Do Something That Scares You

Eleanor Roosevelt famously said “do one thing everyday that scares you”. She suggested that the same, small things that make us uncomfortable are also the things that help us build courage. I have to believe she’s talking about more than going through haunted houses, riding roller coasters or jumping out of airplanes.

Most people are scared of the unknown. Thanks to generations of learned behavior, our brains are hard-wired for survival. Once we feel confident in our physical and emotional safety, we’re reluctant to introduce any unknown elements into our lives. Our brains are screaming: “Hey! You’re finally comfortable. Don’t go messing it up!”

As a student of Fine Art, I was constantly confronting fear. Professors often interrupted perceived patterns and forced me past my comfort zone. If we’re not engaging with our fears, we’re not creating something new and ultimately realize that we’re working within existing conventions. It’s true that sometimes we will fail, but simply by taking steps outside our comfort zone we learn, grow and expand our horizons. I took this mindset with me to my first design job, where -- without any previous professional experience -- I threw myself into the role. I felt scared, but I was able to recognize that this fear meant opportunity.

“In the end it all comes down to this: you have a choice between giving your work your best shot and risking that it will not make you happy, or not giving it your best shot — and thereby guaranteeing that it will not make you happy. It becomes a choice between certainty and uncertainty. And curiously, uncertainty is the comforting choice.”

~ David Bayles,  Art & Fear: Observations on the Perils (and Rewards) of Artmaking

At Kaleidoscope Management Group, I am constantly challenged and pushing beyond my comfort zone. I often try new ideas, striving for the best solution to meet our clients’ needs. With each new challenge, I realize that I’m not scared anymore. Each time I’m presented with a new challenge, I stop and remind myself: “I once was scared to be exactly where I am right now.” I have learned that I can get through the next task that frightens me. Try. Survive. Repeat. This Halloween, tackle the ghosts, goblins, witches and vampires in your life. Do something new because it scares you.