You can do this
Listen. I know you’re scared.
But here’s something you don’t know, that your fear-clogged mind prevents you from seeing: we’re all scared.
Every single one of us.
We are all scared out of our wits. We are all groping around in the darkness of uncertainty with terror shredding our innards. We are all desperately hoping and praying that it will work.
You think it’s just the quiet, unobtrusive, timid ones. The ones who never break the rules. The ones who keep their heads down and fly under the radar.
But if you only knew…
If you only knew that it’s the brave ones who feel the most fear; they take the greatest risks and have the most to lose.
They don’t take the risks because they’re not afraid of them — they take the risks in spite of the fear.
The bravest among us are simply the ones who are the best at hiding their fear. As Earl Wilson said,
“Courage is the art of being the only one who knows you’re scared to death.”
You think the bold entrepreneurs, the brazen artists, the audacious writers, the freelancers and free spirits — the ones who dare to step out of line, stick their necks out, speak up and stand out — were born different than you.
You attribute their daringness to innate gifts, to personality.
“Of course he’s successful,” you think. “Of course she’s on the stage.”
“He’s just better at selling than me.”
“She was a natural-born leader, and I’m just a regular person.”
“He can stomach risk better than me.”
Not so, not so, not so.
Courage is not an arbitrary endowment at birth. Courage is learned and earned.
“We are what we repeatedly do,” declared Aristotle. “Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”
Likewise, courage is a habit. Habits are the result of repeated choice.
Choose courage, my friend.
Walk yourself to the edge of the light, to where darkness is a breathing, pulsating wall of conjured fears and terrifying “what ifs” that makes you shudder.
Take a baby step into the darkness.
Pinch yourself — you haven’t died, your imaginary fears have not come true.
Take another baby step.
Laugh. Fling your nervous laughter into the darkness and listen to it echo.
Take another baby step.
Stumble and fall. Listen to the jeers of the crowd flung at you from the sidelines.
Take a moment and consider why they’re mocking.
Yes. Yes, that’s right. They mock to stifle their own fear, to conceal their own shame for being unwilling to step into the darkness.
They are not mocking you — they are mourning their own cowardice.
Now stand up and gather your wits. Look around you.
Do you see, off in the distance, the ones who stand at the peak of achievement, above the clouds of darkness? Do you see now that they were not born atop that peak? Do you see that they pushed through their own murky vapor, that they stumbled and fell time after time and rose each time?
Do you see now that they are inherently no better than you? Do you see now that you have equal opportunity to make it to the top? Do you see now that you need not be fearless to march through the blackness?
Do you see now that the professionals you admire are those who have simply learned to choose faith and courage over fear, who have felt fear every bit as strongly as you have but who have chosen to beat it back time and time again?
Success is not the inevitable result of being fearless. It is the earned result of persistent courage.
Today you have a choice to make: deteriorate in your comfort zone, or grow in your courage zone.
I know you’re scared. But so is everyone. So what?
You got this.