How to Do What you Fear

Last week, in the Artist’s EDGE Membership Q&A call, I fielded an interesting question about procrastination.

How do you get yourself to do the things you’re afraid to do?

It’s one thing to take the BIG SCARY steps.  You can work yourself up to take those actions, holding your breath and leaping.  But what about the day-to-day things, the small scary steps?  How do you motivate yourself each and every day to take those small steps which feel so hard?

It’s been said, “Do what you fear, until you fear it no more.”  And it’s true that repetition of a feared action will lessen your fear of it.  But how do you get started?  How do you get yourself to do it, over and over, while it still feels scary and hard?  This requires a different kind of courage.  This brand of courage requires perseverance and tenacity and a certain kind of stubbornness.

Here are a few tricks that work for me:

  1. Focus on the bigger picture. If I’m making marketing calls and I focus on the result of this one call – it can look really scary.  What if this person says “no” to me!?!  But if I focus on my vision or goal – then this one person will not make or break my career.  It helps to put things into perspective.
  2. Set a specific time and a time limit for the actions. I will make marketing calls from 1:00PM until 2:00PM.  I can get through one hour of this, right?  If I’m going to a networking event (and I get shy in large groups of people), I’ll say to myself, I only have to stay for a half-hour.  Having a time limit really helps!
  3. Remember – your fears are rarely the truth (false expectations appearing real). Remind yourself of the last time you did that thing and how it wasn’t nearly as hard or scary to actually take the action as your imagination made it out to be.  The reality is almost never as bad as we fear.  Reminding yourself of reality definitely helps.

Just like writing this blog post – not so hard, right?  Phew!