archives, wisdom

Truth: I’m Afraid of Looking Stupid.

Life coaching is all the rage right now. Then again, so are avocados. Just because it’s trendy doesn’t mean it can’t be good for you too.

So, yeah, I hired a coach. Her name is Rachel, and we’ve been working together on this passion project of mine for a few months now. Recently, Rachel pointed out that I’m really good at checking action items off my list, but that she senses I’m still playing it safe.

“What risks do you need to take in order to go to the next level?” she asked.

Fair question. I mulled it over for a couple of days and went back to her with my top three reasons. Here they are:

I’m afraid of:

  1. Looking like an ass.
  2. Looking like a big ass.
  3. Looking like an even bigger ass.

It’s as simple as that.

Sometimes we’re just afraid of looking stupid, so we remain within our comfort zones and keep repeating what we know we’re good at, over and over again, because doing so feels safe.

And of course, because we’re so busy repeating ourselves, we have no time to devote to new actions — the ones we’re not quite so good at… yet. So we place them on a shelf where they sit and gather dust. We know we should take them down, but we don’t. We tell ourselves we haven’t got time, and in reality, we haven’t, because we’re super busy doing all those other things we’re good at.

Maybe you’re not afraid of trying out a new pasta recipe or dabbling with watercolors, but what about embarking on challenges that put you under the public spotlight — like publishing a poem, starting a business, or posting your profile on an online dating site?

Think about all the things you’ve been meaning to do. Now, think about why you keep telling yourself that now isn’t the right time to do them.

Maybe you’re too busy. Maybe you’re too tired. Maybe you don’t have the credentials to back you. Or maybe the excuses you keep giving yourself are exactly that: excuses. Maybe the only thing standing in your way is fear, because you know that this thing you want to try could succeed just as easily as it could fail, and that’s scary as hell.

I bailed on university because I was afraid of failing.

When I was in high school, I played the flute and I played it well. I was gearing up to attend music college, but history wasn’t my forte. Of course, studying music history was a must. That scared the life out of me. Chances were good I’d come out looking like an ass. Guess what I did? I bailed.

Thankfully, everything worked out fine in the end. I pursued a different but equally creative path as a writer and it’s served me well. But I do reflect on this choice with some regret. I was a serious Fame fan back then, with a big crush on Bruno. And Leroy. It would have been pretty cool to crank the ghetto blaster and dance on canteen tables with people wearing leg warmers.

The experience I had with music college is much like the one I’ve been going through with this passion project of mine. I’ve been afraid of jumping in. I mean, what if I suddenly discover I can’t swim? And so I skirt around the periphery, convincing myself that’s where I need to be, when the truth is I’m procrastinating because I’m scared I won’t meet my A+ aspirations — and therein lies the problem.

When you aim for an A+, you have to play it safe. You need to score at least 99% to succeed. If you set your sights on a B- though, you can embark on whatever it is with greater confidence. That confidence gives you room to play around a little, experiment, take risks, and even ask others for help if you need it.

So I’ve decided to become a B- girl. I’ve already tried it on, and I have to say, it suits me. I’m pushing boundaries I was too scared to push before, and every time I do so, I sit back afterwards and think, “Holy crap, I’m still alive. Cool!”

So ask yourself what you’re afraid of. What’s that one thing you really want to do but keep putting off for another day?

Got it? Good. Now go get busy. And remember: B- aspirations.


Viv Singer used to live life with her glass half-empty. Now it fluctuates between half-full and positively brimming over. When she’s not making her living as a freelance copywriter, she’s striving to understand her own motives, actions and responses so that she can learn from them, lead a more authentic life, and do a better job at living for today. Wanting the same for others, Viv launched, where she regularly blogs her heart out. By sharing personal experiences and thoughts about her own daily life, Viv inspires others to live life with peace, joy, and positivity. For more from Viv, you can subscribe to her newsletter, or get social with her on Instagram and Facebook.


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