Afraid? Good. You're Doing Something Right

Photo Credit: Forged from Stars Photography

Photo Credit: Forged from Stars Photography

By: Hannah Sutor (guest blogger)

Take a moment to think of the last time you were afraid. And I don’t mean imminent danger fear, like oncoming traffic swerving into your lane momentarily. I’m talking the fear that comes from doing something different from the norm, from putting yourself out there, from creating something and sharing it with the world. Can you remember the last time your deliberate actions you made you afraid?

If you’ve recently been afraid, pat yourself on the back! This means you’re doing something right.

Great things don't come from:

  • Staying in your safety zone
  • Performing the same, comfortable, predictable actions over and over
  • Following the path that society tells you to take
  • Accepting everything as-is without question

Great things do come from:

  • Taking risks
  • Improving old or creating new habits
  • Creating something and sharing it with the world

Note that all of the items in the “Great things come from” list are scary. There is a lot of fear involved. What will people think? What if I fail? What if no one likes my blog post, my artwork, my business idea? What if I make a fool out of myself? The fear-driven questions could go on and on.

Here are a few times recently when I have been afraid and did it anyway.

  1. I pitched my business idea in front of 3 different audiences. There was a slight element of fear for the public speaking (but it is not a huge fear for me), but the greater fear was in the feedback from the audiences and the panels. What if they thought my business idea would never make it? Am I ready to hear negative feedback on something I’ve been working so hard on?
  2. I decided to take my IT career in a new direction...twice. I went from software QA, to programming, to business analyst work. I had to ask my boss at each job about transitioning to a different role (scary!). With each transition, I had no training and had to learn on the job. I was expected to contribute from day 1 in each role. What if I couldn’t catch on fast enough? What if I have to spend all day every day asking my co-workers for help? What if my employer regrets letting me try something new on their dime? What if I become a jack of all trades and a master of none?
  3. I came fully “out” with my business idea to friends and family. It was something that I had been working on behind closed doors for a long time, and I began to wonder why I was hiding it. The answer? Fear. Again - what if I work so hard on this and it fails? What if I promote my business and no one buys it?

It is a lot easier to stay in your comfort zone and to never do anything differently. So again - if you have been afraid lately due to the awesome things you’re doing in your life - high five. It’s scary, but it’s worth it. And I always find that doing one “scary” thing begets doing another scary thing, and then over time, the element of fear becomes less and less because I know from experience that nothing bad is going to happen.

So you’re afraid? Keep it up. I am too.

Hannah Sutor is a software engineer and analyst, and is a member of The ROKI Community. She is currently working on her startup, a software platform which aims to differentiate recruiters in a crowded market.