I loved journalism school, but for someone with anxious tendencies (such as myself), it wasn’t the most relaxing of times. We were taught to always second-guess ourselves — in other words, we were asked to be in a perpetual state of fear. One professor often said that we should be trembling with apprehension as we handed in our articles: you can never check your work quite thoroughly enough. You just do your best by the deadline, and hold your breath until your next assignment.
I now work in a field where fearlessness is prized, perhaps even more than in reporting. Doubt is the enemy. Self-confidence, even self-righteousness, is something to aspire to. I get it: often times all signs point to you being wrong, until suddenly you’re right.
This is why the recent articles on failure seem to have resonated so strongly with entrepreneurs and businesspeople of all stripe. If you’re always fearless and never second-guess yourself, you’ll be wrong at some point. It’s comforting to know that happens to others, too.
I still shake a little bit with fear when I hit “publish” on a blog post. I get positively nauseous when sending a newsletter to 103,000 people, if only for a second. That’s a good thing.
Today I took a risk on a racy headline. The response has been amazing: Twitter high-fives, private messages on the “gutsy move”, and quite a few shares. Nice traffic, too. Getting over the nausea, the knot in my stomach, is paying off.