It is extremely easy to be scared. It is much more difficult to be scared and plow right through it anyway.
Fear is something that I know all too well. I recently discovered just how much I let it dictate my decisions and, ultimately, curtail what I have done in my life. This is not a tale of regret; rather, it is a tale of choice. I'll share two examples.
First a simple example, one that I had included in my XDCHI talk last month. In talking about giving and receiving design feedback, I mentioned how much I think email sucks for this purpose. In-person conversations are best. But I used to rely on email all the time. Here is why and here is the truth: for me, it was a way to avoid confrontation. Within myself, fear had convinced me that this was reasonable: sending an email removes the need to work with an actual person in that moment. No chance of rejection, no chance of disrespect (something I have tied up in this too)... but also, no true interaction. No true contact. No emotion.
I was so afraid of negative reactions, even for things of no consequence, that I would just steer clear of those situations altogether. No risk, no harm, no foul.
Whether I knew it or not in those moments (I didn't), I was choosing to act this way. And me - my whole self - didn't like it, really. The fearful part of me was driving, aided by its pal Imposter Syndrome, and what was the result? A lack of true investment in the conversation I was having.
One other example: yoga. Yoga was, for many years, on my mental list of stuff that I was interested in doing; a someday list. Until this year it never progressed beyond that list. Why not? I was afraid that I wouldn't know what I was doing and would be seen as a neophyte. I might make a mistake, too, which is something I've had a strong fear around: the perception that I am not an expert at something. What if I fell? What if I couldn't do a pose? What if...
My monkey mind raced with this stuff and I chose to let it overwhelm me. This year, though, I was clear eyed enough to set aside those fears and just do it. As a result I've found a lot of amazing things in yoga. Have I not been able to do poses? Absolutely! Everything is new! Have I fallen? No, but it may happen!
The benefits ultimately outweigh the fear of not trying at all and that, really, is what makes it worth it.
Listen. Fear will never go away. I will try new things and I will be afraid, sometimes very much so. Giving in to fear, however, is a choice. It is important for the soul and for the spirit to put aside that fear and do those things anyway.