I’ve been at this game long enough to see a lot of people come and go. The overwhelming majority of bloggers I met in and around 2006 are no longer active. It was around this time that I met John Chow for the first time (this was before we started sharing our Dot Com Pho videos on YouTube!), and it was through that connection that I met a lot of fellow bloggers.
A very common scenario that we’ve seen time and time again is that people will burst out of the gate like a bat out of hell. They start out super enthusiastic about blogging (or these days it might be vlogging or podcasting or whatever else), so they release a flurry of content all at once. Then, it very quickly fizzles away, because they’re not seeing the results they had hoped for, and they’re never heard from again.
Almost surprisingly, the exact opposite scenario is perhaps just as common. Rather than going in with too overzealous a spirit and quickly running out of steam, they never get started at all. They don’t get started, because they’re waiting for this or that. They’ll do it someday, they tell themselves. Except someday never comes. And a big part of that has to do with fear.
Fear Gets You Nowhere
Oh, I can’t get started with my YouTube channel yet because I don’t have a good enough camera. Oh, I can’t start my podcast yet, because I don’t have the time to find the right guests. That blog will get started as soon as I find the perfect WordPress theme to use. How many times have you heard some variation of these statements? Maybe you’ve said a few of them yourself.
But underlying all of these excuses — and they are just excuses — is an element of fear. If you never get started, then you’ll never fail, right? Of course, you’ll never succeed either. That same kind of fear is what may dissuade you from starting something new, like a YouTube channel or a blog or an Instagram account.
You’re afraid of putting yourself out there for public scrutiny, because we know just how brutal and heartless the comment section can be. Indeed, the only thing worse than a hateful comment is being met with no comments at all.
Acclimatized to the Situation
Do you know what’s the only way you’ll ever overcome that fear? In the world of psychology, there’s a treatment called exposure therapy. It’s most commonly used with people who want to overcome their phobias, as well as other fears or sources of anxiety or distress.
Basically, if someone is scared of dogs, you expose them to dogs. The first step might be for them to be in the same room as a dog on a leash. Then, you remove the leash. Then, the dog comes closer. Eventually, the person can pet or play with the dog, and they overcome that fear. The more you are exposed to a thing you fear while facing no to minimal negative repercussions, the easier it is for you to overcome that fear. You no longer associate the feared object with a frightened feeling.
You can probably guess where I’m going with this.
Do It Again and Again and Again
Maybe the reason why you’re afraid of starting a YouTube channel is that you’re scared of talking in front of the camera. So, guess what? Start talking in front of the camera. It’s going to be uncomfortable at first, of course. But, the more you do it, the more you’ll get used to it, and the more you’ll realize you have nothing to fear.
To put it simply, you become desensitized to camera shyness. The same holds true for so many aspects that might go into being an online influencer and content creator. The first time you’re asked to give a talk or presentation at an event, you’re going to be nervous. The second time, a little bit less so. By the 100th time, you’ll have developed a style and a rhythm where being asked to give an impromptu talk is like a walk in the park.
You can become desensitized to the nervousness of public speaking, just as you can with media interviews or even rejection. Actors, comedians, musicians, and other people in the entertainment business get rejected all the time. They could hear hundreds of no’s before they get their first yes.
You may be uncomfortable, scared or anxious at first… until you just do it, consistently, over and over again, over an extended period of time. Then, you’ll develop the confidence you need to look, act and feel completely natural.
You Live, You Learn, You Grow
Expose yourself to these sorts of “scary” situations frequently. They say that nothing grows in your comfort zone, so you do need to step into the deep end of the pool every now and then. Through this process of rapid immersion, you can not only overcome the fear that’s holding you back, but if you’re lucky, you’ll also benefit from the power of immediate feedback. Just be prepared to face the wrath of the comment section. The Internet can be a scary place, after all.