you're doing and wondering how you're jumping through so many hoops. Find others to reassure you, the ones who have been there, got the t-shirt, and want to help you get yours.
6. Dive in and see what happens.
This is easily the best, because you will get yourself interested. If you've set yourself a vision, once you're in flow, you'll be cursing yourself you didn't start before. Just jump in. Fear will evaporate.
7. If it turns out you're not good enough NOW, it's a chance to punch fear AGAIN. And gradually you'll get better.
Don't be disheartened when you aren't perfect. You will write shitty books, crappy songs, play BAD games, not even be able to think of one idea. Sometimes, it's not even worth analysing what went wrong. Just know that you're one step closer to your goal.
8. Fear doesn't like being punched.
Just picking yourself up and setting on the road again (read getting back on the horse, picking up pencil, taking out a new plank of wood) is the hardest part, and it's the moments before that where fear shows up the strongest. Every time you repeat this process, you punch fear, you commit to yourself, you give yourself another chance and fear one less.
9. Life is what you decided to do every, single day
Have you ever realised how much you can get done in 10 minutes? And you can do some things in 1 minute. And even if you're free time in each day only consists of 20 of those minutes, use it for what you want to achieve ultimately. That can give you the hope and courage to change a little bit more. Need an example? You want become a fashion designer, but you've never even begun to draw a design, or not for a very long time. Clear a space on a small table, and put there a block of paper and a pencil. Warn your family that it's not to be touched. Have it ready for your 20 minutes. Put your headphones in a put up a sign saying 'Back to reality in 20 minutes'. Then draw away. Life is made up of the time we spend every single day: all 1440 minutes of it.
10. Getting to the top of the mountain is even sweeter than the sweetest feeling when it's been a bloody hard climb.
Trust me on this one.