"Hi Aaron, great story! I'd love to share it..."
I just kept reading that phrase, over and over again. I couldn’t believe it. I just kept thinking to myself…
He wants to share something I wrote. He wants it for his blog. He wants to send it to his list of 20,000 email subscribers, 24,000 Facebook friends, and have it available for the 250,000 times a month someone looks at his blog?
“Whoa”, I thought to myself. "That’s a lot of potentials eyes on my work."
You see, I recently submitted an article to The Change Blog to have it considered as a guest post. Peter Clemens, the owner of the blog loved it and decided to share it with his community.
Please go check it out. It’s a story about how I once took a 240 question, two-hour career aptitude test and how the results floored me. Trust me, it’s not what you think. Here's the link again: The Shocking From a Career Aptitude Test.
What’s crazy is, submitting the post to be considered didn’t scare me. But getting the result, a result I wanted, did.
The reason I submitted the piece was in hopes that someone would like it enough to want to share it with their blog subscribers and community. So why was I so nervous?
What was I So Afraid of?
Initially, once I received the email response, I was elated. I felt validated. Up until this point, nobody has read anything significant that I’ve written since grad school.
So having someone say they enjoyed my work made me feel great initially. It was confirmation that I’m doing the right thing and that I do belong in the blogging space. But that joy was quickly replaced as negative thoughts started to flood in…
“Is this what I really want?”
“Are you sure you want to pursue this?”
“What if nobody likes what you wrote?”
“What if someone who knows you personally reads this? To everyone who knows you, you’re just a nice quiet guy without a care in the world. What will you do once they know the truth?”
Have you ever been there? Have you ever gotten some great news and then your mind turns on you and makes you feel sick to your stomach?
A Perfect Example of Joy Meets Fear
As exciting as the opportunity was, it scared me. Yes having Peter say yes to my submission was amazing to me. However, I wasn’t sure I was ready.
What if my story doesn’t resonate with the readers? What if I get a negative comment? What if… what if… what if…?
The Fear was Dizzying…Instead of enjoying the fact that my career as a blogger was about to really start, here I was, worrying about things that I had no control over. Why? Because this was stepping out of my comfort zone. Honestly, it was more like long-jumping out of my comfort zone.
I know worrying about things doesn’t make sense. You get all worked up over something that may never happen. And you end up spoiling a beautiful moment, all because you don’t know what the outcome will be.
But the truth is, life is not about outcomes. It’s not about whether or not everybody likes what you do. Life is about doing something. You can’t change if you keep doing the same things, right?
Life is About Doing the Things that Make You Uncomfortable
Life is about doing the things that make you nervous, the things that make you uncomfortable, that help you to grow.
Even though I had already known this, I didn’t accept it at first. I even considered asking Peter not to post my story, just because I was afraid.
But instead, I took a minute and began to understand how awesome this opportunity was. I just had to take a step back and remember why I’m writing in the first place.
The whole point of my blog is about overcoming fear and social anxiety.
That takes getting uncomfortable. And that’s OK. Once I was able to accept it, the fear faded, the anxiety subsided, and my comfort level had a new slightly larger boundary.
Overcoming social anxiety is just like any other skill you want to learn. You have to keep working at it. Keep showing up, keep pushing, and challenging yourself to do just a little bit more each day.
It may not look how you want it to look right now, but keep going. Before you know it, you’ll look completely different. You’ll be stronger. You’ll stand taller. You’ll be willing to take on more challenges. And the fear you once had will be discarded.
Next Action Steps
In the comments below, share a Joy meets Fear moment. A time in your life when you happily engaged in an activity or passion that you later found out would have a bigger impact than you first expected.
For example: Submitting my article for consideration on another larger and more established blog was such a great moment for me. I felt very excited and empowered making the submission. However, I didn't really consider what would happen if my submission was accepted and when it was, I realized that my little story could turn out to be a big deal.