Feeling the Fear and Doing it Anyway

By: Kristen Moeller on: April 9th, 2010 11 Comments

How many times have we heard that courage isn’t the absence of fear? Courage is instead the ability to feel the fear and take action anyway. We say we know this but once the fear takes hold, our first response is a strong desire to have it go away.  So many people wait to take action until the fear goes away, or they use the sensation of fear as a reason not to do something. Often when I am working with clients on fulfilling their visions, I hear from them, “It (whatever it is) is causing me too much anxiety so I decided not to continue.”

What if the anxiety we felt around taking on new ventures and adventures was just part of the deal?  What if we really knew this?  To grow and stretch ourselves isn’t always comfortable and certainly isn’t easy.  That’s why there is a term for it – “growing pains.”

Although we don’t like to admit it, many of us back off from our goals at the first sign of discomfort.  Or we get through the first phase of discomfort and think, “Okay, that’s it.  I don’t have to go through that again.”  And when the next level of “growing pains” occurs, we stop.  We think, “I’ve already gone through this, I’m not doing it again” or even worse we think, “Maybe this is a sign that I shouldn’t be doing this.”

One of my strategies for dealing with fear is to take the conversation out of monologue and into dialogue – to take it out of my head and share it with my trusted advisors.  I have surrounded myself with people who are creating amazing things in their lives and the world and are not afraid to share the ups and downs.  A small group of us meet monthly and have the freedom to ask for support and vent our frustrations.  We leave feeling heard and connected.  Together we know we can achieve what we could not alone.

During the writing of my book, Waiting for Jack, there were many times I considered giving up.  Having never written a book before, at some of these points I wasn’t sure if the monologue I was having was the “truth.”  The thoughts went something like: “Maybe I am in over my head.  Maybe it’s not worth it.”  And then there were the rejections.  Agents who seemed interested then later said “no.”  I often found myself wondering if I should quit or if it was really worth it.

I persevered and it has been the ride of my life.  The ups and downs, the terror and joy have all been worth it.  After all, as they say, it’s the journey not the destination that really matters.

When fear arises, the question is: are you letting it stop you from creating what you want in life or are you going in a direction that no longer aligns with your purpose?  We all need to find the answer for ourselves.  There is nothing wrong with deciding half-way through that we are not on the right path and choosing a new direction.  But my wish for all of us is the courage to “fiercely disrupt the ordinary.”  That means the ordinary in the world and our own ordinary.  Be willing to get out of the comfort zone and live this one wild precious life.  Follow your dreams, whatever they are and feel the fear and do it anyway!

Kristen Moeller’s first book, Waiting for Jack: Confessions of a Self-Help Junkie: How to Stop Waiting and Start Living Your Life is available now.


Kristen Moeller is a highly respected coach, author, speaker and radio show host who holds a master’s degree in counseling and has more than 20 years experience in the field of personal development. Her first book, “Waiting for Jack” explores why we wait and look outside ourselves for answers. Jack Canfield of “Chicken Soup for the Soul” fame wrote the foreword to the book. Kristen is also the founder of the non-profit Chick-a-go Foundation, which provides “pay-it-forward” scholarships for transformational educational training programs reaching people who otherwise cannot afford such opportunities. Ms. Moeller also hosts a weekly internet radio show, “What Are You Waiting For?” and is a celebrity ambassador to the National Eating Disorder Association. She resides in the Conifer area with her husband in eco-friendly, solar powered home. www.waitingforjack.com

11 Responses

  1. You are describing a feeling here, that is known as hesitation my universe . When it comes, I know I am not ready to make the decision. I miss something. And what I miss is knowledge. I dig in. I dig until I find the missing piece of information. Once I have that information in my hands, hesitation is gone. Confidence takes over. Being very persistent, follow though, never give up – that’s my way of doing things! Knowledge has to be there. That’s a requirement. Come to think about it, I never gave up anything I started.

    Good article!

  2. Lexi Rodrigo says:

    Congratulations on the book, Kristen!

    Fear can be paralyzing. I’ve found, though, that after we do something we’re terrified of — and finding that we survive after all — we become more courageous to do other things that make us deathly scared.

    So your advice to “feel the fear and do it anyway” is spot on. Thanks for the post!

  3. John Bruin says:

    For me, I think that in most instances I find that taking action relieves the fear. Whether it is prospecting for clients or handling a situation in my personal life, the fear and anxiety subside with action.

  4. Interesting and extremely useful perspective and insights. I agree with Alla – often we feel fear and anxiety around a project that is covering up some lack of knowledge. So a great strategy when fear and procrastination strike is to get more knowledge. On the other hand, I have to admit I’m one that spends far too much time learning and not enough time doing! I wish I could say every project is finished, but it’s not! So, should I read your book or just take action?!

  5. Charles Ra says:

    When fear arises, the question is: are you letting it stop you from creating what you want in life or are you going in a direction that no longer aligns with your purpose?
    I am choosing to create what I want in my life.
    fear is a deep emotion I experience every day,
    and I have to work at it every time, changing my state, both physical n emotional

  6. Excellent Article, Kristen! and Solar powered home? wow!

    When one measures the internal struggle that leads them to burnout and indicision, something that is helpful is to explore both options with “what will that lead me to?” This is something I learned in NLP.

    for example, If I am unsure whether or not to spend $10,000 on a new piece of equipment, following both the “pro” and the “con” aspects as to what my ultimate concern is about following that answer to the decision…

    and many times, that exercise will show you that both your angles you are considering really both refer to the same core state…. and will enable you to make a decision with total clarity and 100% fear free.

  7. Rob Anspach says:

    Fear has the power to scare us and to motivate us. I try to figure why I’m afraid of something, then figure out ways to overcome my fears. What’s the worst that can happen? Most cases it’s just petty the fear that’s holding us back.

  8. karrie says:

    Kristen, this will be my lesson for today: “take the conversation out of monologue and into dialogue.” Its so easy to shut yourself down with the one-sided talking. Remembering that there are other people out there, many of whom would love to help, definitely helps to dissipate fears. Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway has long been a support for me. Ever since I read the book by Susan Jeffers. Doing, for me, is always more interesting than fearing. Yet its so easy to get caught up in the fears. I’m going to call my best friend right now . . .

  9. Thanks for the reminder, Kristen.

    Too many business owners are operating (or not operating!) out of fear these days.

    Your tip could get some of them to take action anyway, which is the key to getting themselves out of their misery and back on track.

  10. Charles Ra says:

    Steve, the key themselves out of their misery and back on track.
    take action anyway.

  11. Thank you all for your comments! Here’s to us all “disrupting our ordinary” and being willing to live on the skinny branches. And – it’s nice to know we are not alone!

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