As 2015 came to a close and 2016 started, I’ve been thinking a lot about my plans for the new year and how to get things done, and what are the major impediments to getting things done. Reflecting on this, it seems that fear seems to be a major impeding factor. People don’t do things because they’re afraid.
So, I’ve decided this will be the year of fearlessness for me. I’ll do all the things I haven’t tried because I feared the outcome. And not life or death things. I mean, fear is there to help us preserve our lives. Listen to that fear when you consider heading into a dark alley.
But our brain often sends out fear signals when the outcomes are, at worst, uncomfortable. It’s a fear of failing, a fear that something won’t go the way we want it to. A fear that the end result will be embarrassing. And it’s those kinds of fears we need to get away from. Not that we ignore, them entirely, but that we simply look at the worst case scenarios, and figure out how we might deal with that.
This year, my plan is to put out more content and earn more readers with that content.
One of the things I’ve been considering for a while is trying free with the first in a series. I hadn’t done it because I was a bit afraid of what would happen. What if it robbed me of income I would otherwise get? What if people who downloaded the freebie gave it bad reviews because they got it free and picked a book that wasn’t right for them? What if it was a complete waste of my time and be ineffective in driving sales to the other books (a primary reason for being free)?
And you know what I realized? None of those what ifs were so bad. My books haven’t done nearly as well as I would like, so the income lost by offering the first free would be negligible. If it got bad reviews because of an incompatible reader, then I’d have to deal with it. Frankly, I think people who get a bad fit book tend to be angrier if they’ve actually paid money for it. And if it’s a complete waste of time, then I’ve absolutely learned something about free.
So last week, I decided to give free a try for Life First. I don’t have any conclusions yet. I’ve had a decent number of downloads, but not a lot of pickup of the remaining series yet. But, as we know, free downloads take a while before they get read.
And that’s the other part of fear that has to be conquered — the waiting and the second guessing. You have to trust that you made the right choice, and ignore fear when it tries to creep back again. Because it will. Fear is sneaky that way. It likes to say, “Turn back. You’ve made a huge mistake.” And not to be mean, but to protect you. However, if you’ve already decided the worst the fear had to offer was what you could deal with, then you’ve got to forge ahead, or you can’t come out on the other side victorious. You can’t get the upside of what you were hoping for if you turn back midstream.
So, for me, this is the year of forging ahead, and leaving fear behind. I think we should all do that. Roosevelt was right when he suggested there was nothing to fear but fear itself. If you parse out the things you’re afraid of, you take away their power, and return power to its rightful owner: you.
Happy fearless Friday to you. Be brave. Be bold. Be beautiful.