Overcoming fear is as simple as admitting you can try

“A man’s got to know his limitations.” ~ Harry Callahan

It’s important to know your limitations, but equally valuable is breaking through them.

Last week, I wrote about having a tooth pulled and reflecting on not being able to do what my oral surgeon does. The teeth pulling part, no, I still can’t do that. I had to return though as pain persisted, and two seconds after looking at me, he said, “You’ve got a dry socket.” Lovely.

Most people say dry socket is horrifically painful. After what I survived in 2009, dry socket is nothing. Still, it was keeping me from sleeping, so I had to do something. My oral surgeon packed the socket, and relief was immediate. Then he asked me if I could do the same on the weekend?

“I could try.”

No hesitation. Just a simple, I could try. And I just did it. Knowing the benefit often makes the seemingly impossible possible.

I’ll admit, I woke this morning with the singular thought that I had to repack the tooth socket. Then, instead of doing it, I hunted around on the interwebs for curved forceps like my oral surgeon’s, before finally settling in with the tweezers from my Swiss Army pocket knife.

It was a process of disseminating doubt and fear: ‘Can I or can’t I?’ And, ‘Do I have the confidence or not?’ And, ‘Can I use these tiny tweezers?’ In the end, impending relief won out, and I just did it.

Sometimes the thought of what we need to do conjures fear, but the reality of what needs to be done is actually quite different. All we have to do to get past the fear is take the small step of admitting that we can try. This is one way to begin changing your personal brand.

Kelly Hobkirk - teaching marketers how to harness strategy, goals, reality, and purpose to connect and do better work.


Kelly Hobkirk has been helping companies succeed in creative ways for nearly 25 years. His work has been featured in Time Magazine, and books by Rockport and Rotovision. Get exclusive articles when you sign up for his monthly newsletter.

Thank you! This is going to feel good.

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