Things I’ve done even though I was afraid

Posted on: Sep 18, 2018

Vision Board 1Last Sunday, I took part in a Vision Board Workshop run by the fantastic Shelly Wilson. A vision board is ‘a visual representation of the things that you want to have, be, or do in your life’, usually a collage of inspiring images and words cut out from magazines.

I was intrigued by the idea of creating a vision board to set long some-term, ‘dream big’ goals, and who better than to guide us through the process than Shelley, who’s literally written the book on motivation.

The funny thing was, my board didn’t turn out at all how I expected.

I’ve heard stories about people going on to buy the exact house or car they cut out of a magazine, so I though that’s what mine would look like: basically, a shopping list on steroids.

But instead of images of things that I wanted to buy or tick off my bucket list, my board ended up being more about attitude.

And when I was explaining it to the rest of the room, I burst into tears.

Vision Board 2Because lately, I’ve been having a real problem with fear. Horrible fears that something terrible is going to happen to the people I care about, to more mundane fears like taking the wrong clothes on holiday or running out of money.

The pessimistic yet benign voice in my head has mutated into a non-stop narrator of doom, constantly berating, nagging and worst-case-scenario-ing. I won’t go into details but needless to say, it’s exhausting.

I’ve been on the waiting list for CBT and have finally got an appointment in the calendar. So it’s no real surprise that when I was making my vision board, all I wanted from the future was a stronger, braver, less fearful me.

Without really thinking about it, I cut out images of a powerful dragon, happy faces, a cat (because cats really have got this self-care thing figured out), and lots of yellow.

And the process didn’t stop there.

As I was driving home mulling over what had caused such an emotional reaction, I thought about all the things I’ve done despite being afraid.

And I thought, wouldn’t it be good to write all those things down as a reminder that fear doesn’t have to hold me back?

So here it is, in no particular order:


  • Handing in my notice (I’ve done this at least 6 or 7 times and have been petrified every time)

  • Handing in my notice for (hopefully) the last ever time before going self-employed

  • Driving in a foreign country

  • Speaking to a room full of people

  • Saying no

  • Having a tattoo (4 at the last count)

  • Getting my nose pierced (never again)

  • Giving blood (not as often as I could)

  • Having a smear test 

  • Admitting that I’m struggling

  • Sorting through my Mum’s clothes when she passed away

  • Going on Nemesis at Alton Towers (time seems to stand still in that queue)

  • Swimming with my head underwater

  • Skiing!


Vision Board 3I’m sharing this because when I confided in a freelancing friend about my voice of doom, she was shocked as she was under the impression that I was cruising along with not a care in the world, mainly because of all the positive posts I was sharing on my company’s social media pages.

We all cherry-pick what we share of our lives online, and I’m guilty of that too.


The reality is, working for yourself is bloody hard.

There are some important conversations going on at the moment about how freelancing can have a negative effect on mental health, so hopefully this will contribute to that discussion in some small way.

I’d love to hear about how you’ve achieved something despite being scared - share your experiences in the comments.

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