Meet Brit McGinnis. Brit hugged her fear to write and publish her first book and today she’s sharing with us how she did it.
I’m an author, specializing in new adult fiction (meaning fiction with characters going through a coming-of-age transition). But beyond that, I’m a ghostwriter and a virtual assistant. I also love horror movies and traveling.
Writing my first book (and seeking a career as an author in general) was terrifying to me. I “knew” that my first book would be awful, and that I’d just be embarrassing myself by trying. Plus it wouldn’t be lucrative! What was I going to do with such an iffy career at a young age? With an uncertain path, no less!
Eventually I realized that even if my first book did suck, it still needed to be done if I wanted to have the life I wanted. At the time I was working most heavily in social media, which was fun but not 100% fulfilling. It took living life being afraid to do what I want to make me realize that it was worth it to face my fear.
To get through my fear, I told myself that I was going to write this book (meaning write it, edit it, and start the publishing process in some capacity) during the year of 2013. I hired an editor for the final finished work, so now I had someone expecting to see my work at a certain point in time. I also began talking openly about my book on social media—taking ownership of what I was making! Overall, when my goal (and my fear) became less private, it was easier to tackle head-on.
Stephen King’s On Writing was really inspirational to me because it deconstructed what the life of a writer was really like. It made the process much less mysterious, and therefore something I could imagine doing during my whole life. I also love the blog Fearful Adventurer, purely for the fact that it dealt with achieving goals in a very real way. It was nice to read about someone with anxiety (like myself) working to achieve their goals.
I would tell them to take an honest look at their life as it is and ask themselves if it’s what they want for the rest of their life. Despite its irrelevance to my true career, I’m actually very grateful that I worked in a tech startup for a time. It showed me exactly what I didn’t want in life, and strengthened my resolve to work toward a career I did want.
My first book Gin and Brimstone is now available for purchase, and watch for my Maskheads series later this year!
So, that’s Brit’s story! What do you think? What things stuck out to you or inspired you to take a step towards your own dream (even if it’s not writing a book)? One thing that stuck out to me is how Brit gave her goal a timeline, sought out help and help herself accountable by telling other people. This is definitely one method I’ve seen (and used) that helps you move forward in the midst of fear.
Until next time,
Until next time,
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Do you want to be fearless? Do you live for the day when you no longer feel afraid to be or do anything? I want to let you in on something: there is no such thing as a fearless person.
Recently, I was asked to do an interview about hugging your fear for Trish Blackwell’s podcast Confidence on the Go. During the interview, I mentioned to Trish my belief that fearlessness doesn’t exist. I shared a bit of my thought process during the interview (which you can listen to here), but I want to share more in depth what I meant with you today because I think that the fearless trap is an easy one to get sucked into.
First, a definition, what is the fearless trap?
The fearless trap is a limiting belief that someone out there is fearless and if I can get rid of my fear like they did, I will be able to achieve my goals.
That belief in fearlessness creates an unreachable goal that actually keeps you stuck in fear. Everybody experiences fear in some way or another. Those people who seem fearless have either practiced the action they’re taking (or one like it) lots of times before lessening the impact of fear or they consider the fear they feel something else like excitement or energy.
The idea that you can’t take action and be afraid at the same time is total BS. However you came to believe that, whether from a family member or observing some societal messaging, it’s time to let that belief go. It’s not helpful to you and if you hold onto it, you will never feel ready to take a step towards your dreams.
You can be afraid and take steps forward. You can feel like your heart is going to fall out of your chest and still take steps forward. You can feel like you’re going to pass out from fear and still take steps forward. You can feel doubt about your ability to do what you dream and still take steps forward. Fear does not cancel out action unless you let it.
And yes, you will likely feel uncomfortable and unsure, but the more steps you take, the easier it gets. And if that’s not enough of a comfort, just know that there is a distinct high that comes after you do something you were afraid to do. I’ll give you a recent example.
I’ve never been interviewed for a podcast before. I am still working through some false beliefs that I have about my ability to share information verbally. I think of myself as a writer first and was not sure that I would be able to share something I care so much about without stumbling over my words or having my mind go blank. Can any of you relate to this?
A few minutes before I did the interview, I wrote out how I was feeling:
I felt like this up until the first few minutes after we started talking. Then something happened. I was still a bit nervous, but the focus of the interview distracted me from focusing on how I felt and I just let go and enjoyed the moment. When I go off the call, I had the following experience:
What a HUGE difference just by doing something I was afraid to do. And when I reflect back on past experiences, this before and after scenario is usually the case. It’s the case for so many other people too.
Remember this when you feel too afraid to move. I am not a special person in this respect; you can feel this high too if you just accept that fear is there and move forward anyway.
You don’t have to be fearless to take steps toward your dreams. You can feel afraid and still move forward. It’s possible. It’s how the people you admire do really awesome things and if they can do it, you can do it too.
And with that, I will leave you with one question: if there is no such thing as a fearless person and I can act even though I’m afraid, what step am I willing to take this week towards my dreams and how can I prepare for taking that step today? Remember, little steps count.
And make sure to check out my interview with Trish here. I was so nervous! Let me know what you think!
Until next time,
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There comes a time in every fearful dreamer’s life when action is necessary. But what happens when you feel so afraid that you let that fear stop you from taking action? What do you do to move from stuck to actually taking steps?
The next time you feel too afraid to move, try these practices:
Hugging your fear is all about observing what you’re doing or not doing when fear pops up. Put on your scientist colored lenses and notice what you’re doing to avoid doing anything. Are you watching lots of TV? Going out every night with friends? Checking out others’ social media pages? Comparing yourself to people out there doing what you want to be doing? Take a look and see what you find, without judgment. Avoidance activities can hide how much fear you may be feeling.
Sit somewhere quiet where you won’t be disturbed and take out a pen and some paper (or open up a Word doc) and answer this: What am I afraid might happen if I do this thing? Let yourself answer freely, whatever comes to mind first. No editing or over thinking. Just write. It can also be helpful to do the “and then what?” exercise. I can’t take credit for creating it; it’s floated around the personal development field for years. Basically you write down what you’re afraid might happen (“I’m afraid that if I start this business, no one will buy what I’m selling.”). Then you ask yourself “and then what?” (“Then I will go broke.”). Keep asking “and then what?” even after the extreme example I provided. Get to the very last possible outcome of your worst case scenario fears and see how you feel and if you believe what you wrote.
Simon Sinek popularized this method with his book Start With Why. Although I’ve only read articles about the book, I find that asking yourself why you want to take this action or go for this dream can help make the fear less powerful. So ask yourself, “Why do I want to do _______?” and once you have your answer, see if you can find a way to focus on that instead of the fear.
Uncertainty can cause fear to grow. My guess is that when you are stuck in fear and unable to take a first step you are either thinking about the whole project you’d like to undertake or your first step is really multiple steps that when considered together feel overwhelming. Break down what you want to do in very small steps, so small that when you look at the first step, it feels silly. It’s not the size of the step that matters; it’s the consistency with which you take them. So choose a first step, any step and make sure it’s small enough that even if you feel some fear about taking it, you know in your heart that you can do it. And if you need some inspiration, Stefani Harris of The Creative Solutions Project shares some baby steps she took through fear here.
Just as fear thrives on uncertainty, it also thrives on inaction. The longer you don’t take a step, fear whispers louder and louder making it harder and harder to take the step (not impossible hard, but definitely harder). Here are a few ways to take the first step:
The secret is that confidence and courage grow only when you take a step and not before. You must step out to build your confidence and courage muscles.
So take that step. Move from inaction to action. I know you can do it, learn to believe in yourself. Just do your best, make the step small and throw out any and all self-judgment. How about starting today? Share what step you’ve taken or want to take in the comments below and please share this on your Facebook or Twitter or other social media pages if you think your friends could benefit from it.
Until next time,
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