March 14th is fast approaching—the day the new edition of Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway comes out in the U.S.! To whet your appetite for this new edition, here is an excerpt.
To preorder your copy—either in print or digital—click here.
Not only am I going to experience
fear whenever I’m on unfamiliar
territory, but so is everyone else.
I said to myself: “You mean all those people out there that I’ve been envying because they’re not afraid to move ahead with their lives have really been afraid? Why didn’t somebody tell me!?” I guess I never asked. I was sure I was the only person out there feeling so inadequate. It was such a relief to realize I was not alone in this. I had the rest of the world to keep me company.
A great example of this is the prolific TV producer, creator, and writer Shonda Rhimes. She’s known internationally for her shows Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal, and How to Get Away with Murder. Despite being hugely successful, she hated being in the spotlight. She’s an introvert and found that the glamorous Hollywood life—large events, parties, and award shows—caused her severe anxiety. So she never said yes to invitations. When her older sister pointed this out to her, Shonda decided to turn her life around. She vowed to say yes for a year, no matter what. Her decision became the basis of her bestselling book, Year of Yes, which chronicles how she overcame her intense fear of putting herself in the spotlight.
If you are aware of the Fear Truths, Shonda’s fear will not come as a surprise. Writing is a behind-the- scenes occupation—no wonder Hollywood parties made her nervous. Being the center of attention is something that she’s not comfortable with, so of course she would be scared. After her Year of Yes, Shonda found that stretching past her boundaries increased both her self-worth and her self-confidence. Simply put, that is the way it works—for all of us. By virtue of our being human, we share the same feelings. Fear is no exception.
There are many stories similar to Shonda Rhimes’s experience. Until you are in touch with the Fear Truths, you will hear about and read and see these stories and not notice the underlying principles operating in them. You may never relate the experiences of others, especially celebrities, to your own life. You may think they are lucky because they aren’t afraid to put themselves out there. Not so! They had to push through a tremendous amount of fear to get where they are today . . . and they are still pushing.
Those who have successfully dealt with fear all their lives seem to have known, consciously or unconsciously, the message in this book: you must feel the fear . . . and do it anyway. A very successful friend of mine, a self-made man who allowed nothing to stop him along the way, pondered the title of my course one day, nodded, and said, “Yes, I guess that is the way I’ve always lived my life, without consciously realizing that’s what I’ve been doing. I can’t remember not being afraid, but it never occurred to me that fear would prevent me from taking the risks necessary to get what I wanted. I just went ahead and did what I had to do to make my ideas work—despite the fear.”
There are so many inspiring examples of people becoming hugely successful even after experiencing daunting setbacks. Bill Gates’s first company failed; later he founded Microsoft. Oprah Winfrey was fired from her first broadcast news job. The basketball legend Michael Jordan was cut from his high school basketball team. The first book by Stephen King, the author of more than 100 books, was rejected more than 30 times.
Pushing through the fear is not just for the wildly successful. I know a woman who divorced in her late 30s, when she set out to find a job, wanting to pursue a career in law enforcement. She became a police officer at the age of 39, at a time when there were few women police officers. If you think she didn’t have any fear, you would be very wrong.
These are just a few examples of how people have consciously or unconsciously felt their fear and moved past it. Feeling fear is very lonely, but it helps to know that we all experience it.