Feel the Fear and Do it — a bit

3 Steps to being brave realistically

Trisha Lewis - Unsquashed!
5 min readAug 28, 2021
Feel the fear and do it — step by step over a rickety bridge over water

You have heard the first part of this phrase trotted out — and you might have read the classic book by Susan Jeffers. But — how can you really approach the message behind this well-known phrase?

Try this realistic approach — step by step bravery. Feel the fear — get a bit out of your comfort zone, gather some courage — and do that slightly scary thing. But do it in small steps. Do it though!

As I began to do things on my own, I began to taste the deliciousness of an emerging self-confidence. It wasn’t all comfortable — in fact, a lot of it was extremely uncomfortable. I felt like a child learning to walk and falling frequently. But with each step I felt a little surer of my ability to handle my life. Susan Jeffers

What mini courageous steps can you take along the road to greater competence and confidence — and self-belief?

Give these 3 a go.

Step 1 — Feel the Fear and do it for the right reasons

Chose your brave challenge with an intrinsic motivation and growth mindset.

The Higher Self derives self-worth not from comparison with others, but from an internal focus that is based on valuing growth and learning. Arno Ilgner

Enough said really.

Go back to basics and ask yourself — ‘why am I setting myself this challenge’?

Double check that your reason is not based on any ‘shoulds’ or ‘gurus’ or ‘childhood baggage’.

Compare these scenarios:

You stand on the top diving board with someone behind you yelling — ‘dive!’ ‘You have to dive — you can’t go back now’. ‘Dive — or you will fail to make the top team’.


You stand alone on the top diving board for the tenth time that month. You are determined to overcome your fear of heights. You want to become a top diver for your college. It’s been a personal ambition ever since you were a kid and were glued to the TV watching Klaus Dibiasi win Gold in in the Montreal Olympics.

Which of these conditions has you diving?


Step 2 — Feel the Fear and do it with a sense of achievement

Value your achievement — however tiny it might seem.

When you celebrate your small wins and cradle your strong moments you magnify their impact and bolster your self-belief. Margie Warrell

We are so good at undervaluing our achievements.

It takes a conscious ‘pause’ to reflect on what we have just achieved and give ourselves a pat on the back.

It is also easy to fall into the trap of undervaluing the meaningfulness of what you have achieved.


Too many shouty voices telling us what ‘meaningful’ means.

Meaningful to you and others does not need to involve 6-figure incomes or ‘best-sellers’. A quiet smile and listening ear can be meaningful. A short, imperfect video posted — yes — this is mighty meaningful in your fear-bashing journey.

Step 3 — Feel the Fear and do it more than once!

Do it again! But do it willingly — under your own command.

As Farrah Storr says in her book ‘The Discomfort Zone’ — we all experience ‘brief moments of discomfort’ every day. ‘Don’t have that extra chocolate’, ‘Put the bins out before breakfast’.

We do these things with a high degree of reluctance — because they are imposed on us.

The doctor says I need to lose weight. The bins are collected early morning and we can’t clutter the pavement the night before!’

But in this step your mission is to take control over the small discomfort step.

In a nutshell

You will increase your confidence, self-belief and creativity by entering the ‘discomfort zone’. But do it for your own reasons and value every tiny brave step — it is your step.

A story to illustrate

If I hadn’t stepped tentatively onto a stage at the age of 8 to recite a poem, I might never have toured my own play around the country 40 years later.

If I had backed away from posting a video on LinkedIn 3 years ago — dressed up as a private investigator giving a communication tip — I might never have had my book published in 2021.

I remind myself that these step-by-step achievments are a sign of bravery — I don’t need to climb Mount Everest.

Cast your mind back to PE classes at school. For some this will be an uplifting memory, for others it will be a painful one! I am in the latter camp.

I can still see and smell the gym. I can visualise the moment when I had to join a line of kids in Aertex shirts and navy shorts — and await my turn. My turn to run towards the springboard which was magically supposed to propel me over the thing called a ‘horse’.

I never managed it. I returned to the end of the line to be humilated and feel like an utter failure once more.

Consider this through the lens of the above 3 steps.

If I hadn’t been forced to do it, but instead had created a personal motivation to keep trying…

If I had been kind to myself for simply making it off the springboard and giving it a go…

If I had taken on a few tips and tried again — with a sense of curiosity and learning…

You never know — I might now have a glorious memory of that moment when I sprung and gripped the handles before bringing my legs smoothly under my body and over the top of the faded leather cylinder on wooden legs.

You never know.

Feel the fear — and do it — in bits.

All things human are explored in ‘The Mystery of the Squashed Self’. Available on Amazon — other booksellers to follow.

I have a YouTube Channel with videos on this topic and other communication and confidence tips and I post regularly on LinkedIn.

I work with clients on being visible as them — confidence growing and clarity. Ditching baggage, sharing story and practicing performance. Details at www.trishalewis.com



Trisha Lewis - Unsquashed!

What if we spotted and sorted our 'self squashing ®' - what if we used curiosity as an anitdote to comparisonitis and self-consciousness? Let's see!