I'm afraid of too many things. No, really. Way too many things. I have ridiculous fears of things like butterflies and other people's driving and it frustrates and tickles me simultaneously. However, as I've gotten older I have developed a fear of taking risks, as well. And that fear doesn't make me laugh at all. It only frustrates me. I've spent the last few months doing the work required to move forward. I'm not there yet.
Recently, I was given the idea for an incredible project that I think will be extremely beneficial to so many people. As soon as the idea came, I begged God to take it back. The fear of starting this project and taking all of the risks that this project requires almost paralyzed me. But the idea wouldn't leave me. So, for weeks, I refused to write it down. I wouldn't flush it out or try and make the jumbled up idea make sense. I wasn't doing it and no one could make me.
Thankfully, one of my good friends (who I made the "mistake" of telling about the idea) kept asking me about it. Eventually, I wrote the jumbled up thoughts out and sent them to her. My hope? She would say it made no sense. She didn't. She got the vision and repeated it back to me in a way that sort of soothed me. I still wasn't convinced, but I wrote the idea out in a more cohesive way and mapped out each step it would take me to get to the big picture. I, also, sat down with this friend Monday and we talked through my fears and made a vow to hold each other accountable (she's working on a great project as well). I'm so grateful for her.
I won't lie, however. I'm still afraid. And the night after I'd met with my friend, I cried out to God again and begged him to take this idea away from me.
It's still here, though. This is on me. And as I'm writing this post, I'm slowly accepting it. As afraid as I am, I have to do it.
I have to do it afraid.
Perhaps there is something you need to do; something that won't leave your mind or heart. Yet, you're too afraid to get it done. You may have to do it afraid. And you can.
What's the smallest step required to get this thing done? Is it calling someone and asking them a question? Is it research? Is filling out an application? Whatever the smallest step is, do that. Keep doing more and more small tasks every day or every week until you've found yourself in a rhythm of doing things related to this goal. Eventually, you'll be half-way done; too far to turn back.
I'm not saying each step won't terrify you. Perhaps the fear will stay with you even after you launch, but you cannot give into it. Fear shouldn't be the thing that makes you look back with regret. That has happened to me so many times in the last 6 years. I refuse to let that be my legacy.
When I die, I will be totally fine if all people can say about me is this: "Here lies Whitney; the girl who did everything afraid". Knowing me, I'll raise up and say, "At least I did it!"
Always in love.
Here's a video from my BFF Tracee Ellis Ross sharing a bit of this sentiment. Watch the whole thing. Her talk on doing it afraid begins around the 2:20 mark. Enjoy!