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START: Face the Fear & Just Do it Anyway

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“There are two mistakes one can make along the road to truth. Not going all the way, and not starting.” Siddhartha Gautama

Start: Face the Fear & Just Do it Anyway... Image via Wikipedia

As humans, we experience a wide range of emotions, see Plutchik’s wheel of emotions above, and one of them is FEAR. I have my share of fears and have written about some of them here (flying & grace) and on my Positive Kismet blog (childhood & writing). The fear of dying, public speaking and the fear of failing are probably three of the biggest fears that most humans grapple with. But there is another that we don’t quite call a fear and it is probably bigger or perhaps I should say, more common than the three mentioned earlier — the fear of starting – something new, something different, something out of the box, something against the norm or even innovative.

Even as bloggers, we come to our page everyday and have to make a decision about what we write; Is it safe? Is it controversial? Is it thought-provoking? Is it relevant to our niche/theme/group consciousness/karma quotient … and on and on? We weigh our options, check in with our barf meter and call the shot on what we deem news that’s fit to print. As humans, we worry about all kinds of things and even when we acknowledge our fears we still worry. But the bigger question remains: What are we afraid of starting and why? 🙂

Today, I took a moment to read through a new book by one of my favorite authors, Seth Godin, and it is this new book that inspired this post. The new book is called Poke The Box and it is a book that both challenges and encourages us to push past our reluctance to start things that matter to us; even in the face of enormous fear. It is “a book about taking initiative; a first step to creating change.”

Seth Godin is a bestselling author, has written 12 books, writes a daily blog, and recently made huge waves in the publishing industry when he left the traditional route and started his own imprint, The Domino Project. Poke the Box, is the first book published under his imprint and is available via The Domino Project. He also collaborated with Amazon to offer the book in two formats; hard copy and kindle also now available.

Start: Face the Fear & Just Do it... Photo of Seth Godin

What I enjoyed about the book is that he challenges us with questions and insights that will make us think about why we truly hold back. For instance: if you were invited to give the talk of your life, as TED Talks invites one to do – What would it be about? or If you could build anything (without worrying about resources and stuff) what would it be? He asks other provocative questions. He offers real life examples of people who poked the box, took the initiative to try a new way, do a new thing and even if failure loomed, did it anyway.

Poke The Box is choc-a-bloc with inspiring, motivational tips, stories, questions, quotations and insights on the subject of starting and failing and starting and succeeding and doing it again and again anyway. But we have to decide first if we are ready to take that leap… or as Seth often says … ready to ship. Actually, the decision is not whether to take a leap and start but to just leap anyway. To just Go for it. The results will amaze us and we will be stronger, more resilient for having tried. I encourage you to poke the box and read Seth’s book. Following our dreams depend on it. What are we afraid of? What is holding you back? What are your thoughts? 🙂

Have you started a project and abandoned it because you were afraid of public opinion, reactions from your friends, colleagues, enemies? What are you doing about it? Do Share!

Positive Motivation Tip: Until we try, we never know how far we can go and grow. Even failure is a great teacher and motivator. Poke the box!

CREDITS/ATTRIBUTIONS: Photo of Roda Emosi Plutchik’s Wheel of Emotions by Machine Elf 1735 via Wikipedia
Photo of Seth Godin at Triiibes MeetUp NYC 2010 from my personal collection.

Until Next Time…
Ask. Believe. Receive. ©
Elizabeth Obih-Frank
Mirth and Motivation
Positive Kismet

36 Comments leave one →
  1. 05/03/2011 2:49 am

    “The Fear of Starting” is definitely one of my fears! I guess I’m not on my own in that respect, as I have heard it so many times from friends, family – and from fellow bloggers!
    Starting is the hard part, because once we take the bull by the horns and actually start, we wonder why we were hesitant, so what is the fear we have initially? Perhaps I should get a copy of Seth’s book.

    • 05/03/2011 1:39 pm

      Exactly, once we grab that bull by the horns we can run with it… just starting is a tougher call. I think you’ll enjoy the book. It’s a quick read too. I find when I delay on projects they don’t go away; they just grow new wings and stand around waiting to be addressed. lol! 🙂
      Thank you,

  2. 05/03/2011 3:30 am

    LOL, this is too funny as I have been procrastinating publishing my book of poems. The Fear of Finishing…is more like my motto. Just do it, what a statement for me. I love Seth and did not get any of his books yet…but Now I am inspired as your book review was brilliant. I need to get Seth’s book when I get paid. 🙂

    • 05/03/2011 1:42 pm

      You’ll enjoy the book Jackie and what makes it a fun as well as informative read are the examples and wonderful quotes he uses. It is also not a very long book. I read it in one sitting and was truly inspired. I will be using some of his excellent quotes in posts. Really great and helpful read. I didn’t want to add spoilers as there is more in the book to help us all. 🙂

  3. 05/03/2011 5:29 am

    Fear blocks courage. Rage sometimes knocks down the fear. Or creativity and joy sometimes push away all angst …
    greetings by

    • 05/03/2011 1:44 pm

      Rage can be an instigator to get things done. I agree… On occasion, it has worked for me and helped me focus on the task at hand… But starting in general can be a monster. 🙂
      Thank you!

  4. 05/03/2011 9:40 am

    I will definitely get his book. I am usually pretty brave about starting new things, so that isn’t one of my fears. I have others though. I can identify with Jackie about fear of finishing. I have been known to get 99% done and… no finish. My husband is the worst about not finishing. I remember watching Dr. Phil once and it was about not finishing projects around the house. The husband was very handy, as is mine, but nothing ever got completely finished. Dr. Phil said, “As long as it’s not finished it can’t be judged. It’s more about fear of judgment.” Talk about your ‘aha’ moments!
    Thanks for another thought provoking post Elizabeth!

    • 06/03/2011 1:12 am

      When I read your comment, I went wow, there is more to this thing we call … fear.
      It comes from many angles even at the final stages.
      I like that idea of the fear of finishing…
      Another thing I just remembered is the good old fear of success; same family of fears, right?
      TY for your insightful feedback 🙂

  5. 05/03/2011 11:39 am

    Where I get the 5-Question is linked in every 5QF post…

    • 06/03/2011 1:09 am

      Okay got it… and I responded to you. Thank you! 🙂

  6. Bree permalink
    05/03/2011 12:22 pm

    Seth’s books are thought-provoking and this sounds like a great one to get.
    The thing with starting is that whenever I’m able to push through my fear and start, all goes as planned.
    The big problem is starting! Great post.

    • 06/03/2011 1:07 am

      Yes… the big issue is getting our foot in that door and then it becomes easier.
      However, a couple of my friends above, brought up another angle; fear of finishing!
      See… and we thought we could get our mind to cooperate! We can … with great effort. 🙂

  7. 05/03/2011 3:47 pm

    As Jackie said, I more have the fear of finishing!

    • 06/03/2011 1:04 am

      That is such an interesting point, you know?
      We look at the fear of starting and then we must look at its twin! 🙂
      Very insightful. TY!

  8. 05/03/2011 4:58 pm

    Great advice, Eliz.

    At the moment, who I am is EXACTLY who I want to be . . . no fear. Just go with the flow and allow the path to unfold before me. Moment by moment and step by step.

    When we let go of the past, we have two arms available to embrace the future. Be Here Now. Enjoy the journey.

    • 06/03/2011 1:03 am

      Yep, we march along moment by moment and before we know it, we are there; at our goal’s door.
      Oh the weight of the past … Yes!
      My post today addresses that one too. Thank you! 🙂

  9. 05/03/2011 11:31 pm

    I’m also a big fan of Seth, I just finished reading Tribes, another great motivator. I certainly understand this fear and agree with Barbara that for me it feels more like the fear of judgement. As a fairly new blogger I still grit my teeth, close my eyes and hold my breath every time I hit Publish. It’s scary. But on the upside – it feels really good knowing that I’m facing the fear head on.

    • 06/03/2011 1:00 am

      I hear you Sheri, We all have that fear especially in the beginning and then we find ways to do it even with the fear… or it goes away.
      Seth’s book is a quick and uplifting read so go for it.
      Thanks for stopping by! I will visit and say hello too. 🙂

  10. 06/03/2011 4:47 am

    I am enjoying my time on your blog. My smile is growing and my heart is easing. I am beginning to read again and it tickles my soul. There are so many wonderful things in books! I have never heard of this author, but his challenge to his readers, seems to be: Live life to the fullest and give the world all of you! As my appetite for words grows maybe it will lead me to Seth Godin.

    • 15/05/2011 6:21 am

      I’m glad I came back to this post as I simply missed the extra comments here!!! Yes Donna, Seth is truly a master at both marketing and delivering on our game-plan. I encourage you to buy/read his books. I mean, after 12 books he knows the little tricks our minds play to sabotage our efforts. Now if he could help me publish my book, I’ll be set. lol! 🙂

  11. 06/03/2011 5:02 am

    Hi Eliz, this is a very informative posting, and I certainly will take the time to check out Seth Godin’s Poke the Box. The inquiry about how to take the intiative in our lifes is important. As we all know it is our own fears that hold us back. Fear at times is an illusion–the mind lost in thought. I came across the TED Talks on the Charlie Rose show a few weeks back and found it fascinating. A host of artists, scientists, philosophers, speaking with power and humility about their achievements and goals. Powerful stuff there.
    Thanks for your thought provoking posts

    • 15/05/2011 6:25 am

      Thanks for checking in Walter… The TED Talks are phenomenal; ditto Seth’s body of work. I am always in awe when I listen to those talks as each speaker brings body, mind and soul to their presentation; they dig deep and deliver from a core that speaks to all of us. Do read Seth’s book when you can, you won’t be disappointed. 🙂

  12. 06/03/2011 10:09 am

    Eliz: Facing our fear and just do it anyway! That certainly hit home to me. To start a blog of my own, as I love to write-but I’m no “Best Selling Author” by all means. Just a rookie-wanting to venture out with a dream-it took me months to get the courage-“TO JUST GO FOR IT”- and here I am and enjoying every minute of it. 😀

    • 15/05/2011 6:28 am

      Penny, your story is my story and the story many other bloggers share. We came to this with trepidation and found that after a bunch of posts, we were going to be fine. The sky didn’t fall and the children were fed. Life continues and we get better at it each day. I am a turtle with things; a late bloomer, so I don’t get worked up by what I see on the blogging world’s success channel. Our time in the sun will come and not a minute late. 🙂

  13. 06/03/2011 11:49 am

    Thank you, Eliz…I will definitely check out this book and author…have heard of him…but have not read his work.
    I think NOT doing something also takes courage. 🙂
    Sometimes, we feel we MUST do something because: others are depending on us, it is the right thing to do, we have always done it, etc.
    Yesterday, I was sooooo sick 🙁 that I actually did not even go online…I’ve been burning the candle at both ends recently…and my body just gave out…went to the urgent care and fortunately, the doc says it is “just” an upper respiratory infection…but my cough sounds (and feels) like there is a cage full of angry lions, pacing about…and I could barely move.
    It really took a lot of courage to NOT write a post yesterday…and I may have to pass on today, if I want to use my energy for reading and answering emails.
    Another thought…sometimes, we start something, but don’t see it through…not because we are afraid of failure…but because we fear success.

    • 15/05/2011 6:33 am

      You nailed it with your insights and comments. There are lots of reasons why we don’t complete tasks and sometimes, it can be the burden of past events, our responsibilities, fear of success, paralysis of starting and on… Seth’s book addresses many of these pernicious demons and offers some exercises and insights on dealing with them…. At the end of the day, we just have to jump in; feet first… I know you are now feeling better! I can’t believe I missed some of these comments. Apologies. 🙂

  14. 06/03/2011 5:33 pm

    Two of the commentators above said they have a fear of finishing. Ditto. Actually, I think I may have both – the fear of starting and the fear of finishing. In my case, the fear is that a task might end up taking more effort than I’m willing to exert. Er, maybe that’s not fear then.It’s probably laziness.

    I heard Seth Godin’s name before, but I didn’t know who he was. Though I read mostly fiction, sometimes I also read motivational works. I’m thinking of checking out Poke The Box, especially since you gave such a good review of it. Thanks for the suggestion! 🙂 Another one I’m planning to check out is The Time Paradox, by Philip Zimbardo, which my husband has been raving about.

    I followed you through GFC on your Positive Kismet blog. I used to sign in with my Twitter account, but I created a Blogger profile and switched to that. I’m not sure how it works, though. Am I supposed to get updates on the Blogger dashboard? I noticed that when I was using my Twitter account, I wasn’t getting any updates from anyone.

    • 15/05/2011 6:40 am

      Oh dear!
      I can’t believe you asked me about this over a month ago and we never discussed it again… By now, you know we don’t get anything on the blogger dashboard but lists of blog we follow and a backdoor to our blog… Sorry! 🙁
      The updates we get on Twitter are from what we set up there, not from blogger…
      Definitely read Poke the Box and let me know what you think… Actually, I’ll shoot you an email to confirm. It is a terrific read. I will check out Zimbardo’s book too as I read an Amazon review. 🙂

  15. 06/03/2011 5:46 pm

    Wow! Definitely a few things to think about. I’m one of those who has a fear of starting new things. I’m definitely going to look into that book. Thanks for sharing.

    • 15/05/2011 6:40 am

      Enjoy the read Pam. You won’t be disappointed.! 🙂

  16. 06/03/2011 9:33 pm

    I always enjoy your posts. This one in particular spoke to me. I think that the fear of starting has been more of an issue for me than the fear of finishing. Once I start, I’m good. I look forward to checking out Seth Godin’s publications. Thanks for sharing this information. Also, I thank you for checking on me. I am well. Work and travel has kept busy during the last few weeks. I should be back on a regular posting schedule this coming week. Blessings.

    • 15/05/2011 6:49 am

      Hi Wyletter,
      I’ve been swamped in my corner of the world and have finally started catching up on comments left on my blog. I know you have been busy with work and the move… How are you adjusting to that one?
      I do send you prayers and blessings… Definitely visit Seth’s blog and read his books; I added a link to his blog above. He is terrific, knowledgeable and a friendly, down to earth guy. 🙂

  17. 06/03/2011 9:32 pm

    I love Seth Godin!! I’m actually listening to Mitch Joel’s interview with him, just released a few minutes ago 🙂

    I’ve begun to embrace the spirit of Seth Godin’s work in my own life, but Robert Kiyosaki and Abraham Hicks deserve some of the credit, too.

    I just set up my blog here (link below, not on my name above) so I could talk more freely about how I’m getting out there and doing things I never expected of myself. It’s exhilarating, but challenging in some ways.

    I find that as I move forward, there’s counter-actions from some of those around me that I have to deal with as well. Or, allow, and relax through. Sometimes the hard part is in the social group changes :*(

    The Mesovert

    • 15/05/2011 6:45 am

      Thanks for stopping in Jill and I recall stopping by your blog sometime ago. I will visit again to say hello., Seth’s book is terrific for anyone struggling with new beginnings of any sort. A social media and blog transition fits perfectly. Do get a copy and read it… I love Robert Kiyosaki and Abraham Hicks too but each man, like Seth, has his own unique message and approach. 🙂
      Good luck with all the changes.!


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