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If You're Not Scared, You're Not Doing It Right

Fear As An Indicator For Love

I’ve been scared for the last 3 years...

Scared about the direction of my organization, scared about making sure I can pay the mortgage, scared I’m pigeon-holing my career before my 30th birthday.

When the noise of my own self-doubt becomes unbearable, I have a special spot I like to go in Portland down the street from my office (see above). I sit on a grassy hill, littered with weeds, and lean against a broken light post. My spot isn’t picturesque; it overlooks a truck depot and a freeway on-ramp, but it’s mine.

Some people say God talks to them at length. Full paragraphs and jokes and all. For me, on my grassy knoll, God has been more of a broken record lately. When the world feels like it’s crashing down, all I hear are the same two lines:

1. “If you’re not scared, you’re not doing it right.”

2. “Just. Keep. Going.”

I hate when I’m in the middle of it, but fear is good. The more you love something, the more you’ll fear it, because you know it can hurt you. People don’t quit their jobs because they’re scared of them. People quit their jobs because they’re bored of them. You lose the fear, you lose the love.

If you remember anything, remember this...

Fear is an ally and an indicator of what you have to keep doing in life.

Steven Pressfield sums it up well in his groundbreaking work, The War of Art:

“Self doubt can be an ally. This is because it serves as an indicator of aspiration. It reflects love, love of something we dream of doing, and desire, desire to do it. If you find yourself asking yourself, “Am I really a writer? Am I really an artist?” chances are you are. The Counterfeit innovator is wildly self-confident. The real one is scared to death.”

Are you scared to death or wildly self-confident? A true creator or a counterfeit innovator? Evaluate your level of fear. You’ll know what you’re meant to do.

- JZ

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