Day 338: The joy of doing what scares you

Okay, I had NO idea THAT would be the title of today’s blog post.  But there it was, flowing from the tips of my fingers, unexpectedly.

I had lots of other possible titles in mind, as I typed the title of today’s post, but that one just appeared, like magic.

I’ll tell you what I DID know, about today’s blog post. I knew it would relate to what I’m doing today: giving a presentation about my therapy groups to people I don’t know.

Last week, to help myself prepare for today’s presentation,  I wrote this here post, about saying “SHUT UP!” to unhelpful, self-critical thoughts. Unhelpful, self-critical thoughts tend to rush in when I’m doing something new, when I’m taking a risk, when I’m doing something that scares me.  Am I alone in that?  (I know I’m not.)

So why the title of today’s post? Because I’ve definitely known the joy of facing and doing something that scares me, including these experiences:

  • Living away from home, for the first time, when I went away to college.
  • Traveling across the U.S. by bus, and seeing my country for the first time.
  • Leaving my country for the first time, to spend two weeks in Mexico.
  • Teaching a course, in Communications, to a bunch of college freshmen.
  • Giving a lecture, about my love of movies, to a giant room of people.
  • Performing my own stand-up comedy routine, at an Open Mic night.
  • Planning and giving myself a 60th birthday party.

For each of those, joy was there, but so was fear. And part of the preparation, for everything on that list, included negative self-talk — doubts about myself and my capabilities.

When I’ve done presentations before about my therapy groups — and I’ve done several over the past two years — joy, fear, and negative self-talk have all been there, too.

As I’ve said to my boyfriend Michael, I seem to always include an “I SUCK!” step, when preparing for things that scare me.  I’ve said, “I wish I could skip that step! But maybe I can’t.  Maybe I believe that step helps me prepare.”

You know what?  I skipped that step entirely, this week, thanks to my own SHUT UP! blog post.

Part of me still believes the “I SUCK!” step is a necessary part of preparing and giving a good presentation.  But I’m not listening to that, either. The movie-quoted SHUT UPs, from last week’s post, are still ringing in my ears.

Here they are again, just in case anybody needs them today:

But what about the possibility that my old belief is correct: that I HAVE to go through the “I SUCK!” step, in order to do a good job?

TIme will tell, my dear readers, and very soon.

Let’s see if I can find an image, quickly, to end this post, so I can prepare for my presentation.

Here are the two most recent photos on my iPhone:



Those are meals Michael prepared for me and my son, this week, and they included things he had never done before.

I sure hope he skipped the “I SUCK!” step.  Because those meals were DELICIOUS.

Thanks to (again, for the video), to Michael, and to all my readers, who definitely do NOT suck, even when doing something new or scary.

Categories: inspiration, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 17 Comments

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17 thoughts on “Day 338: The joy of doing what scares you

  1. Fear of the unknown can be turned into a motivator, or it can just paralyze you. As you say so well, Ann, the trick is to always use it to your advantage. I look forward to finding out how skipping the “I Suck” step worked out for you. I have that little devil sitting on my shoulder, too, debating with the “but look at what you’ve accomplished” angel.

  2. I’m not sure if the “I suck” step is necessary but it is definitely deeply ingrained in my own process! And, holy cow those meals look great… Bravo Michael!

  3. Ha! Had just been thinking about the “I suck!” element in my own process. How heartening to hear that you’ve transformed your process–and with positive results! Yay you…and yay for us to have you helping us be more mindful, and maybe even kind to ourselves. Great post–thank you. p.s. Agree with Escaping Elegance–two amazing meals those must have been.

  4. Pingback: Day 339: Group Ambivalence | The Year of Living Non-Judgmentally

  5. I always feel that jolt of fear and self-doubt before doing something. Always. Anytime I’ve ever boarded a plan for a solo backpacking trip I’ve had that last minute “why am I doing this?” feeling– same thing with new jobs and new creative projects.
    I do like scaring myself though… Something about conquering a fear gives me an unbelievable high.
    Except for my fear of water. I won’t be facing that anytime soon 😉
    I’ll be interested to hear what happens next– after your “I suck” moment 🙂

  6. Best to you and your loved ones! Thanks for your wonderful blog.

  7. Definitely skip the I suck step and go right to the “I know how to prepare and crush this thing so let’s do it!” step.

  8. Pingback: Day 665: Smiles | The Year(s) of Living Non-Judgmentally

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