How to Have More Guts by Tomorrow

January 8, 2013

in growth., legacy.

Last week I realized something about myself: I am very afraid of a number of small things. And because I am afraid to do those small things, I do nothing. Fear keeps me from accomplishing all of the success that I want in life.

See, before I realized how afraid I am of those small things, I was thinking about circumstances and how I wished that they were better.

If only so-and-so would see me the way I see myself… If only I could be doing exactly what I want to be doing all the time.

It hit me that nothing about those desires was inconceivable. There’s nothing magical or too far out, or unattainable in any way.

Except that many times, when I get the opportunity to do something remarkable, I slink back into my shell like a turtle.

 How I Got Some Guts

“Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgement that something else is more important than fear.” - Ambrose Redmoon

This is no small thing: I figured out that I was afraid. That’s all. Oh, and I admitted it to myself out loud. “I’m afraid that _____.”

Try that exercise yourself. If nothing comes to mind right away, just think of the last time you got a great opportunity – even maybe an idea – and just didn’t go for it. Think honestly about why you didn’t. What stopped you?

My fear exposed: I was afraid that I would screw up and that my screw up would be pointed out to me. Ack! Such a very common fear. The fear of failure. We just talked about that on this blog!

I found the guts by admitting to myself that I was afraid of looking stupid (and being told about it) and then decided that the risk was worth the prize. If I went for it and succeeded, I would demonstrate the value I bring to the team. If I didn’t, no one would know what I was capable of. I didn’t want to risk no one ever knowing what I could do, so I swallowed my pride, faced the fear, and got some guts.

You Can Get More Guts, Too

It’s very simple:

  1. Figure out what you’re afraid to do – What is it that you fear will happen?
  2. Determine the risk – What might happen if you don’t go for it?
  3. Play would you rather – Would you rather do nothing?

If you’d rather do nothing, feel good, because you have learned something more about yourself. You are not in a place where you feel ready to move forward. That’s okay. Not everyone is going to be able to sky dive or wind surf. Those acts take guts.

If you decide you want to go for it, because the risk of not getting all that you want (out of life, out of your job, out of your business, etc.) is too great, congratulations. You just found some guts.

And it only took 5 minutes.

Image courtesy of federico stevanin

Fatima@photoshop cs6 training January 21, 2013 at 4:38 pm

Really liked your five-minute ‘gut-restoring’ post. Indeed a valuable piece of reading. Thanks for the share.

Aayna@cable ties January 18, 2013 at 3:24 am

What a brilliant post!!! True, ascertaining what makes us fearful is the starting point for getting rid of the fears. I have a fear of strangers, I become nervous when I encounter strangers. I am working on how to overcome this. Thanks for the share.

Lisa Marie Mary January 17, 2013 at 3:09 pm

This: “…when I get the opportunity to do something remarkable, I slink back into my shell like a turtle.” Ouch! Yes, I do that so often that I’m really frustrated with myself! I am going to try your 3-step plan and try to walk through at least a couple fears. Fear really keeps me stuck in a corner and I’m sick of it!

Tia Peterson January 19, 2013 at 9:58 pm

Thanks for your comment, Lisa Marie! That’s when it’s the time to act – when you’re sick of it! Good luck.

Veronica Roth January 12, 2013 at 10:59 am

This is the second post I’ve read and it’s really helped. This may sound silly, but I’ve been struggling with my first give-away on my blog. What I was thinking of is a small journal for someone. I thought I would draw/sketch/paint some images in it as inspiration. What’s stopping me is the feelings of not being good enough. So now I’m determined to get over it because I’d rather do it than do nothing. (Think I just got some guts) :)

Justin January 10, 2013 at 5:52 pm

So true Tia. It’s an accumulation of those small things happening that creates the large fears within us. Way to go for it in spite of your fears.

Take Care.

Lucy Dark January 8, 2013 at 8:01 pm

Another good quote: “A lot of people run a race to see who is fastest. I run to see who has the most guts, who can punish himself into exhausting pace, and then at the end, punish himself even more.” – Steve Prefontaine.

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