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To Overcome Your Fears, You First Have to Own Up to Them

On vulnerability and self-doubt.


What’s holding you back?

What’s keeping you from doing what you want to do and being who you want to be?

Those are the questions I answer in the latest edition of “On the Clock,” my video series in which I explore what it’s like living with a countdown clock — a clock that’s counting down to the (theoretical) end of my life.

If you’re unable to watch the video, its transcript is below…

Not Getting What You Want Out of Life?

Learn to manage your fears and become a bolder risk-taker, decision-maker and communicator with help from my 5-step strategic video.

Click here right now to get the video!

TRANSCRIPT:

I’m scared.

I am.

When it comes to this countdown clock experiment, I am terrified.

And I’m terrified in two different ways.

What if it doesn’t work?

As a writer, my focus over the last few years has been on building an audience.

And from what I’ve learned about the subject, the key measuring stick for this is your email list.

How many people have signed up for your email list?

I’ve gone about growing mine in several different ways.

But one tool I used for awhile was an extension on my internet browser, not unlike the countdown clock extension. It works in similar fashion:

Every time I opened a new window, instead of seeing a standard homepage like Google, I’d see a blue screen with two numbers:

One was the number of subscribers I had.

The other was the number of subscribers I wanted to have — my goal.

The idea behind this was to provide motivation.

By reminding me of where I am and where I’m trying to go, it was supposed to keep me in gear — and keep me from wasting time.

Unfortunately, that wasn’t my experience with it.

My experience could best be summarized with two words:

Numbness and negativity.

I became numb to the numbers.

Because I saw them every time I opened a new window, it got to the point where I barely noticed them.

It’s like when you were a kid and your mom was always hocking you to clean your room. At some point, you just start tuning it out.

But when I did notice the numbers, they often cast a spell of negativity.

That’s because those numbers barely changed.

I’m thankful for the audience I have, but it hasn’t been growing — or growing quickly enough.

And the constant reminder of that was defeating.

It made me feel inadequate and overwhelmed. It made me think things would never change.

What if the same happens here?

What if I grow indifferent to the countdown clock?

Or what if it becomes nothing more than a shaming device, a constant reminder that I’m not making the most of my life?

What if, with my mortality staring me in the face, slipping away second by precious second, I still can’t get myself off the couch?

What do I do then?

What if I can’t make it work?

“I’m gonna screw this up.”

“I’m not going to have anything to say.”

“I’m going to look like an idiot.”

“I’m not going to provide any value to you, the kind soul on the other side of this screen, who’s wasting your time on me.”

These are just a few of the fears swirling in my head at the moment. And they have been for some time.

I first learned about the countdown clock eight or nine years ago. And I came up with the idea for this video series at least six months ago.

Ever since, it’s given me hope.

Whenever I can’t think of anything to write about, or worry about how nobody’s reading my articles, or wonder what I’m doing with my life, the hope of this idea lifts me up.

Which, strangely, is exactly why I hadn’t pursued it.

It was my safety net, the ace up my sleeve. And as long as it was up there, it remained this perfect little trump card I could play in case of emergency, like that Bar Mitzvah money in my savings account.

Yes, not pursuing this idea has deprived me of benefiting from it and finding out if it would work.

But it’s also spared me the disappointment of finding out that it doesn’t.

Admittedly, this approach of avoidance is pure cowardice, a depressing embodiment of the cliche, “Ignorance is bliss.”

I’m not proud to say this, but I was choosing ignorance.

That’s what I do.

That’s what I’ve too often done with my best ideas and the things I’m excited about.

I hold onto them and tuck them away in a cool, dry place, so I’m never left with nothing.

Of course, by employing this strategy, it’s as if I’m left with nothing.

It leaves me stagnant, stuck in a never-ending rut, where things never get better.

But I don’t want to be like that anymore.

I don’t want to live like that anymore.

I’m tired of being afraid.

I’m tired of playing it safe and holding myself back.

If only I could come up with something, a tool maybe, that was specifically designed to cure this, that would help me treasure my time and go after my goals and make the most of my life.

Something like, say, a countdown clock.

Not Getting What You Want Out of Life?

Learn to manage your fears and become a bolder risk-taker, decision-maker and communicator with help from my 5-step strategic video.

Click here right now to get the video!

Originally published at The Mission.

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