Don’t let fear and doubt hold you back. Fear can so easily derail your opportunities for success. Overcoming our fears and learning to take risks can open doors to unlimited possibilities and help you realize your ultimate potential.
The first step involves being aware of your fears, acknowledging them and drilling down into the worst-case scenario possible. Often our fear and the potential outcome causing that fear don’t match up. That is, our level of fear far outweighs what we’re scared of. What’s the worst thing that can happen?
Now if you’re talking about climbing Mount Everest during a bad storm, your fears are likely warranted. But if your fear is keeping you from speaking at an industry conference, your fear factor probably outweighs any potential negative outcome. What’s the worst that can happen? Even if you don’t do a stellar job, you’ll most likely learn from the experience and know how to do a better job next time.
You need to connect your fear to the potential negative outcome and then put your fear into perspective.
Every single time I’ve been scared to do something but did it anyway, I either learned something amazing or moved my career forward.
In 2006, I was given another amazing opportunity. I was offered an hour-long radio show on Sirius Satellite Radio. The show, “Health and Fitness Talk with Dawna Stone,” was a live talk show that included guest interviews and answering listeners’ questions. I was so excited about the opportunity; I mean, how often do you get offered your own radio show, right? But then fear set in once again, and the negative self-talk began. “I don’t know how to do a live radio show!” “How am I going to have enough to talk about?” “What if I can’t get any expert guests to come on the show?” And so on and so on.
Thankfully, I conjured up the inner strength to really take a hard look at my options. I could turn down this amazing opportunity and play it safe, or I could just commit and do my best. I thought about the worst-case scenario. If I froze on-air or, even worse, wasn’t any good at the role, I would be no worse off. But if I gave it a shot, enjoyed it and actually thrived, I’d have an amazing experience.
When I arrived at Sirius for my first show, I felt sick to my stomach. I actually thought I might throw up in the hall waiting to go on-air. But just as I was getting ready to enter the studio, Howard Stern came walking down the hall toward me. He stopped, introduced himself and said, “You don’t look so well.” I told him it was my first show and I was nervous and extremely nauseous. Howard then shared that, during his very first show, he was so nervous that he threw up in the studio.
Now, I’m not sure if he was telling the truth or simply trying to make me feel better; either way, it worked. A few minutes later I was in the studio, the red “on-air” light went on, and I had the time of my life. The nerves vanished and everything just flowed. My guests were fabulous, the listeners were engaged and calling in with great questions, and my producer made the entire hour run smoothly.
I look back now and think about how fear could have easily kept me from experiencing something amazing. Although I’m sure Howard wouldn’t even recognize me if we met again, I still believe that his little anecdote, true or not, helped me put things into perspective. What’s the worst thing that could happen? I could throw up like Howard did—so what!
Don’t let unfounded fears hold you back from opportunities that can impact your life in a positive way. Don’t let your fears rob you of an incredible experience that could catapult your career or simply bring joy to your life.
P.S. My new book You Can Have A Better Life: 21 Secrets to Getting the Life You Desire—Full of Significance, Joy and Purpose is now available! See it HERE.