I so wished I were there.

On stage. Dancing with my friends. In front of a cheering audience.

Instead, I was watching them from the terraces.

No, I wasn’t sick. Or injured. And nope, they hadn’t expelled me or thrown me out either. I had thrown myself out.

It was tradition at our school. At the end of every year, each class would perform a little dance in front of the rest of the school. No one was obliged to take part. But almost everyone did. Why not?

We’d start rehearsimg for it at the beginning of every year. I was never 100% sure I wanted to be in it, but my teacher encouraged me to practice with the others. Why not?

But, when the moment came, I always pulled out. I couldn’t go out there and face the crowd, even when there were 20 of us on stage and no one would have even noticed me. Why not?


Fear I’d mess up the steps. Fear I wouldn’t move in rhythm with the song. Fear I’d make a fool of myself in front of the whole school, giving my friends no choice but to never speak to me ever again if they didn’t want to be seen as losers, too.

So, there I was. On the terrace. Watching them alone. The last in a long string of opportunities lost because I was too scared to put myself out there.

Like the time when I didn’t even try to join the volleyball team because I wasn’t good enough (even though as I child, I lived and breathed volleyball every day and was a damn good middle blocker).

Or the time I didn’t apply for a summer job because my family thought I was too clumsy to be a waitress (although, there may be some truth in there).

Or all the times I refused to join my friends playing in the sea because I had never learned to swim after I had almost drowned a few years earlier.

I could go on but I won’t. It’s a pretty boring list, isn’t it? It was an even more boring life.

We all have stories like these. Maybe you wouldn’t have thought twice about going on that stage, but I bet there are jobs you didn’t apply for, guys you didn’t ask out and dreams you didn’t chase because you were too scared.

Too scared to fail. Or to succeed. To change.  To be criticized… There are so many reasons why we never even try.

Here are the most common ones – and how to overcome them:

1. You’re Afraid You Will Fail And Look Like A Fool

You won’t get that job. That guy will say no when you ask him out for a drink. No one will buy your book. Better not even try. Play it safe. Watch everyone else do those things instead. Those who have an innate talent and ability for it. They just can’t fail.

How Do You Overcome It?

Become comfortable with failure. Because you will fail, gorgeous. That’s how we learn. Remember all those times you fell down when you were learning how to walk or to ride a bike? Imagine if you had given up then! That’s ridiculous, right?

The truth is, you have to try again and again. Fail one way and try another. Lather, rinse, repeat, until you find what works. That’s what those “infallible” people do. They failed many times before they made it big.

J K Rowling was turned down by 9 publishers before Bloomsbury Publishing signed her on. Steven Spielberg was rejected twice by the University of Southern California’s School of Cinematic Arts. Oprah Winfrey was fired from her first TV job as an anchor in Baltimore.

Everyone fails. It's a necessary stepping stone to success.


2. You’re Afraid You’ll Succeed

Mediocrity is safe. If you play it big and succeed, you’ll make your friends and family so uncomfortable, they’ll leave you. And everyone will ask you to do more and more. Once you succeed one, you have to succeed again and again. Take on bigger responsibilities you don’t feel ready for. That’s too scary. Better keep playing it safe.

How Do You Overcome It?

Stop stealing. I’m not kidding. You playing it small doesn’t serve the world. You have gifts that could make other people's lives better. If you don't use them, you can't help them. Your fear of making people uncomfortable only enables them to play it small too. When you let your own light shine, you give them permission to do the same.

Being authentic won’t just transform your life. It will transform the lives of all those around you, too.

3. You’re Afraid People Will Judge And Criticise You

We all care about what people think, no matter how much we swear we don’t. No one likes to be criticized, judged badly or be called names. Better to just toe the line. Do what everyone else does. Conform.

How Do You Overcome It?

Realise you can’t please everyone. In the words of Dita Von Teese, “You can be the ripest, juiciest peach in the world, and there’s still going to be somebody who hates peaches.”

Yes, your parents may think you’re crazy for turning down your career in finance to become a musician. And those Youtube trolls may think you’re not pretty enough to do videos.

But others will think you’re brave for taking the jump. And your fans will be grateful you took the time to record those videos and upload them online.

You can’t please everyone. So do what sets your heart alight. It’s the only way not to live a life of regret.

4. You’re Afraid Of Change

Change is scary. How do you know that risk will pay off? That if you leave your job to pursue your dream you won’t end up broke and homeless? That if you move abroad you won’t end up all alone, without any friends? That if you start dressing better your old friends won’t think you’ve grown too big for your shoes? Better leave things as they are.

How Do You Overcome It?

Get comfortable with uncertainty. I know, easier said than done. Safety is one of our primary needs, after all.

But, here’s the truth, gorgeous. There are no certainties in this life.

You may be too scared to leave your crappy job only to be made redundant and have to look for another one anyway. You may be too scared to move away from your parents only to discover they’re planning to retire to Florida.

Even if you don’t change anything, things don’t stay the same. The world is changing all the time and if you're not ready to change with it, you'll be left behind. I can’t guarantee you that if you take that leap, everything will turn out hunky dory. But I can guarantee you things have a better chance of going your way if you take the lead and change them yourself, rather than waiting for the world to change them for you.

[clickToTweet tweet=”Everyone fails. It’s a necessary stepping stone to success.” quote=”Everyone fails. It’s a necessary stepping stone to success.”]

5. You’re Afraid Of Facing Your Inner Demons

There’s nothing scarier than that. Those demons are huge beasts with big, booming voices always shouting at you. Telling you you’re a loser who’ll never amount to anything. Never good enough. Never smart enough. Never pretty enough. Their words cut through your heart like a knife. They hurt as hell. The only way to protect yourself is to hide the real you so deep down within you, not even you can reach her anymore. The only way to silence them is to never try anything new. Do as they say. And if that hurts too much, numb the pain. With foods. With alcohol. With drugs. Anything not to hear them anymore.

How Do You Overcome It?

Face them.

I’ll tell you a secret. Those big, scary demons are just tiny little girls. They’re you, at a much younger age. So young, you didn’t know how to deal with all the crappy stuff that happened to you. Like your BFF dumping you for a new friend. Or your teacher calling you stupid for not answering a math question right. Or your parents using you as a pawn in their nasty divorce.

She’s scared. She knows how much it hurts. She wants to keep you safe. Never experience the pain again. So, she puts her big girly pants on and shouts at the top of her lungs that you need to play it safe. All. The Time.

Give her a big hug. Thank her for her concern. Reassure her that you’re a big girl now and you can do this. And wouldn’t she be happy when you both succeed?

Over to you now. What fears have stopped you from going after your dreams?

With love,

Showing 4 comments
  • dana tozer

    I’m actually looking forward to your 7 day challenge, I’m interested to see if it can help me “get out there” and follow MY dreams!

    • Giorgia Guazzarotti

      Dana, thanks! Coming soon.

  • Shivani

    Very aptly put devoid of the over flowery inspirational talk that seems too high up in the clouds to catch up with. Just came across your this website,.content seems very organic, real and relate-able. Loved your Must Risk Delight post!!!! your work is evident to the fact that you’ll receive the same love here as on your other blog! Keep up the good work. 🙂

    • Giorgia Guazzarotti

      Shivani, thanks so much! I feel I came late to the personal development world because I was so put off by the flowery language you’re mentioning. My goal is to inspire people by sharing my personal experiences. I hope people can relate to them and take the action they need to pursue their dreams.

      So glad you loved that post and thank you for your kind words. They mean a lot.

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