Saturday, November 6, 2010

Back to blogging... and fear

This week, a friend commented that I haven't blogged in a little while.  He's right, of course... it's been a few weeks.  The reason for this that I've been telling myself is that I'm busy - which is true.  There have been many days in the last few weeks that have been stacked end-to-end with work, volunteering, friends, family and too many good things to list; many nights where I've come home just in time to answer a few emails and fall in to bed.

However, I also know that I've been wrestling a little bit with the purpose of this blog, and also with the idea of putting my ideas "out there".  What if people disagree?  What if you, the few people who visit this space, think I'm scattered or disorganized?  What if I put ideas down here, in the never-forgetting internet, and then in a few years even I disagree with them?  By blogging, I began to fear that I am making statements about myself, my beliefs and my ideas that I would be held to forever and ever... and that was a terrifying thought!

And then, as often happens, I came upon something that spoke exactly to that situation.

You may know that I've been reading Linchpin by Seth Godin, and blogging about various parts and passages (along with Chett, a twitter-friend who's been doing the same and had a great post this week about goals).  There's a section in Chapter 4 in which Godin asks "Where do you put the fear?".  The idea here is that each of us is fearful about something, but that those who are successful are able to move beyond their fear and act anyway.

I have lots of fears, of course, as we all do.  One of my beliefs about fear is that it's healthy, and that it signals something - fear tells us that what we are scared of (losing a friend, making a call, choosing a path) has meaning and importance.  The fact that I'm scared of blogging about some topics means that I care about the opinions that I'm sharing.  If you're scared to choose, that means the decisions matter, and that you care about the consequences and results.

Of course, fear can also be paralyzing.  It can lead us to hide or run from that which scares us.  It can lead us to lash out in anger, or with reactions that don't fit the situation.  If we let it, fear will defeat us by telling us we can't, we shouldn't, we won't be able to.

But, if everyone feels fear about something, then the question becomes: how do those who are successful deal with it?  Or, as Godin says, where do you put the fear?  Where does a lawyer put the fear that they will lose the case?  Where does a hockey star put his fear of not making the perfect shot?  Where does a public speaker put the fear that they will be judged as boring?

Ultimately, does your fear motivate you or chase you away?  Does it inspire you or cause you to cower?

Everyone has fear... lots of fears, in fact.  So where do you put it?

My commitment to myself is to feel the fear - all of it.  To feel it, accept it, and act anyway.  To decide which fears are meant to be moved in to, and which ones aren't (obviously, a fear of running in to traffic is one that should be listened to).  To realize that it's normal, healthy even, to feel fear.

My commitment to myself is to blog, and to know that I will get it wrong sometimes, and to do it anyway.  To speak in front of groups of people, to share what matters, despite fear of judgement.  To step in to the fear of what will come, and let it motivate me to be a better version of the person I can be.

What about you?  Where will you put your fear?

Thanks, Bob, for the reminder to get back to blogging : )


  1. Great post Bethany. That lizard brain continues to haunt us throughout our lives (or at least it still gives me shivers on many occasions). The reward of facing it down is almost always greater than the consequences of giving in to the fear and not speaking, not writing, not standing for what we believe.

  2. Very true. Each scary step taken makes the next a little easier, as well.

  3. I can totally understand your "fear". I have to admit I've stuck to very generic, recipe oriented, etc. with little mention of the "private" me in my blogs. I like that style for me... but I also see the HUGE therapy involved in putting your whole self out there and just dealing with life via the blog. My personal opinion when you do this, leave the blog for strangers and online friends but not family & true "friends" we know in person. It saves face when you have some issues, etc. and keeps you fairly anonymous with your readers & "safer".