Feel the Fear and start a blog

So January 2014 is going to be the month in which I Feel the Fear and Do it Anyway. The first time I read this book I was 24 (so 12 years ago). I was in a job I hated and drinking cheap white wine in All Bar One with a friend.
She pulled a copy of Susan Jeffer’s book out of her bag and told me I had to read it. ‘It just makes you want to go out and DO stuff,’ she said. I couldn’t see what exactly it made her want to go out and do other than get drunk with me, but her enthusiasm was contagious. The next day I popped out in my lunch hour and entered the brave new world of the ‘Mind, Body and Spirit’ aisle of Waterstone’s.
From the first page, I was hooked. There was something about the shouty exclamation marks, the American positivity that was strangely exhilarating.
Susan Jeffers basic premise is that if we sit around waiting for the day we feel brave enough, pretty enough, clever enough or strong enough to do the things we want to do, we’ll never do anything. The secret of successful people is not that they get less scared by things, but that they Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway. She says that actually we should all be scared every day because it’s a sign that we’re pushing ourselves and moving forward.
At the time the book had such an effect on me that I quit the PR job I hated a month after reading it. I didn’t know where I was going or what I was doing but a couple of months later I heard that a friend of a friend was working at a newspaper and I offered to make tea for free. That was the start of my journalism career. The risk paid off.
Since then I’ve been good at taking bold risks – leaving jobs, moving countries – but I’m still crippled by more vague fears every day: fear of failure, fear or rejection, fear of looking stupid, fear of not being good enough. I’m scared of stupid things such as  parallel parking, my bank statements, smiling at a handsome man.
Jeffers believes that that what’s driving all our fears is the belief that we will not be able to handle what life throws at us. For example, we won’t able to cope with the feeling of failure if our business fails or we will never get over the rejection if the hot guy doesn’t smile back.
Her message is: ‘YOU’LL HANDLE IT’. She says to ‘Put signs in your home that say ‘So what? I’ll handle it!’
From what I can see, in practical terms Jeffers recommends the following: 

Do one scary thing a day

So the only way to conquer your fears is to face them – one at a time. This can be anything from facing small fears – opening bank statements, saying ‘no’ to a friend – to more major ones – leaving a job, ending a relationship.  Each time you face a fear, you’ll feel stronger. Avoiding risks, on the other hand, makes us feel weak and scared all the time.

Remember there’s no such thing as a bad decisions  

Instead of being paralysed what’s the right or wrong thing to do – accept that whatever decision you’ll make will end up in a learning experience.

Don’t be afraid of making mistakes

To use an American analogy – Jeffers says that even the best baseball hitters miss six out of ten times. Lighten up about your mistakes and be happy that you’ve had the experience.

Positive thinking

In the same way we have to exercise regularly to stay fit, so we need to practice positive thinking every single day. This means repeating positive affirmations throughout the day – I am strong! I love my work! etc – and celebrating our achievements in a diary.  Building up our positivity apparently gives us more strength to face our fears.

So these are the four things I’ll do every day for the next month:

  • Do one scary thing a day   
  • Keep ‘a book of abundance’ to jot down positive achievements
  • Repeat positive affirmations – such as ‘Everything is going perfectly’
  • Remember that whatever happens ‘I’ll handle it’ 

I must go now, to find something terrifying to do…

33 Responses

  1. Louize says:

    Fantastic news! Can’t wait to read it! Funny was just thinking I hadn’t heard from you for a while only this morning! Spooky

    • Marianne Power says:

      Thank you Louize, it’s funny how that works, isn’t it?

      • Karen Bird says:

        At last. Congratulations and more well deserved.
        So all that blood sweat and tears have paid off.
        I’m very pleased for you, it’s made my day hearing from you.
        I will be moving next week into the unknown with a new puppy
        and thanks to you I’ve taken the chance of a new chapter in my life
        Continue the good work.

        • Marianne Power says:

          Thank you, Karen. Where are you moving to? Tell me more – good luck with everything. Be brave. New chapters are scary but good. Keep in touch. xx

  2. Francesco Cervellera says:

    Congratulation 🙂

  3. Niki Longmuir says:

    I’m thrilled for you, that’s utterly wonderful…! Well done, xxxxx

  4. Susan Sims says:

    I’m so thrilled for you!! Dancing ’round the room on your behalf xxx

    • Marianne Power says:

      Thank you Susan! Dancing down under… I love it. Thank you for being such a great cheerleader throughout all of it – it meant such a lot. xx

  5. Helen says:

    Congratulations. Such great news. You’re an inspiration – you believed in something and kept doggedly on even when times weren’t so easy. Well done. I’ve loved reading your posts – they’ve been insightful and entertaining. Can’t wait to hear what the next bit of new is.

    • Marianne Power says:

      Thank you Helen – it felt very dogged!!! But worth it now, thank god. How are you? Thanks for the lovely words – I’ll be blogging more regularly from now on.

  6. Maria says:

    Well done Marianne, I have followed you from the beginning.

    So great to hear of your success. I wish you all the best, you deserve it.


  7. Claire says:

    This is awesome news Marianne!! You’ve cheered up my day 100% xxx

  8. Rebecca Coleman says:

    I’m sure we decided about 3 years ago at one of Claire’s parties who would play you in the film but now I can’t remember who we settled on!

  9. YAAAAAYYY!!! As I said on FB, it’s brilliant news and so well deserved. I can’t wait to read it!! xxxx

  10. Sue Faldo says:

    So very pleased for you I know what a traumatic few years it’s been for you! At last a light at the end of the tunnel and not just a light a huge bright shining starlight. You deserve it and may you now go from strength to strength. Well done!
    SueX ( Sarah’s mum)

  11. Linda says:

    Fantastic news, Im so pleased for you .YYYYYYYYYYYYYYAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  12. Oh. My. God! You did it Marianne! So MASSIVELY MASSIVELY happy for you, proud for you and doing whoop whoops around the room here. I can’t wait to see who plays you in the film xxxx

    • Marianne Power says:

      Thank you Amanda – we got there in the end!!! Lovely to hear from you. I’ve been doing a lot of whooping too. I hope you are well. xxx

  13. una says:

    Fantastic, reminding of this quote I saw recently
    “Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.” — Thomas Edison
    You never gave up. Congrats.

    • Marianne Power says:

      Oh Una I love this quote. Thank you. I didn’t give up, it’s true. It was never even an option – even when things were hard. Lovely to hear from you. I hope you are well.

  14. Ali says:

    Congratulations! Can’t wait to read it all again 😊 and look forward to hearing your other news ….. xxx

  15. paul says:

    Marianne (or Bette Midler as you still are in my phone contacts – remember……??? !!)

    Just saw your message and so, so pleased for you………..lots to say and ask and from here I’ll contact Rebecca and see if we cant get together. Have thought of you often and this is just great news

    Much Love



  16. Rosie Gray says:

    Congratulations Marianne. So delighted to hear it all came right in the end. Get ready now for fame and maybe a little bit of fortune. xxx

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