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Being Afraid and Doing It Anyway - Katharine Chestnut

Being Afraid and Doing It Anyway

In my book, Inner Affirmations, I shared a story about the expansion of one of my businesses, a coworking space.

The project terrified me. There were so many things to keep track of — finances, renovations, along with running the existing coworking space while continuing to nurture and grow the community within. It felt like everything was at stake for me personally.

The expansion was necessary, and I couldn’t grow that business any other way. My fear felt paralyzing at times. 

I forged ahead anyway. 

Embracing Vulnerability

“Embracing our vulnerabilities is risky but not nearly as dangerous as giving up on love and belonging and joy—the experiences that make us the most vulnerable. Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light.” 

Brené Brown

I’ve learned that I have to be vulnerable — Dr. Brene Brown did a great job of helping us all understand how powerful the experience of vulnerability really is. 

I knew that I wanted to write a book for years. I also knew that the process of sharing my story would require me to be open, honest, and really vulnerable.

To get to that level of vulnerability, it felt really unsafe. It took me time (and years of healing) to feel like I could get more vulnerable while writing this book. I had lived in fear for many years while in an abusive marriage. Living in fear can take a significant toll on us as human beings. 

How Fear Sabotages Creativity

“Fear takes its toll on your nervous system over time — bracing yourself for disaster can have a real impact on mental and physical health,” reports the School of Life. Living in a state of fear, for me, wasn’t really living. I braced myself, was tense all the time and in a constant state of fight, flight, or freeze. I felt incapable. At times, I felt incredibly stupid. 

Being in that mindset is debilitating and, unfortunately, quite common. “Easily terrified people aren’t stupid; they may even be among the brightest. It is just that somewhere in their history, the mental equipment designed to distinguish logically between relative dangers has been destroyed. They have – somewhere along the line – received such a very big fright that pretty much everything has now grown frightening.”

It took me years to feel anything close to “ready”. When I wasn’t 100% terrified about telling my story (along with having to consider possible retaliation), I was still scared to write a book. 

I still understood that I couldn’t let fear stop me from at least preparing for its publication. 

Being Ready vs. Being Prepared

Trust Your Inner Wisdom Meditation
Discovering guided meditations on Insight Timer helped me to listen deeply to my own inner wisdom and quiet my fears.
Listen to my newest one here.

I wasn’t ready to share my story, but knew that I could do things to help me feel better prepared for the day that I knew would come eventually.

Planning is a wonderful way to make space for future opportunities. It’s also a great way to manage stress, so it’s really just a great self-care tool to have in your toolbox.  

Self-help author Robert Epstein found that 25% of your happiness hinges on how well you manage stress. “The stress management technique that worked best, according to the survey: planning. In other words, ‘fighting stress before it even starts, planning things rather than letting them happen,’ says Epstein. ‘That means planning your day, your year and your life so that stress is minimized.’”

I wasn’t ready to write the book until now. I feel no shame that it’s taken more than a dozen years to feel as ready as I am now. Perhaps people weren’t ready to hear the message … and I certainly wasn’t ready to share this part of it yet. 

In order to create a path for my book, I needed a roadmap. And that’s what I worked on. Strategy and planning is one of my happy places.

Getting Ready for Growth

Sometimes it takes something dramatic to get us to DO THE THING. For me, the pandemic forced me, along with the rest of the globe, inside more and required more creative solutions to our daily lives. That’s when I decided to officially launch the book project.

I hadn’t been ready to be that vulnerable before — I needed to get a little further along my path of healing. I trusted myself and the path I’d prepared for the book. 

And here we are now: Inner Affirmations is available for pre-order starting on September 14!

Being afraid is normal in new situations. Now I just have to keep all the plates spinning at once. I approach challenges as opportunities to order grow and thrive. These opportunities appear every day and I embrace them … even if I’m scared. 

You can preorder an autographed copy of the book starting September 14! Learn more here.