Facing Down Fear

About the time I left the corporate world, I had to make some big decisions on how to run my business. What my core principles would be. I decided to use the same principles I use for my personal life. When you own the business, it looks a lot like you anyway.

Some of the values were easy to choose: Be fair. Don’t jump to conclusions. Don’t make up what you think something means, ask. Listen.

"Her wings were only falling leaves, yet she could fly." © Quinn McDonald 2005

“Her wings were only falling leaves, yet she could fly.” © Quinn McDonald 2005

Then came the giant one: No fear. Do not make business decisions out of fear. Don’t make any decision out of fear.

It’s hard to keep that one. I had made business decisions based in fear for a long time–fear of my boss, fear of not meeting the team goals, fear of the competition, fear of getting fired.

A decision based on fear is frequently loaded with other weak motives. Revenge, neediness, lack of control. If you take fear off the table as a motive, your life looks different.

So this week, I made two huge choices that would normally strike fear into me. First, I hired a consultative comptroller–someone who can tell me which line of business is most profitable, and how I’m progressing month to month and year to year. I’m bad about keeping track of expenses, and this business consultant already pointed out two big truths that I have not wanted to consider.

The second decision was to hire a real ad agency to build a website that makes sense for my business. Right now I have a placeholder website and that’s not enough.

In other words, I have decided that growth is something I want to choose. I want to expand the business training I do. I want to do coaching programs. I am amazed that after all the talking I do about the Inner Critic, I have not only been listening to mine, but backing away from playing big. Yep, I have been deliberately playing small because it became my comfort zone.

I was doing too many things to pay attention to any one of them. So I cut back to what I do best: helping people get better at what they like to do. For me that means writing, teaching writing, and coaching people who want to have the life they wish they could deserve.

The whole plan is big and bold and oddly, scary. That means I have to trust that I can do this, write the check to get the process started and leap. It’s what I talk about–being bold. I’m telling you, because you are coming along with me–I’m starting to walk this talk. Stay tuned for late-breaking developments.

Quinn McDonald is a writer and creativity coach. She teaches what she does.

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32 thoughts on “Facing Down Fear

  1. We all know you as a woman with strength of character, integrity, great humour and a strong work ethic so if you know what you want then I’m sure you’ll get it.

    Knowing exactly what you want your life to look like, how you want to spend your time is something I wish I had been counselled and supported in doing 45 years ago, or even 20 years ago . . . but I’m doing it now, hence Late Start Studio.

  2. Just over a year ago there was a job that I wanted but I had no experience. There were many applicants, each with years of experience. My inner critic told me that even if I was given the chance, I would not be able to do the job. I stepped on my inner critic, took the leap & applied. I was given a chance when I was hired for the position. It is a challenge and every day I learn new things. My boss seems happy with all that I have accomplished and I am loving it. You will Soar Quinn!

    • I can’t believe that there is a single thing you don’t want that you can’t build your way toward. I’ve known you for a long time and you are inventive and resilient. Your boss is lucky!

  3. I am on the edge of major changes in my life today so I truly appreciated your words of wisdom. Jumping and planning to build my wings on my way down. I wrote down the quote from Auset in my journal, too. Thank you.

  4. Having read your blog for about 2 years now, I’m sure your next steps will be a great success. I find myself quoting you often from your post on “Possibility Starts Now” to the one about putting paper cups on the tips of the cactus. I love hearing your perspectives on creativity and your observations of the world around you — what your plants are doing, the moon and what spring is like in NM. Thank you so much!

  5. I’ll be cheering you on from the sidelines – I’m a big big believer in leaps of faith. It’s a huge act of courage and I salute your leap, in and of itself :::big high five:::

  6. Excellent news! This expansion will no doubt work well for you, as you have learned so much from nurturing its roots.

    From a strictly selfish point of view, I hope this doesn’t mean that we will no longer get our regular doses of Quinn-ovation from your blog entries.

    • This blog stays. The new website will have its own blog, but it will be limited to writing ideas, helps, tips, and thoughts on language. I still have a lot of planning to do, but this blog has a seven-year history and a long list of people I love to hear from and I want to continue to hear from them.

  7. Great decisions! I’ve started implementing letting go of high-irritation, low-paying pursuits/clients and going after work that is a better fit. It’s a great, freeing feeling. I learned some of that from your coaching. 🙂

  8. Bravo. I am very happy for you. I am sure things will go well. Just reading your blog is enough to infuse confidence in your project. I can’t wait to see how it goes. Good luck. Hugs. Sylvie

  9. Excellent, excellent post. I mean, they are ALL excellent, but this one is doubly so. And I have an “alternative” tag line for you to try on for fit.
    In addition to—“Quinn McDonald is a writer and creativity coach. She teaches what she does” I believe —“Quinn McDonald is a writer and creativity coach. She DOES what she TEACHES” is quite apropos

  10. Dear Quinn, all the best with these decisions. I made mine nearly two years ago and what has ermerged is that my way is to do the things that I fear. I do and I can´t stop anymore because I wouldn´t feel alive. For me it means coping with trauma and I try to welcome and embrace these fears knowing I´ll survive this time. It´s getting better each time – and I still want to do what I do… getting closer to who I am and can be….
    Hugs !

    • I think that’s the big thing–feeling alive, feeling fear as a step, not an end emotion. It sounds like two years of being alive has really made you brave by facing down your fears. I’m proud of you for stepping out!

  11. As I am editing my very first you tube video – never having edited video, on software I just got 2 days ago & finally “exposing” my art from an intensely private heart (I don’t even have a Facebook account yet!) – your post is really hitting home lol One thing that has stayed with me for years is a quote (I cant remember from where) that said ” You think you are building your dream, but your dream is building you.” Over time I have understood it more & more. Whatever events, obstacles, fears you must face in order to make your dream come true will cause you to develop inner strength & build your character. Making your dreams come true is also about becoming the person worthy of success gradually as you build your dreams. I dont know if I am being clear, but I really wish you well with going outside the box, & know that tonight I am outside of it right along with you 🙂

    • Any new skill–from video editing to painting, shows us both what we know and what we don’t know. And for me, change is always about learning something new–which I love. Mixed in with fear of failure. I’ve never wanted to own a big business, but this change will let me do a higher level of work without being a big business. I love the quote, it’s going in my journal. And I hope you post the link to your video when you are finished with it. It’s all brave, and it’s all new and we all have to dare because no one will do it for is.

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