by Niall Doherty

About ten years ago I read for the first time a book entitled Feel The Fear And Do It Anyway. Author Susan Jeffers wrote that all fear boils down to a simple belief: I won’t be able to handle it.

For example…

  • If I mess up that speech, everyone will laugh at me and I won’t be able to handle it.
  • If I get lost in this strange, foreign city, I won’t be able to handle it.
  • If I ask that person out on a date and they reject me, I won’t be able to handle it.
  • If I lose my job, I won’t be able to handle it.

As Jeffers points out in the book though, everyone alive to read her words has handled everything life has thrown at them thus far. Perhaps they haven’t handled everything well, but they’ve handled it all nonetheless.

Her point is that we should give ourselves more credit, to listen more to that inner child with the uneven socks…

“Promise me you’ll always remember: You’re braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.” – Christopher Robin to Winnie the Pooh

This is nice and true and reassuring and everything, but the deeper reality of self-trust is that it takes a while to develop. I think of it like a muscle: The more you exercise it, the stronger it gets.

These days, I trust myself pretty well when it comes to blogging. It happens quite frequently that I’ll have no idea what to write about just a few hours before I’m due to publish a post, but I know from experience that I’ll always come up with something at least half-decent that will resonate with a good chunk of my readers. I didn’t always have that self-trust though. It took a while to develop it.

A couple of years ago, I wasn’t all that self-assured about my plan to travel around the world without flying. So I did a test run, hitchhiking more than a thousand kilometers through Europe. After handling that adventure, I trusted myself more to take on the global journey. And my travel confidence has only continued to increase as I’ve made my way east, handling whatever the road threw at me.

You might not trust yourself very much to go after the things you most want in life. If so, I’d urge you to start training that muscle. Step out of your comfort zone regularly and watch it expand. Get comfortable with the baby steps and soon you’ll be taking giant leaps.

See, we’re all capable of doing extraordinary things, just like we’re all capable of running a marathon; all it takes is some consistent practice to get there.

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