(Originally published in 2008)

Somebody (Tim Ferris? Gandhi? Princess Di?) once said that if you’re not offending anybody, you’re doing it wrong. You’ll be happy to know, I’m clearly doing it right.

When I clicked “Publish” on one particular post, I can honestly say I didn’t know people would be so bothered. I had no less than five snarky emails in my inbox before the damn post hit people’s feed readers. (Remember those?  I’m dating myself.)  Seriously, people were mad. Really mad. People were mad at my word use, people were mad that I called them cocky, people did not dig it. (For those of you who did like it and emailed, thank you. That was very nice of you.)

Anyway, somebody else (Chuck Norris? Paris Hilton? The Will It Blend guy?) said the following, and I think you’ll agree that it deserves some funky red type.

The absence of fear is not courage. The absence of fear is mental illness.

When I got those emails, I was not exactly delighted. (OK, the exhibitionist part of me was a little bit delighted.) Am I afraid that no-one will come to my blog? That people will stop coming? That I won’t meet the goals I’ve stated quite publicly to people I don’t like and who will gleefully revel in my failure?

Of course I am. But I can’t let that water me down. I can’t let that fear dominate my actions. I can’t let myself become one of those writers who just rehashes everybody else’s crap.

I have to hang out, being afraid, and going about my business anyway.

I’d love to make this into a handy bulleted list with lots of outgoing link love. Then everyone could “like” it and tweet it and I could be the linkbait queen of the world.

Sadly, I can’t.

I can tell you what I know about fear, though. It sucks. A lot. It can paralyze you and sicken you and leave you cold and lonely. I got pregnant at 17 with a man who wasn’t exactly my soul mate. I dropped out of college and people told me I would never make anything of myself. I have been on welfare. And I run my own business.

This is scary shit, people.

So here’s my not-very-linear advice on fear.

First, acknowledge it. Get to know it. The worst thing to do with fear is pretend it’s not there. You’re not fooling anyone, least of all fear itself, and by denying its existence you just look like an idiot. Get to the root of your fear. Analyze where it comes from. Find out what you’re really afraid of.

If you think you’re afraid your business will fail, you’re not. You might be afraid of poverty, of humiliation, of never finding happiness, but you’re not afraid your business will fail. Figure out what the problem really is and stop pretending the Big White Elephant of Fear hasn’t taken up residence in the corner of your home office.

For myself, I used to be almost constantly afraid. It’s gotten better, but here are some things that are still on the list:

I’m afraid if I move to the country, I will become isolated. I’m afraid that if I’m unhappy there, that will mean I’m vacuous and shallow.

I’m afraid that if we move to the city, I will be happy and Jamie will not. I’m afraid I won’t be able to enjoy it because of the guilt.

I’m afraid of finding out five years from now that we should have had more kids. I’m much more afraid of actually having more kids.

I’m afraid that now that I’m living my dream, I will be struck by a fatal illness and not live to enjoy it. (The dream, not the fatal illness.) I’m afraid that if I tell anyone that fear, then I will jinx myself and the fear will come true.

I’m afraid that all of my gigs will fall through at the same time and I will have to go back to working for the man.

I’m afraid people will decide that given my background (see: pregnant teenager, college dropout) I have no business calling myself an authority on anything.

I’m afraid my oldest son will stay a Mormon, serve a mission, and be brainwashed to hate me.

I’m afraid if I rest, I will fail.

Guess what, folks. Fear is normal.

As a bloggers, artists, writers, business owners, we are afraid. Trying to avoid fear, circumvent fear, or remove fear is an act of futility. Fear will not go away.

Live with fear, do your thing anyway.

And read this while you’re at it.

 

141 Comments on Entrepreneurship: What To Do When You’re Scared Sh*tless

  1. reid
    November 10, 2007 at 3:29 pm (8 years ago)

    I left my comfortable full time job 4 weeks ago, and have been living in a constant state of fear since. You’ve really hit the nail on the proverbial head. I’m afraid I won’t get any work, and I’m equally afraid I will get work.

    You’re writing has really been a comforting voice. I’m not usually one for pep talks. But your language and writing sounds true. It’s sounds authentic.

    Without sounding to too cheesy, thanks. Keep going.

  2. Naomi Dunford
    November 10, 2007 at 4:09 pm (8 years ago)

    REID! Your site is amazing! Yummy, yummy, gorgeous.

    Thank you for your comment. Without sounding ragingly egotistical, I could have used a site like this one when I was starting out. All of the resources available at the time were so SERIOUS! It seems like in a lot of the world, you can either be boring and factual, or not boring and have nothing of value to say.

    Thank God blogs are changing that. I wish you good luck, but I don’t think you’ll need it. If there is every anything I can do to help you in any way, please let me know.

  3. James Chartrand - JCM Enterprises
    November 10, 2007 at 4:17 pm (8 years ago)

    I can relate. Over at our own blog, we constantly worry about offending readers. More than once, I, the Canadian, have had to ask Harry, the American, “Do you people get offended about XYZ? Can I write this?” Often, the answer is, “Mm. That’s a touchy subject. Better not.”

    So for fear of ruffling feathers in a country that isn’t even my own, I play it low key. And sometimes, I grit my teeth.

    That’s why I find it refreshing to come read your blog. You don’t mince words, you’re direct, open and honest, and you’re real. I’ve already recommended your blog to three people. So far, I haven’t seen evidence that you aren’t a smart, knowledgeable, ballsy go-getter. You swear.

    So what? So do I.

    But. (Yes, there is always a “but”.)

    If you’re blogging to promote your own business, making sure you don’t offend potential clients is important. Making sure you come off as a professional for appearance’s sake is important, too. If you were in an office with 100 other co-workers, would you moderate your tone and language?

  4. Naomi Dunford
    November 10, 2007 at 4:29 pm (8 years ago)

    @ James – That’s an issue I had to make a hard choice on. I have the biggest potty mouth of anyone I know. My husband is often ashamed to be seen with me.

    I think what I finally realized is that I was sick of being a different person with everyone. I got sick of figuring out whether I was supposed to put on the “soft-spoken adult” hat or the “respectful” hat or the “be myself” hat, whichever hat that is. I finally realized that if I was looking for an illustrator or a web designer or whatever, I’d rather hire someone like me. I figured if I thought that, odds are out of the six billion people in the world, someone else would think that, too.

    So I started being myself. Now I’m turning work away every day. I don’t know if those two are related, but they might be.

    I think it boils down to the level of risk you’re comfortable with. Heather Armstrong at Dooce says some very, very bad words. I think she came to that conclusion as well – if you don’t like Dooce, don’t read Dooce.

    It was a really hard decision to make, but I finally had to get off the fence. That’s when I decided that if someone doesn’t want to hire me because I say “shit”, that’s OK.

    Thank you for your comments – I always look forward to them.

  5. James Chartrand - JCM Enterprises
    November 10, 2007 at 4:45 pm (8 years ago)

    And therein lies the key.

    It’s a really tough decision to bare yourself, wear your heart on your sleeve (to some extent) and say, “This is me, people. Don’t like it? Get lost.” Those who do stay are the ones that you *know* you’ll enjoy being with and working with. They’re the ones that appreciate you for you, not you that they think is someone else.

    Having a dirty mouth isn’t my biggest issue. Actually, I have very few issues with cursing. Of course, there are levels, and I don’t use extremely graphic curses. You don’t either. I think.

    My issue is letting my personal views and morals show in a world that isn’t as tolerant as I thought it was. I’ve blogged about cultural differences before. I write with gritted teeth often, because I have to hold back on saying something about politics, religion, sex, and drugs. Up here in Canada, most of those discussions are just that – discussions. Down south… gasoline to the fire. Or such is my perception.

    Anyways, I’d love to say that I’m anti-Bush, anti-military, pro gay/lesbian marriage, pro enviro-green, pro adoption/abortion, and open about all religions but ambivalent about my own… but those are all no-no taboo topics, so I won’t.

  6. lornadoone
    November 10, 2007 at 5:19 pm (8 years ago)

    I liked so many things about this post that I don’t even know where to start! It’s a little more than I would be willing to say on a professional blog, but you and I are different people. I think it’s awesome that you took kind of an ugly situation with the nasty emails and turned it into a way to get introspective. Not only that, but you gave other people some encouragement to be introspective, too.

  7. Rose
    November 10, 2007 at 6:13 pm (8 years ago)

    Please keep being exactly who you are! I love reading your posts. You are informative and entertaining. I sometimes feel like I’m talking to a friend. The type of people who take the time to say mean things aren’t the type worth worrying about!

    Btw… you hit the fear nail right on the head for me. I realized I’m terrified of actually kicking off my website. I keep alternating between dragging my feet on things and wild bursts of work way to late at night. :) I just need to figure out what is exactly scaring me!

  8. Naomi Dunford
    November 10, 2007 at 7:10 pm (8 years ago)

    @ James, the encore – Right there with you, dude. It’s easier for me online than it is in person. In person, I have to remind myself that if this person is homophobic or anti-Semite or Republican, I don’t care if I offend them.

    @ Lornadoone – Thank you. That was very kind. As I was telling Suzie of Vox Fortis, man cannot live on witty repartee alone. :)

    @ Rose – I will make sure to come back and read your comment when I am feeling weepy and sorry for myself.

  9. Rebecca
    November 10, 2007 at 7:11 pm (8 years ago)

    Um, yes. 70+ people gave a resounding “You suck,” when I guest-posted on PT’s blog. And I am surprisingly okay with that. In fact, since I started my new job, and as my blog becomes more successful, the better I have been at not caring about what other people think and finding my own voice. Thanks for posting this – it gives me more courage!

  10. shane
    November 10, 2007 at 7:42 pm (8 years ago)

    it’s a well timed post. Since you mentioned it two night ago, I have been thinking a lot about the goals that motivate me and the people that I would follow as a leader. I heard someone tell me a few years ago that every major attach of fear is the emotion tension of passing into your next higher level in life. A little fufu for me, but I could vibe with it. Going independent, buying a plan ticket and traveling the world for a few years, moving in with Julie, buying a house, taking a business partner. All were riddled with fear and anxiety. All the best milestones on the journey of my life.

    I’ve found fear to be pretty useful in a wierd business context. Peter hates this but the way I pick goals for our company (being the CEO I get to choose first) is to keep pushing the bar mentally until I feel myself getting unconformable, then nervous then afraid. That when I stop and mark the goal. Peter & I had an awesome retreat and set our 2008 goals.

    As a team, our crew is going to gross a million next year.

    Now that’s a goal that makes me afraid. I have no idea how we will, but I have confidence we can.

    I’m glad we are in this journey together!

  11. Naomi Dunford
    November 10, 2007 at 8:33 pm (8 years ago)

    REBECCA! That’s insane! You must have tried very, very hard to piss that many people off in that short of a time period. In response to the 70+… Do you seriously have NOTHING BETTER TO DO than attack strangers on blogs? Is there not something better you could be doing like curing cancer or knitting for the homeless or HAVING SEX, for Christ’s sake?

    @ Shane – I dig it. That’s a good goal setting strategy. Oh, and by the way? I want a raise. :)

  12. Michael
    November 10, 2007 at 9:23 pm (8 years ago)

    Excellent work! Both this post and the last one. Oh, and excellent at pissing people off. I think you are right on track so don’t change a thing. (As if I know all that much anyway.)

    Oh, and perfect illustration. How did you know that was how I was feeling all week. In fact, if the guy in the picture had less hair he could have been me.

  13. Naomi Dunford
    November 10, 2007 at 9:52 pm (8 years ago)

    @ Michael – I actually have teams of undercover photographers. :) We gave you more hair to make you feel better.

  14. Aruni
    November 11, 2007 at 1:51 am (8 years ago)

    Thanks for “The absence of fear is not courage. The absence of fear is mental illness.” Sometimes I think my fear is a form of mental illness. :-)

    Great post! By the way, I don’t know how many kids you have but if the thought has crossed your mind to have another and you only have one, I would recommend it. We have two kids and it was hard at first but now when I see them playing together nicely (yes they do sometimes fight) and I can rest or get something done without having to entertain them, I smile to myself and say ‘ah, I think it just might have been worth it.’ :-) Plus I’m close to my sister and I can’t imagine a life without her!

  15. Naomi Dunford
    November 11, 2007 at 1:56 am (8 years ago)

    Hi Aruni,

    We have two sons. Michael is 8 and Jack is 1. I also had a surrogated baby when Michael was 2. I appreciate what you say – it’s definitely a big topic. Apparently (I wasn’t born yet, so I don’t know), my aunt used to kick my cousins out onto the porch when they were fighting, regardless of weather or time of day. “You want to fight? Fight in front of your friends!”

    Ahh, the good old days. :)

    Thanks, Aruni. It’s great to see you.

  16. Dave C.
    November 11, 2007 at 2:17 am (8 years ago)

    Naomi,

    I’m not kidding one bit when I say that on a walk back from dinner with my wife, I had this idea to tape a phrase to the top of my Macbook…

    “If you rest, you fail. Work now, sleep later.”

    True story, and until I read this, I hadn’t done it, but now I’m looking for my label maker.

  17. Naomi Dunford
    November 11, 2007 at 2:20 am (8 years ago)

    Dave – That is so cool. Incredibly creepy coincidence, but cool. And can I borrow your label maker? I’ve always wanted one, but when I’m in Office Depot I always think of better things to buy. Like new post-its. Ones that are different from the 84 other stacks of post-its.

    Thanks. Love your story.

  18. shane
    November 11, 2007 at 2:39 am (8 years ago)

    @David:

    That statement is the epitome of the self-employed. Quite true often enough, but sad at times.

    Peter’s dad sent me this video today. The American dream circa 1948 – definitely worth a browse. But I found it awesome and loved it but also noticed a quiet tragedy. Despite the whole damn thing, he never goes fishing, which is all he wanted in the first place.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=moMdcdKFBw0

    Dave – I’m so glad you take time to go to dinner and walk with your wife. Maybe you laptop should also have a label that says “happy wife, happy life.”

    -S

    • Karen
      March 12, 2010 at 6:35 am (6 years ago)

      Wow. That film is amazing. Nowadays, such pro-tax, pro-workers’ rights attitudes would be seen as fairly socialist by many in the US. It’s fascinating to see how far away from conservative values modern “conservatives” have come – and how much more unequal society has become as a result.

  19. Jarkko
    November 11, 2007 at 3:04 am (8 years ago)

    Shane has a point! I think it’s most important to know why you’re working. If the thing you really want is work, then that’s a valid mantra…

    But usually there is something else that we want. To me for example the main motivator for working hard is that in the end I hope to be free from a day job so that I can have more time with my family.

    When I keep that in mind it reminds me that I need to do it already now. I can’t just work, because that’s not my ultimate goal. I also need to take time off if I don’t want to lose sight of the real goal.

    Naomi, I just have to say that you’re getting better by every post. I didn’t think that would be possible, but I’m enjoying your posts more every day. :)

    In fact, you’re one of the rare bloggers whose posts I read rather than skim. So, I don’t think you need to be scared of losing your readers – we love you.

  20. Susan
    November 11, 2007 at 4:03 am (8 years ago)

    So it’s 3am, and I was laying awake, sweating bullets over how to stretch a pretty paltry bank account until I can invoice in another week.

    Even though I’d read this entry earlier today, I came back to re-read and am so glad I did. Good shot in the arm.

    As always, bravo.

  21. Charlie
    November 11, 2007 at 4:58 am (8 years ago)

    This is a great post and I think, Naomi, that I’m falling in love with you through you’re writing.

    Like so many others I’m in the same boat. I’m trying to make a go of a freelance life myself and am presently shitting myself. Why?

    Because I just dropped a client who offered a good chunk of money, and the potential for a lot of future work. I dropped him because he hated my proposed website, which is some of the best work I’ve ever done. Had he been a little more polite about it and used the word “I” a few less times, I’d maybe have kept him. Or maybe if I just had a smaller ego. I was so excited for him to see it and when he did, he had all the excitement of celery. Envisioning what the next two weeks would be like, I saw only a nightmare.

    This is one of those decisions I’ll be second guessing for a while. Maybe I just gave up a client that would have secured my freelance life for months to come. But maybe that’s why I’m a freelancer to begin with, so I can have the freedom to make such choices and then not sleep for two nights because I’ve eaten all my fingernails and some are stuck in my throat.

    As for you, Naomi, keep pissing people off. Rock the boat. Rock it hard and let the people who can’t hang on fall out.

  22. James Chartrand - JCM Enterprises
    November 11, 2007 at 8:20 am (8 years ago)

    @ Naomi – I wish you had “subscribe to comments” so that I didn’t have to actively mark your blog, write down “go check out comments” on my to-do list and skew your stats by repeated visits just to read what everyone else had to say.

    @ Charlie – while it sucks to have someone say, “I hate your work,” if you want to freelance successfully, learn to receive criticism gracefully. Both graphic design and writing is very subjective to individual perception, and not everyone will like what you consider your best work. That doesn’t mean they don’t like your work; they just don’t like that particular piece.

    Of course, freelancers do have the benefit of picking and choosing clients. That’s a bonus perk. You don’t have to deal with jerks, asses and the insane. But you do have to recognize that everyone has their own opinion, they won’t always agree with you – and that’s okay. That doesn’t immediately label them as problem clients.

    Take a deep breath, suck back the fear of your work being judged, examined and criticized, and grab something positive from the experience. Ask the client, “Okay, so what *do* you like about it? Are there elements you feel really work for you? What would you like to see?”

  23. Aruni
    November 11, 2007 at 9:51 am (8 years ago)

    Hi Naomi – I’m not sure if you’ve already done a post on this or not but I would be interested in knowing more about your surrogating experience.

    I agree James Chartrand that I wish you had ‘subscribe to comments” enabled. I would not have known you replied if you had not emailed me. :-)

  24. Lindsay
    November 11, 2007 at 10:40 am (8 years ago)

    I’m Afraid…

    Afraid, you will stop writing this great stuff.
    If I thought all it took was a couple of gutless emails to stimulate post like this, I would start anonymously sending them to myself.

  25. shane
    November 11, 2007 at 12:32 pm (8 years ago)

    @Charlie – I’m going to second James with another link from Leo, I think its one of his better articles: How to accept criticism with grace and appreciation. Getting that kind of feedback is part of running a business. After all – in the end – its his design not yours. That is not to say that we must tolerate abuse. We have dumped one client in the past who was completely unsatisfiable (1.5 months and 19 comps on fixed rate – time to cut the cord). So I’m with you.

    @Lindsey, actually all you need to do it start with some cock and balls jokes.

  26. bill
    November 11, 2007 at 1:32 pm (8 years ago)

    I disagree with the quote about fear, but not a lot, because I get the point. Personally, I like the Bene Gesserit take on it, which I admit I had to look up in Widipedia to get the whole thing:

    “I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing.Only I will remain.”

  27. bill
    November 11, 2007 at 1:38 pm (8 years ago)

    ..and though I’m not a business-person (my ideas for businesses usually are superficial, whimsical, and discarded quickly because they would take Actual Effort, and on My Part), yet, I do like Lindsay’s casual mention of a service that would occasionally send you anonymous, gutless emails. I can see a business that does that — choose A) congratulatory, b) congratulatory with a hint of sarcasm, c) sarcastic — but you have it sent it to other people who you’d like to give ego boosts to, but you don’t actually have the time to go and do it yourself.

    And yeah, I know its Wikipedia, not Widipedia. That was, um, a neurological quirk. Or something.

  28. Harrison McLeod - JCM Enterprises
    November 11, 2007 at 3:01 pm (8 years ago)

    The American half of JCME here. Most of the time when James asks if a subject has the potential for starting a brush fire bigger than what happened in California, I steer him away from it because, well, yeah, I’m afraid of it. We’re still relatively new to the scene and the last thing I want to do is make waves. Hell, I’m the type of guy I don’t like making waves anywhere. But I’m learning how to surf the tsunamis and keep my head above water. Once you do it and face it, it’s not so scary anymore and you realize you’re not going to lose your readership. You’re certainly not going to offend me.

    And your comment about your son made me chuckle. Good luck with that, I understand completely.

  29. Rose
    November 11, 2007 at 3:03 pm (8 years ago)

    Naomi,
    You are so real. Your blog is such a fun read because you are so real. Not only do you give out great info, but your blog is written by in real speak, not by a sterile geek written in techno babble. You are a font of great info and a really fun read.
    I consider any day that I can royally piss someone off a good day! ;)
    (evil grin) That’s how they pay attention!
    Rose

  30. Naomi Dunford
    November 11, 2007 at 4:32 pm (8 years ago)

    @ Charlie, James Chartrand, and Shane:

    Normally, I’m with James and Shane on this but in this particular case, I’m with Charlie. Sometimes it’s just a gig. Sometimes it’s no big deal.

    But sometimes you just know it isn’t going to work, and I think backing out and saying so is one of the best ways to handle the situation with grace. I have had many situations like this one, and I think the best thing to do is back away and cut your losses.

    I’m guessing Charlie didn’t go on a big, fat rampage and act like an ass. I’m guessing he just said something like “This isn’t going to work.” But I’m very impressed that he did so.

    That takes a lot of self-awareness and guts.

  31. Naomi Dunford
    November 11, 2007 at 5:18 pm (8 years ago)

    @ Jarkko – Thank you – that was a very nice thing to hear, especially from someone whose blog I love as much as yours.

    @ Lindsay – I can send you nasty emails if you like? Anytime you need some snark, I’m your gal. We can start with your puns.

    @ Bill – I think you’re on to something there. That’s worth coming out of retirement for. It’s like that service you use to tell people things you don’t actually want to say – like an anonymous note to your coworker telling them they smell.

    @ Harrison – Nice to meet you, other half! It’s definitely a difficult decision to make and is not to be made before you’re not ready. No reason to spend sleepless nights terrified you’re offending someone. Great job on your blog, by the way.

    @ Rose – Hi! Thanks for coming. You can piss me off or offend me any day you like.

    Thanks for all your Diggs and Stumbles, people. Very much appreciated.

  32. John Clark
    November 11, 2007 at 5:24 pm (8 years ago)

    Getting out there in spite of the fear is very challenging for most people, but people will make a lot of excuses instead of stretching beyond their fears.

    For most it’s easier to sit back and talk about how bad business is, rather than work past the obstacles (fears) that will bring in huge rewards.

    But in the long run, these people become bitter and jealous of those who do get out there and get it done.

    It’s sad that this happens.

    Here’s to Your LifetoSuccess,

    John Clark
    http://www.lifetosuccess.com

  33. Shycon Web Design
    November 11, 2007 at 7:23 pm (8 years ago)

    This if the first time I came across your blog, but I like it! When you run a business, fear seems to show its ugly head to try and delay every action you do. You just gotta learn to trust your gut over time, and realize that potential success weighs the fear of anything.

    -Bar

  34. Aaron
    November 11, 2007 at 7:59 pm (8 years ago)

    Great post! I have heard many interviews and podcasts about how entrepreneurs are fearless but that is so not true. You always have your fears(if you are sane! but more sane thing to do will be to overcome them and you have nailed that part very precisely.

    Keep it up(and real ;)!!

  35. Kira
    November 11, 2007 at 8:07 pm (8 years ago)

    Just wanted to say that I love your writing style and I’ll definitely be back for more. I’m also terrified of everything, including failure and success. Wish you would let me know where one goes to get these “balls” that all of the cocky people are hoarding. :-)

  36. mrB
    November 11, 2007 at 8:11 pm (8 years ago)

    don’t want to hurt feelings but that was kind of pretentious… also you should provide spell check on the comments form… also to the first commentator maybe if you spent less time reasing BLOGS and actually looking at JOBS you would have more luck? FFS

    -ITX

  37. BuZ
    November 11, 2007 at 9:07 pm (8 years ago)

    Hey Mormons don’t hate. ur son will love you more because of it.

  38. gordon
    November 11, 2007 at 9:08 pm (8 years ago)

    i’m in that oh shit faze. a big part of my product doesn’t work and it is rather stressful but in the end it is 100% worth it.

    http://www.buythatlocally.com

  39. Funny Pixelton
    November 11, 2007 at 9:12 pm (8 years ago)

    My hat is off to you. :D

    I’ve been writing a novel that revolves around this very idea. It seems like the more school and years of “insight” the more these folks have, the more they are really trained to hug fear tighter. But failure is a wonderful part of life! It shows us how to do better. Every great accomplishment is built from a thousand painful failures, so to be afraid is to deny yourself the ability to grow beyond your current place in life.

    Be afraid – then stare face and try again. That is success.

    I think I’m going to meme your post on my own blog and list some real personal fears. Thanks again.

    -Josh
    http://www.welcometopixelton.com

  40. Tony Payne
    November 11, 2007 at 9:27 pm (8 years ago)

    Excellent post and blog! I wasn’t offended, and I’m a Republican. I even “sphinned” the article and posted it on my Faceboook profile. Thanks for the insights and balls.

  41. jon
    November 11, 2007 at 10:26 pm (8 years ago)

    My biggest fear is working hard on something and then having it all be for naught.

    I feel like my time was wasted or, worse, stolen if it involved another person. This holds me back in business and in relationships. I don’t want to spend money and time on a business that is going to be flat and/or go down. And I don’t want to spend time and hope on a relationship that goes nowhere.

    Wanting to have sure success prior to starting is a big impediment to starting!

    The key thing that I’ve tried to implement to mitigate these costs is to cut my losses early. Sometimes I might have cut too quickly, but I just don’t want to waste time/money/hope. How do you know if you are cutting things off too early? Seth Godin talks about this in his book The Dip.

    I think hope/enthusiasm/optimism can be depleted just like money. If that happens, then you have to spend more time and energy building it back up to try again. After awhile you get tired of this – just like going broke over and over again is tiring. So a guy gets protective of his hope.

    I fear that: “starting over AGAIN…. **SIIIIGH**” feeling.

    How many others reading this feel fear of spending time on something (like a diet, or a business, or a relationship) and having it not work out? It keeps me from starting alot.

    What do you do about it?

  42. Jason Hill
    November 11, 2007 at 10:53 pm (8 years ago)

    Thanks for your wonderful article. I really enjoyed reading it. I, too, am trying to branch out and find a career that doesn’t involve “The Man.” Your take on fear was very insightful. I have to come to grip with my fears, but I should never try to hide that I have them.

    For that I will subscribe to your blog. :D

  43. Dave Navarro
    November 11, 2007 at 11:07 pm (8 years ago)

    Naomi –

    Stay brave. You rock.

  44. Mike
    November 11, 2007 at 11:32 pm (8 years ago)

    You have misspelled Tim Ferriss’s name.

  45. Jeff
    November 12, 2007 at 12:53 am (8 years ago)

    Naomi,

    This was a great article, but I must tell you that you can take one of those fears off your list. Your oldest son staying a mormon and serving a mission would be the best thing he could do. I know the religion may seem strange and different but it teaches great things. I served a two year mission in Mexico and it was the greatest thing I have done until now. I learned that there is more to this life than myself and that’s the greatest lesson I could learn.

    Thanks,

    P.S. He won’t be brainwashed to hate you, he’ll learn to love you with all his heart.

  46. Jonathan
    November 12, 2007 at 2:35 am (8 years ago)

    Wow this really spoke to me. I am going into the Entrepreneurship realm myself and I am absolutely terrified! I thought I knew what the root of my problem was until I read this. I am not afraid of failing as a business person at all! Great Read! Loved it!

  47. Charlie
    November 12, 2007 at 3:25 am (8 years ago)

    Thanks James Chartrand, Shane & Naomi. I really appreciate the dialogue we’ve started. I also really appreciate the links you sent. Read them and enjoyed.

    Truth of the matter is, there was no criticism for me to take. It was a total nothingness. I love criticism, within reason of course. We can only play pinata so long, eh? I hope I deal with it well too because I know (1) it makes me better at what I do and (2) it gets us one step closer to a project that is what the client wants. Well, yeah, and then there’s the paycheck at project completion.

    I wish this guy had given me some criticism. It was just hollow and made me feel hollow.

    Thanks all! Appreciate the talk and the help.

  48. Carla
    November 12, 2007 at 11:50 am (8 years ago)

    Naomi,

    Great post!

    I used to care more what people thought. Now I tell myself . . . “Who the hell cares?”

    Seriously.

    If someone criticizes you and tears you down, they’ve done you a favor. They’ve identified themselves as a energy-sucker that you really don’t need in your life.

    Of course, I’m not talking about the people who give you honest feedback. Those people care about you and are invested in your success.

    I’m talking about the people who would rather see you fail because if you are successful, that would require more of them. They would have to live up to their potential as well.

    There are two types of people in the world, talkers and doers. And the talkers are always criticizing the doers and trying to keep them from “doing.”

  49. Arianne d'Esign
    November 12, 2007 at 1:00 pm (8 years ago)

    Great post!!!

    I’m 26 and run my own company. I’m scared sh*tless 6 out of 7 days a week. It’s not a huge company, it only has 3 employees (me, myself and I) I find that the fear is what started and keeps me going. I use to work 40hr a week with benefits (I live in mass so it was a big deal) and a 5 min commute. But there was no “fear” or passion driving me to do better. I’m a freelancer and I emphases the “free”. I’m glade a gave up the safety net and don’t miss it at all :)

    “Fear is the mind killer” :D

  50. marenda
    November 12, 2007 at 6:22 pm (8 years ago)

    Awesome post we cannot let our fears stop us :)
    F.E.A.R.=False Expectations Appearing Real

    Best Wishes Always,
    Marenda

  51. James Chartrand - JCM Enterprises
    November 12, 2007 at 6:50 pm (8 years ago)

    Man… Naomi, you’re the comment Queen.

    Not only that, thanks to you and your brilliant ideas about no fear of posting real (damn you, woman!), Harry and I had an hour-long conversation today about our own take on what’s acceptable to write. Fodder for the blog posts!

    @ Charlie – you’re welcome. And I understand fully the “no criticism” thing. That just baffles me to no end and I agree with one thing – clients sometimes give off a bad feeling in the gut you just can’t ignore.

  52. Shannon
    November 12, 2007 at 7:03 pm (8 years ago)

    Naomi sez:
    I got sick of figuring out whether I was supposed to put on the “soft-spoken adult” hat or the “respectful” hat or the “be myself” hat, whichever hat that is.

    ===============================
    Amen, sister. I am so with you on that one!

  53. Jarkko Laine
    November 13, 2007 at 9:00 am (8 years ago)

    Naomi, now I’m finally scared too :)

    For a few days I was scared that I’m not scared enough – that I’m sticking too much in my comfort zone, just doing blog posts every few days – blog posts without much of edge.

    Well, following your example I decided to put some more of myself in the posts and wrote a post about company sizes, and how I think small is better… And of course it made me scared of what my bosses in my current job will think of me now.

    But to be honest, I feel that I’m scared in a good way. Because now I’m putting myself out there, being honest about what I think, and scared but not controlled by what I fear others will think. :)

    Thanks again for the inspiration!

  54. Jamie
    November 14, 2007 at 11:10 pm (8 years ago)

    Wow, this one got a lot of comments, so I’m going to chime in with my 2 cents…

    @John Clark: I know exactly what you mean, I have until very recently been an excuses kind of guy. Being married to Naomi has helped me get over that because she doesn’t let me get away with that kind of crap, but it has been a challenge. It’s so easy to dream up all of these reasons why you won’t succeed, but man is that ever a soul killer.

    @Bar- Thanks for stoppng by! I agree you need to trust your gut, but how do you learn to do that? I guess it’s something you just have to do and after enough positive experiences one learns to trust one’s instincts.

    @Aaron and Kira: You’re right- there may be a few truly fearless people out there, but I think usually it is just an image they project; most resonable people do have fears. Kira- if you find out you have to let me know :)

    @Josh: Oh boy. I worked for a major bank here in Canada for 6 years. After about 2 years I wanted to quit, but I was too scared so I kept going. And like you mentioned, the longer I kept going the more it seemed I had invested in this job and more afraid I was to leave :) I finally got out of there but those are 4 years I’m not going to get back. But I certainly learned from it.

    @Tony- Talk about facing fear, imagine admitting on a public blog that you are a Republican! :) All joking aside, thanks very much for stopping by and for your spport.

    @Jon: Dude, totally! (I’m 32 years old and I can believe I still say “dude”.) I have this really bad habit of not making decisions because I beleive that the options I am choosing between are not absolutely perfect and therefore will not work and therefore will end up being a complete waste of time. Needless to say this drives Naomi nuts. I am learning to let go of this fear but it takes a while.

    @Arianne: I still am amazed by sentences like “I’m 26 and I run my own company.” Good for you, you are exactly right that fear and passion are really useful for determining if you are on the right career path.

    @Marenda: I think you hit on something important here. We often feel that our fears are based on what other people will think of us, but in reality the expectations we ascribe to others don’t exist. Naomi mentioned that she is afraid Michael will drift away from her because of his religious beliefs, but in reality how many of us base who we care about solely on our religious choices? That’s the funny thing about fear, it’s not always rational.

    @Jarkko: Good for you! I know this sounds incredibly naive but I really believe that honesty will not come back to haunt you. If your bosses beleive that you are not the person for the job becasue of your beleifs then this may be useful information to have. I understand this doesn’t really help if you wind up getting fired but it might be of some solace :)

  55. michele morgan
    November 15, 2007 at 12:35 am (8 years ago)

    Hey Naomi,

    I read this at a very poignant time as I’m stressing over my move back to the home. Going virtual is a great idea but I’ve still got the mess to clean up in the garage and I’ve feared I’ve made a mistake coming back home. Another few weeks and I’ll be back to norm if I have a norm. I’m fearful this will be my norm!
    And, I also say what I think entirely too much! And, I fear that people really won’t like me and then I fear that I don’t care enough about what they think of me. Try that one on!

    Michele

  56. Jarkko Laine
    November 16, 2007 at 1:03 pm (8 years ago)

    Jamie, thanks for your support! You definitely have a good point there. But I’d still like to keep my job for now (no one has come back to haunt me yet, so maybe they don’t care about what I say online… :)

  57. @Stephen | Productivity in Context
    December 15, 2007 at 10:05 pm (8 years ago)

    Courage means being scared but doing your f***ing job anyway.
    Courage means doing the right thing when everyone else is cheating.
    Courage means winning even when it makes someone else look like a chump.
    Courage means not sleeping with the Hostess from Wild Wing Cafe even when your girlfriend will never find out.
    Courage means standing up to the Man and telling him that he can cut costs or improve service – but not both at the same time.

    Great post, I need to Gape this blog before things get out of hand.

  58. Syd
    December 27, 2007 at 12:53 pm (8 years ago)

    Thats a lovely post. I have been trying all my life to overcome fear in such a way that I don’t feel afraid of anything. I tried to become fearless about everything and needless to say, I have till now not succeeded at this. I now realize my mistake.

    Fear is not something you can completely overcome or avoid. Instead it is better to look for ways to handle fear and still take action. From now on my focus would hopefully not be on how I can minimize my fear about something but on how I can take the required action inspite of feeling fearful. Interestingly, if we focus on taking action inspite of our fear, our fears are likely to diminish away much faster.

  59. Usman Sheikh
    January 5, 2008 at 7:20 am (8 years ago)

    Fear is just fantasized experiences appearing real. Our imagination is the key to breaking down the barriers which hold us back from achieving our goals in life. It is essential that we identify where our fears stem from and then replace them with their opposite negatives to break them down slowly.

    Either way, if you want to achieve greatness in life you are going to have to take this leaps of faith and along the way you will learn how to deal with and overcome your deepest fears.

    http://www.usmansheikh.com

  60. RAUL
    January 19, 2008 at 1:26 pm (8 years ago)

    WHY WHEN YOU THINK SOMETHING IN THE NIGHT YOU GET SCARE
    AND I’VEN WHEN YOU ARE IN THE BATHROOM YOU DON’T WANT TO GET A SHAWOR BECAUSE YOU ARE SCARE OF SOMETHING SCARY

  61. Philip
    February 4, 2008 at 12:04 pm (8 years ago)

    I have been a brave man, I have taken risks, I have stuck my neck out, I have swam with the sharks, I have massive amounts to give I reach out constantly to others in hopes of making a lasting connection so I feel less alone in the world. I believe every person should want to spend time with me.

    I have suffered huge abandonment and rejection mainly from people’s fear… I am resilient

    Sure my s*** stinks I constantly experience the stench of other peoples s*** and honestly? it smells a lot worse than mine! People do not want to hold a mirror to their asses, look closely at their s*** realize it stinks terrible and start taking responsibility for the things they say and do and the things they don’t say or do. If people actually gave a s*** whilst taking a s*** then f’kin hey there would be a lot more love in the world. It is easy to blame and criticize others before doing so to yourself. Me personally? I don’t know whether I am blaming other people or it is the fact that I just think people SUCK.

    People are very afraid, people hide from each other, people with-hold and people are both consciously and unconsciously selfish. It is peoples ego’s that constantly get in the way and it is the ego that creates the bullshit. I am convinced that people really get off on being difficult, nothing is difficult, people more often want to talk about the problem, they rarely want to immediately deal with the solution, people love to see someone fail and resent someone for succeeding because that forces them to look at their own success. People love to create the drama in life, Everyone wants to be in control, Adults are just children, most of them spoiled.

    I already know you can be an a**hole or a lying f*** so let’s not pretend, sure, you can be a nice guy/gal too when you want to be. People convince themselves and try to be accepted as ‘good’ or ‘nice’ people or ‘happy’ and ‘fun’ sure you can be those things. I know you can also a complete twat or a difficult sly manipulative shit or that you can be a real miserable bitch. I would rather you admit to that because that makes you a more real person.We are NEVER just one thing such as ‘happy’ or ‘nice’ the sooner people accept this then hey… Me myself? I am funny, I am a ball of love, I am a a nasty bitch, I am a supportive man, I understand a lot, I am sad, I am angry, I am anxious I am many things, I am not just a ‘good’ or ‘nice’ person….get it?

    I never lie or make excuses, making excuses is weak and pathetic nothing disgusts me more than someone who cannot step up to the plate or deliver and just tell the truth. I demand the truth, I can handle it, and you can save me a lot of energy, time and feelings. I am proud that I speak truthfully and honestly in every aspect of my life, I feel no need to hide or censor myself because I do not want people to see something perceived as negative or inappropriate simply because I am afraid I may lose my job, get dumped by a lover, or jeopardize a friendship. Holding my feelings inside makes me miserable, letting it out is the answer, I understand that what I may say may hurt someone or offend someone, that is not my problem or issue. If what I do or say upsets you then hey….tell me that and we can work it out! build something together as two people in a relationship whether that is work, love or friendship. Let’s find out what we enjoy, do not enjoy, what hurts us, what makes us happy etc. People will silently judge you and walk away, instead of actually caring enough and bringing something to your attention whether you completely disgusted or inspired them or not, we can all work together we can all change if we start to communicate our minds and feelings.

    People do not communicate productively or efficiently, again people hide from each other.

    Nothing in life is personal, who has the right or power to decide what is appropriate and what isn’t? what is right and what is wrong? what is good or what is bad? they are just views or opinions. I mean just one example is having unprotected sex, this would be a threat to your health but it is not wrong or right? I am one of those people who never feel the need to be right or wrong in a situation, that is about the ego and control.

    I see many people complain about the way things are but are happy in that state because if it was really something that made you unhappy then you would do something about it, get off your ass and go make a difference.

    People rarely communicate exactly how they feel, because of judgement and rejection or there is money at stake, and the things people sacrifice for money….that is a whole other subject MONEY! people will sell their soul for money.

    The majority of people have failed to respect, appreciate or even notice the huge amount I have to give and what I have to contribute. I am NOT disposable, I will not tolerate the disrespect or inconsideration from others. I would NOT treat you that way, why do you think it’s ok to treat me that way? My nature and confidence has made it very easy for people to attack and attempt to cut my head off, walk away or abandon me- instead of taking the challenge I have preseted them with and giving themselves an opportunity to learn, grow, giveback, listen,share and change.

  62. ebele
    February 26, 2008 at 7:57 pm (8 years ago)

    Thanks for this. This is definitely one to bookmark.

  63. jrandom42
    May 12, 2008 at 4:40 pm (8 years ago)

    Haven’t been scared of much since jumping out of an airplane, seeing proof of people shooting up at me with murderous intent, finding they killed 3 of my buddies and left me alive.

    All I can say is, “I’ve seen life and I’ve seen death. This doesn’t even come close to either of them, so let’s get to work and fix it”

  64. Flora Morris Brown, Ph.D.
    May 12, 2008 at 4:57 pm (8 years ago)

    Hi Naomi,

    I only recently discovered your blog, and boy! am I glad I did.

    Your writing is captivating, clever, irreverent, honest, and thus enjoyable.

    I even love the illustration for this post. Will you share the origin?

    Keep up the great blogging.

  65. Naomi Dunford
    May 12, 2008 at 5:04 pm (8 years ago)

    Hi Flora,

    Thank you!! The picture came from Getty Images, from back when I had a subscription. You can probably buy per image at prices similar to those at iStock.

    ND

  66. Randie
    June 30, 2008 at 4:03 am (8 years ago)

    A friend sent me this quote. Seemed appropriate to share it here …

    “In times of trouble, don’t wait for the storm to pass. Learn to dance in the rain.”

  67. G.E
    August 22, 2008 at 6:22 pm (8 years ago)

    “Live with fear, do your thing anyway”

    I really enjoyed this page … Thanks for the free advice and that quote has gone onto a sticky note :)

  68. Lvinmt
    August 29, 2008 at 2:52 am (8 years ago)

    Sometimes you just have to saddle up, even when your scared to death!

    John Wayne

  69. Maren
    October 12, 2008 at 9:19 am (8 years ago)

    This is so full of win. Really useful stuff. Thanks!

  70. idris
    October 27, 2008 at 12:37 am (8 years ago)

    Naomi,

    Keeping it real is the only way to go. You get “Street Creds” in my book. I think there is a lot to be said for someone that simply tells it like it is.

    Regards,

    Idris

  71. Jas'n R. Rainbow
    November 1, 2008 at 10:23 am (8 years ago)

    Catching A Wave (1)

    Breaking away from normalcy
    And that hard sought after individualism
    Floating away into some empty space
    Away from our formal call to moral duty
    and our fragile desire for civil disobedience

    Taking leave of our social senses
    Vacating tomorrow and yesterday
    for a moment allowing ourselves
    To be drawn like moths away from a flame
    And more toward the watch-tower light

    Hanging Ten with twenty or thirty
    Other-life time companions
    Breaking free of the present and the past
    And somehow sharing a gift of clarity
    By becoming that moment of change

    We shall
    All be free
    To carry on

    Jas’n Rainbow(thank you for your presence)

  72. Teri
    November 3, 2008 at 4:06 pm (8 years ago)

    Just related WAY too much to this post! I too have lived most of my life in fear! Rejected by my own family and pregnant at 19 – then married by 20 and too afraid to leave it – now 40 and successful Real Estate Agent in BC and still not comfortable labelling myself as an expert! (There’s always more to learn and someone who’s WAY better at pretending to know). AND was brought up Mormon and have been deprogramming for YEARS! So to be clear – I am not Cocky – but I believe I have balls!
    Cheers!

  73. Burnman
    November 9, 2008 at 7:03 pm (7 years ago)

    Excellent read and excellent advice. I think I’ll subscribe and see what else you throw at me. Take care!

  74. Johnny Truant
    November 26, 2008 at 11:07 pm (7 years ago)

    You’re never going to notice this #122 comment, but I’m going to leave it anyway.

    I just read Havi’s posts on fear, then came over here because I’m a glutton for fear-related punishment. Happened to see the cocky/balls post first, so read it first. Thought it was beyond awesome. Wondered why you wrote “f*ck” instead of just “fuck.”

    Then read this one, clicked the link to see what post made everyone so angry.

    What the hell, man? If that post offends you, then good luck in life. There was nothing offensive there. Some people are cocky. Some are cocky but call it “confident” or “poised.” And some are douchebag wimps.

    I know you wouldn’t, but don’t let the riffraff cause you to self-censor. What you’re writing is too great.

  75. Robyn McIntyre
    January 5, 2009 at 11:35 pm (7 years ago)

    Thanks; I needed this post. I’ve been writing my heart on my sleeve for several months and I’m lucky to get one or two comments, let alone start a controversy. Your post reminded me that gathering comments wasn’t why I started it in the first place.

    Yeah, I’m scared of many things in life right now, and because of those fears, I have developed another: fear of being swallowed whole by life without anyone noticing.

    Thanks for reminding me that feisty can be beautiful.

  76. Jeffrey B.
    February 23, 2009 at 1:21 pm (7 years ago)

    Boy, you’re really hitting the nail on the head for me. I’ve been self employed for the last 7 years in a home based business. The independence from working from home is truly amazing. I feel totally blessed not to have to report to and be accountable to the man every day.

    I’ve had to deal with a lot of the fear that you’re talking about.

    Once I did reach this pinnacle of entrepreneurship, I felt so relieved of having finally arrived, that all these fears started coming into my mind including the big one; what if this doesn’t workout and I have to start working for someone else again? It’s a horrible and miserable thought. I’ve learned to replace it with thoughts of productivity and abundance and I believe that keeps me in sync with the powers of the universe that have been there to assist me since I originally took this plunge of faith in the first place.

    Thanks again for your enlightenment. It’s reassuring to hear I’m not the only one!

  77. frootbat31
    March 5, 2009 at 2:34 pm (7 years ago)

    Pissing people off? That’s brilliant marketing! It means you’ve hit a nerve in so many people. Good for you!
    I’m bookmarking this entry to read and reread to help inspire me. Can I be you when I grow up?

  78. Jon P
    April 16, 2009 at 10:50 pm (7 years ago)

    Hi Naomi,

    The funny thing for me is that many of my fears seem to be the reverse of those of most rational people. Many of them fear change. I fear things getting too stagnant or predictable—because I know I do my worst, most predictable work when I’m too comfortable.

    I have worked for myself 9 years now, which is the longest job I’ve ever had. My wife likes that the income is getting somewhat predictable, but I’m starting to get a little edgy about knowing where too many of the next paychecks are coming from. Yikes, I’m going to have to throw a few new challenges into the mix this year. But I seriously doubt that one of them will be working 9-5 in an office.

  79. Matt Huggins
    April 19, 2009 at 9:09 pm (7 years ago)

    I’m scared shitless.

    I work at a firm that paid us 1/3 of what we are supposed to get in March. That was March 31st and we haven’t seen a dime since. I’m married w/ 4 kids. Luckily, I’m able to do web/graphic design as a side business and have a few clients right now. I’m scared most about getting all of my bills caught up and keeping food on the table.

    I know I can do it. I’ve done it before and have some promising work to do. I think the fear is keeping me from moving. I need to embrace it and look at the positive side of this. This is a great opportunity to reestablish myself and begin blogging more.

    It’s just that fear. The fear is getting in my way. I appreciate your blog and everything you say. You are helping me out RIGHT NOW.

  80. pearlin
    May 8, 2009 at 2:04 am (7 years ago)

    hi naomi,

    i came across your blog on copyblogger & think that it’s great! i like your sense of humour & the fact that you are so real…:)

  81. Lydia, CluelessCrafter
    August 17, 2009 at 1:43 pm (7 years ago)

    I guess I’m one lucky woman. Yes, I do get sidelined (ok, down right mad) with thoughts of failure, but because of a unique (read: my parents were VERY active feminists) childhood I was blessed to be relegated as the “other” from the get go. Basically, my personal, intellectual and emotional growth is rooted on the very premise of fear.

    If I can share one thing I’ve learned it would be this: NEVER, never take yourself too seriously. You’re a mixed bag. Dump out all the contents and let others interpret what they will.

    Suppose this is why I write a blog on crafting, a topic I’m rather unskilled at. . .

  82. michael
    August 27, 2009 at 8:22 am (7 years ago)

    This is so true I am a musician and an entrepreneur I am scared shitless everyday of my life and never felt better. You have to take the good with the bad, I am going through some heavy shit right but what I do know is the end date so it will not last longer than that and then a new road is ahead again, you have the best blog I have ever read and will continue.

  83. Constantin
    August 29, 2009 at 10:37 am (7 years ago)

    Since fear brings boldness into existence I guess we should enjoy fear. when we feel fear we can only go up towards courage and greatness!
    I really like your post! My life revolves around enjoying and overcoming fear.
    Cheers!

  84. Sarah Bush
    September 12, 2009 at 1:09 pm (7 years ago)

    Hi Naomi,
    So I’m a recent itty biz participant and realized I wasn’t subscribed to the blog, so I came here to do that and then of course had to read “What to do when your Scared Shitless” because I’ve been scared shitless all week, especially throughout Wednesday’s call about hiring VAs etc. Somehow the reality of what I needed to do to make money/make my thing work became crystal clear to me during that phone call and I freaked.
    I’m going to follow your advice and make a very specific list of what I’m scared of (thank you for modeling yours here), as just reading your list made me feel better and it isn’t even my list. !

  85. Linda Hayles
    September 19, 2009 at 11:21 pm (7 years ago)

    AWESOME! I read your blog and thought I was reading about me. I got pregnant at 17 and the rest of what you said… Was said to me… I decided to do the shit that scared me and guess what??? I’m loving life beyond belief!

    I ABSOLUTELY LOVED THIS BLOG!!!!

    I DIGG IT! :)

    Keep doing what you do. It’s great! And thanks for sharing!

  86. Dave Doolin | Website In A Weekend
    October 2, 2009 at 2:47 pm (7 years ago)

    “I’m afraid if I rest, I will fail.”

    That is me. Totally. If I only knew exactly what to work on… then I wouldn’t have to work so hard!

    Thanks for keeping the comments open. Reading this really helped me.

  87. Robert
    November 4, 2009 at 10:26 pm (6 years ago)

    I think fear is simply a basic defense system that runs on autopilot. It’s hard coded into our genes. If you look around and notice that you aren’t going to be eaten, crushed, or drowned, it’s probably best not to stress about it so much.

  88. Briana M.
    November 16, 2009 at 8:16 pm (6 years ago)

    Hello Naomi,

    Thank you SO much for your writing! I’ve had my own business only part-time while maintaining a day job, and am gearing up for making the leap into full freelance mode within the next year. My husband and I are also moving to another state for a fresh start and new opportunities, and hopefully, the both of us will be ‘day job free’ soon.

    We have strange fears but also a big dose of excitement and hope. It’s very easy to be distracted by the fears and let them color the good things grey. Your words are inspiring and help me remember that, while there are some who won’t appreciate everything I do, at least I’m being bold and honest and living my dreams the best I can.

    Keep up the good work!

  89. Dawn Kotzer
    November 26, 2009 at 3:24 pm (6 years ago)

    Hello Naomi
    Someone I turned onto your site tuned me onto this post…neat.
    ‘Fearfully’ busy trying to get an decent website launched…soon…soon. (Just have to find my fun-fear blankie…)
    I am so glad you decided to set the elephant free.
    It’s refreshing to hear someone stand up for themself, fear and all…so many people feel the need to ease, to squeeze past the fear, hoping it will go away, they shove it to the back of the bus…guess what? someone back there has a damn good aim. WHAP! you get hit in the head again, and again and again until you park your butt beside Fear and say…”What gives? Just what do you want? Oh, it’s what do I want.”
    I’m a Martha Beck life coach living in the ‘country’ okay…beyond country…the bush…Isolation? oh ya…but I’m smart, savvy, tough, candid and aware of the benefits of fear…(courage and resourcefulness, a twisted sense of humour,etc)…Out of fear of launching a site into the ‘Web-unknown’I found your site, right? I rest my case.

    hope you’re having a blast, fear and all.

  90. Brian Hill
    December 10, 2009 at 9:14 am (6 years ago)

    Hey Naomi-

    I came by looking for your SEO book and ran across this post. Many thanks! My business partner and I just went live with our website 2 days ago. 40 hours ago to be exact.(Pause) But who’s keeping track. Anyway, I fully expected the servers to go down once we started informing people of our little endeavor. HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA! “Expected” is the key word in the previous statement. It’s funny. I know that I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be but when I start thinking about rent next month…wow. So thanks for your transparency and sharing. It helped.

    B. Hill

  91. Andy P.
    December 12, 2009 at 2:42 pm (6 years ago)

    Hi Naomi

    Just found your site today… and tumbled onto this post.

    I left a high-paying job 4 years ago. As an independent consultant now, my income has never really gotten back to where it was when I left. Over those years, I’ve had lots of fear!

    But during those slow times, I’ve also been given the opportunity to release so much old sh#t that the net effect is I can now see the fears for what they were… pre-programmed limitations I’d placed on myself. As I realize that I am more than that collection of fears I grow in confidence everyday. And with it, so does my business.

    So yes, we have fears – just keep asking why you’re having that fear and what is the lesson that the universe is trying to teach you.

  92. Tracey
    January 13, 2010 at 10:47 pm (6 years ago)

    Just when I need some inspiration and advice, I stumble upon this blog post and wow! I got it! :D Now I just gotta make that leap… The Fear is terrifying but then again the thought of not doing anything is scary enough.

  93. JudyA
    January 22, 2010 at 6:10 pm (6 years ago)

    The point is excellent. We have to get beyond the spooks and learn to be real.

    Your writing is funny, impertinent and successful because it is unique. If we all wrote that way, it would be a pool of smut.

    Someone who doesn’t write with such ‘candor’ isn’t necessarily being false or chicken. They’ve figured out a different way to get their point across.

  94. Gordon Mullan
    February 1, 2010 at 1:13 pm (6 years ago)

    Damn, I *love* your approach!

    Seeing as my whole shctick is about putting your Personality into your Marketing, and adore other businesses that take a similarly “if you love me great, if you don’t then sod off” attitude, I unsurprisingly love your blog.

    Anyway, that particular piece of genuinely meant sucking up :-) wasn’t why I wanted to comment. It’s to offer an alternative answer to “What to do when you’re scared shitless”.

    The answer?

    Let go.

    Let go of the unwanted emotion or feeling…let it pass through…and discover that fear (and anger, grief, anxiety, etc.) can “go away” permanently.

    I’m not talking about supressing it, or ignoring it. I’m not talking about ‘positive thinking’. It’s simpler than that – *much* simpler.

    How?

    With this: http://www.sedonacoaching.co.uk/

    Read and enjoy.

  95. Rosie
    February 24, 2010 at 10:18 pm (6 years ago)

    Thanks for your honesty Naomi, especially since one of my good ones is identical word for word with one of yours. You helped me laugh at my own fears.

  96. Michel Desrocher
    March 24, 2010 at 3:37 am (6 years ago)

    From time to time it will require a person to place the words before you before you recognize that everybody need to receive a lot more care.

  97. Gayle
    April 8, 2010 at 12:39 pm (6 years ago)

    This is the first post I read at this blog (last night on phone!) and I loved it. Hooked. Bookmarked. So amazing to see site on real PC–great design. I loved the post, by the way. I have the Fatal Illness fear too, not helped by living in a developing country surrounded by fatal illnesses warnings. Learned that you have to get out and face it, though, stare it in the face and say fuck it, I’ll do it anyway. Is it ok to swear?

    Hope so. I have IBS and was so scared of first coming to Ghana to volunteer where I couldn’t control the situations. If they told me there are virtually no public toilets I would never have come. I’m glad no one told me. I faced my fear of traveling long distances hundreds of times in the last few years and, guess what, you learn to make peace. It’s funny when you look back and see yourself so scared back then. It’s great to be thrown out of your comfort zones and find you can cope–and very well, at that.

    This business blog is testament to that–coping, facing the fear, making peace and kicking ass too!

  98. Cindi
    May 1, 2010 at 8:53 am (6 years ago)

    I have been trying to make my own businesses work, yet I have been so afraid of them being successful that I sabotage them before I even get them off the ground.

    Face my fears of being a success? Yikes. I might have to have one more cup of coffee before I can ponder that thought.

    People tell me I am a good writer. I make money off one or two good articles and then I don’t write anymore for fear of making more money. How screwed up is that thinking!

    Love your blog Naomi. I am now addicted, still scared, but addicted.

  99. lissc
    May 3, 2010 at 2:48 pm (6 years ago)

    Brilliant! Thanks for sharing. Your advise has helped :)

    Have a beautiful day!

    LissC

  100. shannon
    May 5, 2010 at 8:29 pm (6 years ago)

    I think,

    I love you. Fear is one of my favorite topics. Hee hee. You have spilled the guts of fear all over this post and absolutely called bullshit on the voice in my head that coddles fear and treats it as “she who shall not be named” HA!

    I am tempted to run right over to my blog and spill my fear guts too.

    ty

  101. yoav
    May 6, 2010 at 7:38 pm (6 years ago)

    “I’m afraid if I rest, I will fail.”
    how popular is that?
    thank god for some honest people.
    true rest is gold for us digital people. for me anyway. i wish for more.
    love your writing!

  102. Yoan Hogg
    June 8, 2010 at 8:20 pm (6 years ago)

    “The worst thing to do with fear is pretend it’s not there. You’re not fooling anyone, least of all fear itself, and by denying its existence you just look like an idiot. Get to the root of your fear. Analyze where it comes from. Find out what you’re really afraid of.” You should conquer your fear, let go of the unwanted emotion or feeling so that the fear will gone.

  103. Eliza
    June 9, 2010 at 1:18 am (6 years ago)

    I LOVE it keep up the good work, fear is the most fearful thing in the world we are motivated by fear and love and each action is motivated by one or the other which one determines your actions? It is a conscious thing you become conscious of it ALL THE TIME! Because awareness of fear eliminates it. It’s that simple, when you’re aware of it it can’t stay it has to go on a permanent holiday! Keep your eye on yourself and your fears will met away;)

    GREAT POST LOVE IT THANK YOU X

  104. Marie-Pier
    July 25, 2010 at 2:11 pm (6 years ago)

    My partner and I have been in business together for 14 months now. Fear is a part of our daily lives but I can say now that fear doesn’t paralyse us anymore. Instead, it is just kicking our asses to move forward.

    The biggest fear I have is to go back and work for somebody else. It’s a no-no and my healthy mental state depends on it.

    I only discovered your blog last night and I love it. It’s full of passion, honesty and truthfulness. Keep up!

  105. Dallas SEO
    August 20, 2010 at 3:37 pm (6 years ago)

    From the heart. I likes.

  106. Beau Becton
    September 12, 2010 at 11:38 pm (6 years ago)

    I’m a pretty serious adventurist and will admit that I am anal about my gear. If there’s one thing that I dislike, it’s when my tools give way. That’s why I always buy quality equipment to outfit myself and be prepared for anything the dusty trail throws at me.

  107. eileen ludwig
    October 2, 2010 at 5:10 pm (6 years ago)

    Feel the fear and do it anyway sometimes is easy to do and other times when the voices in your head are strong, you become overpowered. I went back to your article about have the balls. When ever I have had the balls to do something, it has worked out great. Most of the time the committee in my head talks me out of it.

    I think I rather go back to having the balls.

    Eileen

  108. Natasha Nalls
    October 6, 2010 at 9:45 am (6 years ago)

    I love this.

  109. Nomadic Chick
    October 7, 2010 at 2:15 pm (6 years ago)

    Just came across your site from Untemplater. I LOVE you.. like in a-so- platonic- way. I left my corporate job 4 1/2 months ago, traveling the world, writin’ about it. And want to create something bigger than merely traveling. But yeah, success is not something I’m schooled in, so fear is a big, bad wolf.

    In fact, was feeling that today. I. Suck. Everyone else does not. Your post nails it, fear is a wave I gotta surf sometimes. It comes, it goes, and man it’s a bitch to ride on. But, everything will be okay. In the end, I know it.

  110. FrankieM
    October 15, 2010 at 4:46 pm (6 years ago)

    This is such a cool post and yeah I was once scared of so many things as I was also venturing into so many business just to become an “entrepreneur” but thank God for really great advice out there.

    There has been a tremendous amount of styles and techniques in Sales out there and it really takes a lot of creativity and patience to be able to sell. An effective sales person always equals to lot of sales and success.
    I know an ebook that has really given me great tips and technique in Sales or Selling. It has great positive effects on my career. I thought I’d share it with you, it is a Performance Sales Ebook by Donald Brownlie Fleming.

    more info here>> http://sellingwell.net

  111. cherilyn
    November 12, 2010 at 11:35 pm (5 years ago)

    Nicely put. Fear IS. Is here. Is not going away. Always around to growl at me.

    What I’m slowly beginning to remember is that life IS. Is not going away. Always around to say hi.

    Where do I want to spend my time?

    Thanks, Naomi!

  112. Marianne
    November 16, 2010 at 3:13 pm (5 years ago)

    Even if you don’t get to read this comment on a post you wrote years ago, I still want to leave you a message.

    I’ve recently had the experience of having to live with crippling fear and carry on anyways. I did it. Yay me!

    Then I found an environment that encourages to stay in this fear, or out of your comfort zone. This is where the real action happens! I’ve been at Knowmads (platform for entrepreneurs) for 9 months now and I can honestly say it turned my whole life upside down and shook it sideways.
    It is freakishly hard, but man, is it ever rewarding!

    So, yes, live with fear and do your thing anyway. But if you can, also use that fear to take things a step further! If you’re not out of your comfort zone, you’re not trying hard enough.

  113. Slade
    December 21, 2010 at 11:56 pm (5 years ago)

    Thank you for saying that you’re afraid your oldest son will stay a Mormon, serve a mission, and be brainwashed to hate you. That is, in every word, something I am also terrified of. He’s thirteen months old and his adoptive family is great and unfazed by the likelihood of him turning out queer — but I’m still scared that when he’s sixteen or seventeen he’ll look me in the eyes and tell me that he never wants to see me again. I’m afraid of never having a more recent photo of him than his high school graduation. I am terrified of ending up like my grandmother, who was hospitalized for chronic ulcers on her eldest child’s fiftieth birthday because she never knew what happened to him after she handed him off to the nuns when she was eighteen. I can’t spend half a century worrying about whether he’s okay, if he’s happy, and where the fuck I went wrong that I can’t just call him up and ask. He’s my son. He’s a baby with four parents who use two or three different parenting styles. I know I did the right thing, but God, where is it headed?

    So thank you. I’m glad I’m not alone in this.

  114. Regina Marie
    December 30, 2010 at 5:10 pm (5 years ago)

    What a great article. I really love that you put yourself out there, not only with the previous article you discuss, but also here, telling us your fears. As I head into 2011 and am trying to start a business… I think making a list of things I’m afraid of will help me to overcome them, and therefore make the world a little less scary.
    Thank you!

    I know it’s an old article, and have subscribed so now I just need to catch up… lol

  115. Derek Murphy
    December 31, 2010 at 5:21 pm (5 years ago)

    6:11am 1/1/2011 in Taiwan – your courses and vids have been great, I’m looking forward to this year. I only discovered you guys a few days ago, and have realized I’m doing a lot of things wrong with a popular blog that’s not selling anything and editing services that could be so much more profitable if marketed the right way. (I’m turning services into product packages, as you advise in video #…? Can’t find it right now). It’s this post however (and the imminent deadline) that’s convinced me to purchase the “Failproof your 2011” package. Thanks for the great things you’re doing.

  116. Thea
    January 27, 2011 at 4:54 am (5 years ago)

    Awesome post! Fear sucks, but it’s just something we have to deal with. Thankfully we can choose to succumb to it or to overcome it, pull up out big girl panties (or draws for the fellas…) and do the dang thing!

    Thanks for this post :-)

  117. apartment vacation rentals paris
    March 3, 2011 at 4:18 pm (5 years ago)

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  118. Cindy Marks
    March 5, 2011 at 2:21 pm (5 years ago)

    “I’m afraid if I rest, I will fail.”

    Thank you so much for writing that down. It brings tears to my eyes (relief? sympathy?) It’s all very hard and I frequently feel like the big FAIL at balance, of which rest would be a part, right? I can’t even rest successfully.

    At any rate, love your blog. It’s such a huge stress reliever for me just to hear your words so reflect my own trials. Many thanks for putting it out there.

  119. MMJ
    March 7, 2011 at 10:32 am (5 years ago)

    What you’re calling “balls” I think of more as… “not giving up so easily.” Most people can’t make shit happen because they give up as soon as it gets hard. And it always gets hard at some point. Maybe the whole thing is hard, depends on what you’re trying to do. Anyway, working for yourself is hard. It’s easier to just clock in at work and do your mindless tasks there.

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  121. Patrick
    April 5, 2011 at 8:50 am (5 years ago)

    It can be very overwhelming whenever we take action on something we’ve never done before or have failed at in the past.

    I dislike fear as much as the next person, but as you said it’s normal, it makes us human, and it makes everything we do so much more lively and exciting when we overcome our fears and accomplish our goals

    • MaryElizabeth
      April 8, 2011 at 6:09 pm (5 years ago)

      I agree Patrick!1!

  122. MaryElizabeth
    April 8, 2011 at 6:07 pm (5 years ago)

    I am sorry about my incorrect grammar but Naomi Dunford,you talk waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay to much girlfriend!!!Sorry it’s just that some people talk to much ya know!!!!!

  123. Maternity Women
    April 24, 2011 at 11:50 am (5 years ago)

    Can’t believe I’m just now finding that article from 2007! Inspirational- yes. Honest- yes. Congrats to you on your success!

  124. Jedda@ local seo
    June 7, 2011 at 10:49 am (5 years ago)

    I love your post here. Sometimes we need to take risk to follow our dreams.

  125. Allison
    June 13, 2011 at 2:42 pm (5 years ago)

    Holy jeez that’s a lotta comments. Usually, I try to read through all of them but DANG! That a lotta comments…sorry. I’m not really one for cursing, but you use it in good will (does that make sense?) and not every other word like some other people, so i’m fine with that. :) I used to be SO scared about posting my story on fanfiction, and it’s actually gotten a lot of compliments, tho there’s a lotta remarks about my grammar. grr…i hate english. chinese is hard to write but easier to understand…ngh. anywho, this is very interesting, great job on here!!! love the bluntness, love the personality, love the advice. what exactly are blogs ‘spose to be for? informing or helping or just putting down stuff or WHAT? i’m so confused about them. could you please help? i love the quote, i’ll be checking in from time to time now.

  126. Einar
    June 16, 2011 at 2:07 pm (5 years ago)

    Thank you for this great insight. There is more like this in Osho’s book – Courage the joy of living dangerously (also talks about courage not being the absence of fear but rather total presence of fear with the guts to face it).

    And I love the joke about the BIG THREE in the first line.. I’m assuming its a joke..

  127. Erbium Laser
    June 23, 2011 at 4:30 am (5 years ago)

    Hi Naomi! I find your blog amazing and useful. i enjoyed reading. Great post anyways.

  128. Jennifer
    July 6, 2011 at 9:14 am (5 years ago)

    Fear is an absolutely basic emotion, the purest form of emotion that we experience.

    It’s interesting that this post is in response to so much hate mail, because HATRED is actually a response to fear. Fear is the emotion that underlies hatred. Interesting irony.

    You’re doing to right thing: analyze your fear and use this new knowledge to propel yourself forward.

  129. Thomas Edward Mrak
    July 16, 2011 at 12:14 am (5 years ago)

    I’m a college dropout musician with entrepreneurial tendencies.

    Didn’t start focusing on who I was until 26, (29 going on 30) oh and I will probably lose potential fans, but I like dudes.

    Made tons of mistakes.
    Financial.
    Relational.
    Failed to do all the “right” things society demands of people. i.e. getting into the “right” college, making the “right” career moves, etc.

    You know, I am tired of living with fear all the time. Surrendering. To what? Some magical payoff when I am 65?

    There. I shared the scary “horrible” truth. Human just like everyone else.

    I’d rather die living, that spend life preparing to die.

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