Hardly a day passes when I don’t hear from someone who is bored to tears with their job and longing to step out on their own, but claim that fear is keeping them stuck. Alas, they’re not telling the truth, either to me or themselves. Fear, after all, is that really useful emotion that warns us when danger is near. What’s so sad is that people often interpret as fear a different emotion: self-doubt. As long as they label that feeling as “fear” they continue to see it as a warning sign. On the other hand, if it’s actually a case of self-doubt that’s holding them back, that’s something they can overcome. That can be scary, too.

Then how do we move past this? We have to begin by refusing to keep nurturing our doubts. To paraphrase an old quote, “Doubts, like babies, grow larger with nursing.”

We also have to stop deceiving ourselves that we’ll act after our self-esteem is intact. That’s backwards. Our self-esteem grows because we take action.

When Garland Wright was artistic director of the Guthrie Theater, he challenged his staff by saying, “What we need now is an idea big enough to scare us.”  Do you see the brilliance of that?  How about letting a big, scary idea point you in the direction of your dreams?

$100 Hour: In Phil Laut’s wonderful little book, Money is My Friend, he offers this exercise for testing ideas. “Once you have an idea of what you can do to make your favorite money making idea a financial success, ask yourself whether you are willing to stick with it, no matter what it takes, until you receive your first $100 from it. If you are not willing to do this, then you certainly don’t yet have an idea that you like well wnough to succeed with…If you make a habit of only devoting yourself to ideas that you like so well you are willing to stick with them until you receive your first $100, you will never again feel like yu failed. After receiving your first $100, you can decide whether you want to continue with the idea—but you will be making the choice from the position of having succeeded.

Explore More: If you don’t own a copy of Steven Pressfield’s The War of Art, I’m going to keep nagging you until to add it to your library. If it’s already in your library, pick it up now, open it at random and read a page or two. Ah.

Fear is the cheapest room in the house. I prefer to see you living in better accomodations. ~ Hafiz