A Professional Guide to Doing the Necessary But Scary Things, Facing Your Fears & Finding Your Voice + Tips to Overcome Imposter Syndrome

In this podcast (episode #269), I speak with N.Y. Times bestselling author and speaker Luvvie Ajayi Jones about how fear is often the enemy of progress, how to become a “professional troublemaker”, what we need to get right within ourselves before we do the things that scare us but also help us grow, the power of doing better, and more!

As Luvvie talks about in her incredible new book, Professional Troublemaker: The Fear Fighter Manual, to get better at being human, sometimes we are going to have disrupt the spaces we are in and become “professional troublemakers”. Yes, life is going to be scary, but we CAN move forward and still live a life that blows our minds, regardless of our fear.

We all have to become more intentional. We should stop and observe how we are operating, asking ourselves if this is actually productive or from a place of routine and comfort. Is what we are doing moving us forward or holding us back? Sometimes we know we should do better, but we are comfortable doing things the way we have been doing them. We have become more at home in our comfort than we should be.

As Luvvie points out, we don’t live audacious lives by accident. Audacity is purposeful. Each day, we must make the decision to be bold and be as true to ourselves and others as we possibly can be. All of us need to make the choice every day to be bold and be better, not just for ourselves but also for our families and our communities!

But we also need to recognize that being better is not just some grand gesture. It is about what we do in the small moments, not just the big moments. This is where we learn how to do better and speak the truth, regardless of our fears and concerns. The times when nobody is watching are just as important as the times when everybody is watching. Our goal should be to really be who we think and say we are.

For many of us, the fear of failure, rejection and disappointment hold us back and keep us stuck in old habits out of comfort, but the truth is we can’t afford to live like this. We can’t afford to lose hope that things can be better — that life can be so much more than where we are right now. Taking risks leads to rewards, even if they are risks!

So, don’t build up your fears and allow them to become dragons in your mind. The “worst-case scenario” is not guaranteed, and, in many cases, it is not as bad as your mind makes it out to be. The dragons you create in your head by giving “no” so much power over your choices can stop you from living the best life you can live.

The thing you are guaranteed to lose if you let fear dominate your mind is the possibility that the “best-case scenario”, whether you are asking for a promotion or putting yourself out there in some other way, actually becomes a reality! In these moments, you need to put your fear in perspective: is it productive (keeping you from physical danger) or is it stopping you from doing something big and bold and becoming better?

As Luvvie notes in her book, you should never let fear become the first factor in your decision-making. Courage is not the absence of fear — it is perfectly normal and human to have fear! True courage is the ability to move past your fears and reach a new level in your understanding and your life.

You can make fear your friend or your foe. Fear can become your friend when you recognize it as a sign that this is a moment where you are called to grow. To become fearless doesn’t mean that you have no fear; it means that you are not going to do less because of your fear. It means that you choose courage in both the small and big moments.

At the end of the day, it is far better to live a “oh well I tried life” than a “what if” life. Even if things don’t work out as planned, at least you had the courage to step out and learn something about yourself! It is far worse to sit back and wonder if things would have been different and let your regrets eat away at you.

You need to learn how to take up the space you have been given. Don’t shape shift and bend yourself backwards for other people’s likes and dislikes, or you will wake up one day and realize that you have bent yourself out of shape. If the people around you think you are “too much”, then leave, or make them leave! If your star is too bright for them, then that is their problem, not yours. Don’t diminish your gifts to make other people comfortable. Nobody wins when you are self-deprecating.

LEARN HOW TO BE: take ownership of your own “dopeness”. Work on your issues and limiting beliefs — the things that have held you back or made you feel that you are not deserving of a great life. Get to know your core values — the things that center you.

LEARN HOW TO SAY: practice speaking up and not being silent, especially when it is hard, because your voice and story matters!

LEARN HOW TO DO: make something happen — make your words matter. Put your feet to the pavement! Take action so that you can move your life forward and transform the way you live.

For more on overcoming fear and living your best life, listen to my podcast with Luvvie (episode #269) and check out her website, books and blog.

Mental health expert. I have spent the last 30+ years researching ways to help people manage mental health issues in school, work, and life: drleaf.com

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