Skin in the game

Winning inside your head

Past fear is peace

I’m jumping over the cliff for the second time, figuratively. 

Back in 2015 I had my first run trying to set up an online business around the niche that I specialize in, which was online fraud, specifically on dating sites and in classified ads. However, back then I did not specialize, or knew anything, about online marketing, or how to build a brand, and the fledgling online security blog failed only after being online for 2 years.


Back then I had to overcome the impostor syndrome, the feeling that you are not good enough to talk about the topic, or teach others. For sure, I did know about the topic more than 99% of my readers, but still the feeling of being a fraud myself lingered.


Now that experience is, gladly, more in the open. There are studies and TedX talks about us impostors. Creative people doing something unconventional face the same internal struggle, each and every time. 


Beyond that specific label, I see it as a part of a larger mental resistance. It’s the fear of exposure. Showing your face. 


Coming out to the open, bringing in what you know, and then responding to the feedback. That thought is scary for many. But how to get over it, and just do it?


I have some friends who have talked about starting a YouTube channel or doing this and that online, but they never get to it. Others just simply post, seemingly without any discretion or caution.

How to get over the fear of social exposure?

Every morning when I wake up, I say to myself that this is another day I’m going to push myself and post stuff online. Certainly, here I don’t mean the basic Instagram post.


I mean professional content, ads and videos where I position myself as a teacher. Outside of my comfort zone. For now.


The internal resistance is temporary, because the more volume I add to my online presence, by posting ads and videos, fears and doubts disappear quickly.


I’m always surprised after doing something that challenges me, because once I’m over the fence, I am stunned by the ease: Was it actually that simple?’

 

And for a good measure, it really is. For years I used to dread that starting a sole proprietorship and doing all the related paperwork is going to be hard. Until I did it in Malta, and it was the easiest thing I did with the public administration over there, famous for being anything but. Now, I did the same thing in Finland, 5 year later. How hard can it be to fill some papers?


Not only was the paperwork simple with multiple good online guides, but I also received a public start-up money to help me the first 6 months. I was a bit dumbfounded how easy it was to get. I don’t like handouts, so I wasn’t putting much effort to the application either.

The Formula for Getting over that Anxiety 

The problem with the mind is that it is a problem generator, because it needs something to solve or worry about. As we are social species, we are overly concerned about the opinion of others, and the assumed reaction to what we do.


Because individuals are so self-centered, they have really hard time understanding that others don’t really care, and ultimately, their initial reaction does not matter.


When one gets out of line, a stir follows. While people are fascinatingly unique on the inside, they are incredibly boring to the outside world. Average people follow the social norms to the letter, and critisize anyone who breaks the rules. They do this because they are bored and jealous. 

But when you create something and publish it, you just stop caring. It’s out there, now I am exposed, and while we are at it, let’s do some more!


So what is the formula? Just do it.


I’m personally over-analytical by nature and habit, so I can hesitate forever, calling it planning. For me the cure is simply taking action, and then pouring fuel to the fire.  


Once you get tired of waiting, understand it is you who is completely responsible of your own success, and you see that the clock is ticking, you realize doing nothing is becoming more painful every day.


Some people stop giving a shit when they retire, but why wait?

Jump out. Magic happens after the edge.


Skin in the game

There have been times when I have been a zombie inside and outside. Expressionless, dull, low energy and miserable. Actually, for long periods. 


I have been ridiculed, criticized and threatened while growing up in a small town where I quickly learned that my unique way of being and acting was asking for trouble. I became a pleasing chameleon.


I decided to shut down to survive. Things like creativity, emotion, color. Sinking into depression, anger and suicidal behaviour for years. The greatest surge of energy is released when that floodgate is opened, and the spirit awakened. 


The fastest way to get rid of fear is to walk over it, being unapologetically yourself. The other option is much worse and leads to a wasted life. By taking bold action, you start taking control of your life, and nothing is more empowering than that.


Being brave is really the only option. Fly up.