A couple years ago as I was walking through my favorite discount store, a small black book tossed in a clearance bin caught my eye. I am not sure if it was the cool lime green foiled lettering on the black matte cover, the brilliant white lettering emphasizing the word ‘Scares’ or the counterintuitive title “Do One Thing Daily That Scares You - A Journal”, that pulled me towards it.
What I saw as I flipped through the pages of this small yet powerful book was remarkable. It was filled with motivational quotes, Chinese proverbs, and simple little exercises intended to challenge ones thoughts and actions. It’s a book which focused on taking action as opposed to the inaction which often occurs during my relaxing reading. It encouraged the reader, the actor, to lean into ones fears and then capture the experience by writing about them. Intrigued, I bought it.
I grew up like many, hearing that fear was a bad thing, a weakness. I was teased about my fear of snakes and spiders by the playground bully, and my older siblings were thrilled to know that I was terrified to go into the “Dark Room” at my Aunt Mildred’s home in New Hampshire. I learned that fear was something that should never be shown, as people could take notice of what you were afraid of and use it against you.
This little $6 investment in myself taught me quite the opposite. By taking action while reading this book, I no longer see courage or bravery as the opposite of fear. Instead, I see vulnerability and transparency as its foil. I learned overcoming fear isn’t always about the big battles or the giant leaps. It’s often the little things that frighten us most. Conquering fear comes from trying a new recipe for that big party, wearing the edgy shirt and tie combo to a conference, or riding a roller coaster for the first time. More frequently it comes when accepting and learning from unsolicited feedback, and when rejecting the hurtful unproductive messages we frequently tell ourselves.
So here is my Motivational Monday challenge to each of you. Today, do one thing that scares you. Go ahead- risk it! Try a new cuisine, say ‘hi’ to the cashier, wear your hair a different way, talk to people in the elevator, or take a step out of that job you hate. Walter Bagehot said “The great pleasure in life is doing what people say you cannot do.” For me that “someone” more often than not is that voice in my head that says I have to be ‘Perfect’. It warns me not to take risks, to be safe, and to fear change. This little black book taught me how to quiet that toxic inner voice and strengthen the positive one that assures me I can do, be, or accomplish anything I want. How do I know? Because with facing my fears I’ve found the battle is in the trying. And regardless if I accomplish what I set out to do or if I fail somewhere along the way, I know that now I am stronger because I was vulnerable, transparent, took the risk and gave it my all.
How will you face a fear today? Share in the comments!