What Are The Things You Are Most Afraid To Do?


Ugh, turn the computer off, Claudia! Ugh, Gag, I have to throw up now. I’m going to throw up.

She just accidentally hit play on one of my podcasts. I’m talking. I hear my own voice.

You would think we get over that eventually. Like when you’re a grown human being. I HATE IT.

“Do I sound like that?” I asked her and I thought I was honestly having a gag reflex. She’s like, “What?” And I’m, “DO I SOUND LIKE THAT!? HOLY SHIT!”

She couldn’t figure out how to turn it down.


She turned it off and reached out to me but I was reverting to the fetal position and was about to climb back into my mother’s vagina.

Ok, I’m ok now. Ok. ok.

“You sound lovely, honey,” she said but that’s it. I hate podcasting. I’m going to quit. Done.

I’m glad she’s nice to me though. Now I feel better. “Ok, I’ll podcast again. But not until tomorrow.” Moods can be like that. Right?

The only way to get better is to hear my own podcasts. I know that. But I just can’t do it. There’s a lot of things I would get better at if I were not secretly afraid of them. That’s one of them.

People say they want to do all sorts of things but in reality they are just afraid of them. I shouldn’t say “people”. What do I know? I mean “me”. Or “I”. Whatever.

But you can try this with me. What are the things you are truly afraid of but you’d like to do.

Some people are afraid to put hard work into something they love and then ask money for that. I know many yoga teachers and artists are ashamed to ask for money for something they view as beyond money.

I am not saying they are right or wrong, it’s just hard. This Friday I’m chatting with Amanda Palmer about her book, “The Art of Asking”.

She had to get over her fear of asking for money for her work. As she puts it, she was afraid that if she asked then the “Fraud Police” would be after her.

I can relate to that. I can relate to it so much Claudia and I were supposed to write a book called “The Power of ASK” but after Amanda wrote her book I decided to stop ours and write something else.

For me, right now I’m afraid of:

A) Standup comedy.

I really want to go to an open mic and just do it. I have material written. I’m all set. I must be afraid of it. I can’t imagine any other reason I’m not doing it.

I sort of do standup comedy in my talks but that’s easier. People ask me to talk about something else so they aren’t there for just me joking around. I have fun with that and I get about 1-2 laughs a minute. But going in front of a crowd that doesn’t know me just to make them laugh somehow scares me.

Standup comedy seems to me like the holy grail.

Dick Costolo, CEO of Twitter, tells a story about how a year or so ago he ran into Steve Carrell at a reunion of people who worked together on improv at Second City in Chicago. Dick was already CEO of Twitter and Steve Carrell had just finished his stupendous run at “The Office”.

Steve said to Dick, “Well, I’m really sorry it didn’t work out for you.”

B) Novel.

I wrote 4 or 5 about 20 years ago and they were awful. You have to do “awful” in order to put in your 20,000 hours. Since then I’ve written quite a bit that I like but no fiction.

Maybe the closest is the book, “The Choose Yourself Stories” which tells stories but is not quite fiction.

I’ve started and stopped three or four times this year. There must be something I’m afraid of there. Like maybe it won’t be good. I don’t know. If I had the answers I probably wouldn’t be afraid of it.

C) More speaking events.

I like how Marianne Williamson does a talk every Monday in LA. I think she does it for free. I admire that consistency.

D) Dinner.

All these great networkers organize amazing dinners and invite their favorite people. One of these days I’m going to do that but haven’t gotten around to it yet.

I’m not too much afraid of anything else. I try to focus each day on incremental improvement in what I call my “daily practice”. I know that the best way for an improved tomorrow is to work on it today.

What are the things you are afraid of? You can tell me. I promise I won’t tell anyone.

Meanwhile, I’m going to listen to my podcast for the first time.

Maybe then I can finally improve at this thing I love doing.