…Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy.” – Dale Carnegie
For this quote we can thank American writer and lecturer Dale Carnegie. I stumbled upon this one last night, and couldn’t help but think to myself that this advice came right on time:
To the point, a senior leader recently asked me to work with him on a project. It’s theoretically work I should be pretty good at, but I’m juggling more big balls in the air than at any other point in my life right now: Between planning a major life event, embarking on a new web partnership, learning R, fulfilling several copy commitments, and escalating day-to-day responsibilities at work, the prospect of also completing this new project has just felt daunting.
As such, the past couple of weeks I’ve retreated to the familiar, tackling all of the easy items on my two-do list while making mere cursory efforts towards tackling bigger challenges. In many ways this has been out of character for me – I normally relish the sense of urgency that comes with being so busy one’s head is spinning. In this case, however, juggling the expectations of so many different stakeholders at once began to weigh on me mentally: Eventually the enormity of everything got the better of me, and subconsciously I began pulling away from the challenges at hand instead of digging in and going to work. I understand now that this is because for the first time in a while I feel truly overextended, and the prospect of failure on one or more engagements is a real possibility.
With that said, pushing things off to another day has done nothing to alleviate the anxiety I’ve been feeling. And in a long moment of quiet reflection last night, I realized that the only way to ease the pressure slowly building around me is to stand up under it and soldier on.
…And so I worked very late into the night and got some things done: Not even close to everything, but I made a small dent. It felt good to make progress, and I got some of my confidence back. I realize now that I actually can pull everything off.
I say that to say that as we get started this week don’t be afraid. And don’t focus on the bigness of the tasks in front of you. Instead, just start where you are and do what you can.
You’re probably closer to success than you think.