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Episode 454 | Overcoming Fear (Throwback Episode)

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Show Notes

In this episode of Startups For The Rest Of Us, Rob does a throwback episode. Almost 9 years to the day Rob and Mike published episode 14 about overcoming fear and taking risks which is a message that is still applicable today.

Transcript

Rob: Welcome to this week’s episode of Startups for the Rest of Us. I’m your host, Rob Walling. On this show, we talk about building startups in an organic, sustainable fashion, in a way that focuses more on your personal life and your lifestyle rather than focusing on building a billion dollar business.

We like to value freedom, purpose, and relationships on the show. You’ll notice that, while my co-host, Mike Taber, is on hiatus, I’ve been experimenting and dabbling in a few different show formats. If you’ve enjoyed the change-up and the focus on improving the podcast quality, including the recent interviews with Laura Roeder and Jeff Epstein, the Q&A sessions I’ve had with Tracy Osborn, Jordan Gal, as well as the hot seat with Matt Wensing, let me know. Reach out questions@startupsfortherestofus.com or you can tweet it out. I appreciate any feedback you can provide. Of course, if you’re able to give a five-star rating in any of the podcast apps you use, it’s much appreciated.

Today on the show, I’m doing a different intro because I’m trying something I don’t know we’ve ever done before. It’s to do a throwback episode. What I did is I went back through the archive and I picked out one of the all-time most popular episodes of this podcast. It’s episode 14. It was published July 13th, 2010. It’s almost to the day. It was nine years ago. What’s also interesting is that when this episode went live, my second son was five days old. That’s just an interesting coincidence.

Now and again, I go back and listen to old shows. Typically, I don’t go back prior to where they are […] just because it’s so hard to do, but this episode sparked a lot of conversation when it happened and it’s one of those where the content itself holds up pretty well even nine years later.

Some funny things I’ve noticed relistening to this episode is we just sound so young and so naive. It’s so impressionable. The intro’s slightly different. I’m going to play the whole episode. There’s a Q&A section at the end. We did a whole episode of content and then two questions that I find are not that interesting, so I’m going to cut those out, but the intro and the outro is slightly different, which I think is funny.

The audio quality is not great, but for a 14th episode, for it being 2010, and for use just figuring this out, it’s not so bad, but it’s definitely a lot fuzzier than it is today. As well as the editing. You can hear the editing is really choppy because we didn’t really know what we were doing back then. Now we have a professional editor. And it’s hilarious. My book launch. I talk about my book about to come out. I think I threw out a URL, but this is pre-Start Small Stay Small.

Again, I wouldn’t go back to an episode if I didn’t really think the content is still so applicable. This is one of those evergreen timeless episodes that I listen to and still get something out of, and I think that you will, too, because this is about overcoming fear in your own head, whether it’s to launch that first blog post, launch that first podcast episode, launch an app, take a risk, and it just always applies. I find that the conversation is as applicable today as it was then. Even the examples we used are still strong even here in 2019. So, I hope you enjoy revisiting this topic, especially if you weren’t a listener back nine years ago.

This is Startups for the Rest of Us episode 14. Welcome to Startups for the Rest of Us, a podcast that helps developers be awesome at launching software products, whether you built your first product or just thinking about it. I’m Rob.

Mike: And I’m Mike.

Rob: And we’re here to share our experience to help you avoid the same mistakes we’ve made. What’s new this week, Mike?

Mike: I am having tons of fun getting a development box set up for a website. For those of you who don’t know, Rob and I run the Micropreneur Academy. It’s more or less to help developers learn how to do sales and marketing for their products. We’ve got tons and tons of content out there, but the problem that we have whenever we’re doing changes to the site, because it’s all built in WordPress, it’s very difficult.

One of the problems we have is being able to do development work on that box without bringing it down or crashing it because we’re making some changes and trying to see if they work. What I’ve been doing lately is we’re using a product called JumpBox to essentially bring up a development server very quickly so that I could dump all the content onto that JumpBox.

Essentially, what it is is if you go to jumpbox.com, they’ve got a couple of different pricing plans, but the one that I’m using is basically a LAMP stack. It allows you to download a virtual machine and it’s pre-configured with an OS and everything you need to just run a LAMP stack. All you do is you fire it up, it grabs an IP address, you specify a password for it, you can just log in, and you’re up and running in literally three minutes after you’ve downloaded this JumpBox. It’s really, really cool.

Rob: That’s awesome. How much time did you spend getting that going?

Mike: It probably took me more time to download it than anything else. The download really wasn’t very large. It was like 100–150 megs, something like that for the JumpBox itself that I downloaded. Like I said, they’ve got a couple of different pricing plans. The first one’s free, but then they’ve got a pro version and a business version. You can get a 15-day trial for free. It’s pretty cool.

Rob: It’s nice to have a dev environment. I know that’s something we’ve talked about for a long time. Good. Anything else?

Mike: No. That’s about it. What about you?

Rob: The hell I have been doing. Good grief.

Mike: Nothing. You slacker.

Rob: Yeah. I’ve been amazed at how much extra time this book has taken. The book’s done, the final proof arrived, I ordered copies, go to the printer, that whole thing. But like starting a company, you think that writing the actual code is going to be the bulk of that work? That’s 50%–60% tops.

The same thing with the book. I thought that putting together all the material and writing everything would be the bulk, but I had such a number of tasks to take care of, like building the website, getting the emails out to the list, and a number of other things. Getting an ISBN number and working with formatting. Of course, I’m not a designer, so it takes me a long time to do that stuff. It’s not as easy to outsource as, say, HTML work, or maybe it is. I just don’t have the right contacts. I’m out of my element with it. I chewed up a lot of time over the past week.

I actually made, what I consider in retrospect, an error in judgment. I basically had a four hour estimate to create the sales website, which is just a one-page thing—click here to buy the PDF, click here to buy the paperback. By the time I integrated with two payment processors, it took me 16 hours, which was just painful, and the integration is not an integration. It’s just a click an Amazon button and click a Google Pay button. That’s not even some fancy form that does it all. I was amazed at how long it took, so disappointed with it.

I wasn’t going to outsource it just because I literally thought it would take me two, I had estimated four just to be on the high side, and by the time I got everything the way I wanted, it was way high. In retrospect, definitely should have outsourced that.

Mike: I can think of two other mistakes off the top of my head that you have made. The first is, I don’t think we actually talked about the fact that you were writing a book on this podcast.

Rob: No, we did on episode 11.

Mike: Did we? All right.

Rob: Yeah. I edited it today.

Mike: My bad. All right. We’ll score that a point for you today, then. The other one, though, is that if you just asked me, my wife used to do print layout for a magazine.

Rob: That’s right. You’ve told me that like 10 times. How did I not do that. Yeah, it’s not going to look nearly as good if she give it 30 seconds of look, I’m sure. Well, that’s been my week. If you’re interested in the book, if you’re listening to this, startupbook.net. It will definitely be out and available in PDF and paperback format by the time this podcast goes live.

The other thing I wanted to mention this week is, I was talking to someone about a week ago and they listened to the podcast. I was like, “Yeah, you can stay up and tune in to what Mike and I do in our blogs.” He’s like, “Oh, you guys blog?” and I was like, “That’s it. We were doing this podcast for two months and we’ve been blogging for five years each.” I was like, “Oh, I thought the blog was our deal.”

Anyway, I realized we never mentioned our blog URLs, or maybe in passing we have, but if people are interested in hearing more about this type of micropreneur stuff, my blog is softwarebyrob.com and Mike’s blog is singlefounder.com. This is where we actually write original articles and new posts on starting a software company, launching products, being a micropreneur and such.

Mike: What are we discussing today? I think we actually had a listener comment from somebody on the startupsfortherestofus.com website, right?

Rob: That’s right. At startupsfortherestofus.com, that’s where you can download and listen to all of these episodes. In episode one, a guy named Scott Herbert made a text comment at the bottom and he said, “First, thanks for a podcast that doesn’t think I have $10 million of VC funding and want to tell me how to spend it. Secondly, I’d love to hear a cast on fear. Someone has offered to review my application for their blog—I’m scared by this—I said yes, of course, but does it get any easier?” That’s what we are going to be talking about today.

Mike: Cool. The short answer to that is you did the right thing and yes, it does get easier. The key to making it easier faster is to do it more often. We’ll obviously talk about that a little bit more. I think when it comes to fear, there are a couple of different options that you have and I boiled it down to four basic options.

When you’re faced with fear, these are your choices. You can either cave, which basically you give up. You can struggle with it and challenge it head on. Number three is you can accept it and do nothing about it, but you’ve accept it. You’re fearful of that and there’s just nothing you can do. The fourth one is you can try and work around the fear, try to avoid it. If you’re afraid of heights, you just never go into tall buildings or something like that. Some of those wok better than others, but obviously challenging your fear head on is going to help you get over those fears a lot quicker.

Rob, why don’t you talk a little bit about what sort of things people are typically afraid of? I think this pertains specifically to business. We could talk about arachnophobia and fear of all sorts of weird other things like short people, but I think this question relates more specifically to building your own business.

Rob: The things that I most commonly see software developers and people starting startups dealing with are thoughts like what if nobody likes my software? What if nobody buys my software? What if I fail and I invest all this time and it’s just wasted time? What if I can’t get any traffic to my site? What if I don’t get this right the first time? And what would other people think of me? Even if this does or doesn’t work out, what will people think of me while this is going on?

I think that’s a big part of fear is dealing with how other people view you. It almost takes me back to junior high in high school. I think it takes all of us back. Someone’s going to laugh at us or make fun of us or point something out publicly that is just going to really embarrass us. Those are the most common fears. I think everything stems from the fear of failure and the fear of other people seeing you fail.

Mike: I think that’s the biggest thing is people seem to think that whatever they do or say, people think of that as a reflection of themselves, especially when they’re writing software and they want to put it out there. I see people pushing off their software releases because they’re afraid of what people are going to think of their software. They always say, “I want to get it right. I want it to be perfect.” You know what? It’s not going to be perfect. You have to get over that.

Honestly, some people probably have a fear of launching a product. “What do I do when those support calls come in? What do I do when a customer’s irritated that this bug crashed and they lost all this data?” You know what? Those things can happen. Nobody’s perfect. That stuff is going to happen sooner or later and the only thing you can do is deal with it head on, accept that you made a mistake and move on.

If you sit there and try and live in the past or in the future, you’re not going to get anywhere. You can’t sit there and just worry all the time about, “What happens if this?” You know what? Why are you thinking about that now? Why don’t you continue living your life, moving on, doing your development, get past your launch? Then if that happens, then you worry about it.

I think maybe there’s a difference between doing that versus if you have critical bugs in your software that you know is going to cause somebody’s machine to crash and burn, yeah, you have to fix those before launch, but you can’t just let the fear of having bugs in your code or the fear of people running into problems with your code take that as a reflection upon you because it’s not a reflection on you.

Everybody is human, everybody makes mistakes, and when you create bugs in your software, those are mistakes and they’ve got to be fixed. Getting over those fears is just a matter of accepting that that’s going to happen and you can fix those bugs, you can move on, and version 2.0 is going to be better than version 1.0.

Rob: The two things that I think about when encountering fear like this is that the first time you do anything, you’re going to be scared. The first time you publish a single blog post, you’re going to be scared. The first time I did it, the first time I published an essay, a bunch of people read it, and people started ragging on it, I had anxiety about this. This is just natural. The first time you record a podcast, you’re going to have anxiety. The first time you speak at a user group, the first time you speak at a conference, anytime you do something publicly, you’re going to have some type of fear.

There’s some natural inclination in all of us that we feel like we’re going to be judged by everyone, and whether it’s realistic or not, knowing that the first time you do something, you are going to feel this anxiety and this fear, is really helpful because then you can identify very quickly and say, “Oh, this is that feeling again. It’s that same old thing that comes very naturally. I shouldn’t be scared of it and I shouldn’t let it talk me out of doing this thing.”

I’ve actually started following that fear, just a little bit like Seth Godin with a linchpin where he kept saying, “The lizard brain has its negative talk. If go towards the lizard brain, when the lizard brain talks to you and says, ‘Don’t do this thing,’ you typically stretching yourself and you’re actually doing something good. You’re actually moving in a direction that will grow who you are.”

The second thing is that as software developers, most of us have this natural anxiety of wanting to be perfectionists. I was talking to a developer today and he said, “I want my software to be perfect. I know it’s not going to be, but what if I launch it and there’s a bunch of bugs in it?”

There are two different types of people. There are the people who don’t care enough and those people don’t tend to be really good software developers they don’t tend to want to launch a software product. The ones who are doing this tend to be more of the perfectionists, tend to be more of the people who are stressing out about it, and that’s us. We have this anxiety that actually provides productivity.

If you’ve ever heard about Yerkes-Dodson curve, it’s a psychology theory that anxiety helps you—to a point—be productive. If you’re not anxious at all about a deadline, it’s very likely you’re going to miss that deadline and that you’re not going to be productive. Anxiety which translates into fear is actually a good thing to a certain extent and it actually will make you perform better and do more work quicker, to be more productive.

Mike: I know what you’re saying about being able to have a healthy dose of anxiety because I remember back in college, I used to feed off of deadlines. It was my job, it kind of just was. The fact is, if I had a deadline for a paper coming up or a project or something like that, as that deadline got closer and closer, I would just use it to energize myself and really focus in on what it was that I had to do and what I had to get done. Somehow it just helps me to meet a lot of the deadlines.

Don’t get me wrong. There was a certain amount of procrastination in there, but I’ve also seen studies where if you take three groups of people and you give one a deadline at the end of the quarter or semester, then you give another group of people regular deadlines throughout that time period, and then you tell the third group of people they can create any deadlines they want, people will tend to procrastinate until the end. I would just feed off that natural energy for those deadlines.

For me, the anxiety helped a little bit, but you also have to be a little bit realistic about in keeping in your head, “Am I actually going to meet this deadline or is it just a completely lost cause?”

Rob: That’s the thing with fear. I’m kind of equating fear with anxiety because when you say fear, you think a lion is attacking us. An anxiety is more of a realistic explanation or a realistic description of what we really feel when you’re going to go up and speak in front of people or we’re going to release a software product and maybe have someone say something bad about it or something. I think anxiety might be a better word for it.

There was a study—I wish I could quote it—done at UC Berkeley. It compared the anxiety levels, the stress levels of cops who were working in East Oakland versus students during finals week. The anxiety levels were actually higher in the students during finals week. What that shows is that anxiety, a lot of it if not all of it, is in your head. Some of it can be a chemical as well, it can be prone to be an anxious person, but a lot of it is in your head.

Ever since then, I have really learned to focus in on my anxiety and realize when it’s coming, identify it, then do something more productive with it, and allow it to motivate me rather than cause me to cave.

Mike: You bring up an interesting point about the difference in fear and anxiety, though. Personally, I have my own fears and my fears tend to be more long-term things that I’m afraid of happening. There are certain anxieties that I’ll go through. I’m a pretty good public speaker, but I think everybody gets at least a little bit nervous when they’re about to go up and do some big presentation.

In terms of fears and stuff, one of my own fears is, as the sole breadwinner of my family—my wife stays home with the kids so that I can go out and work—what if my income stream comes crashing to a halt and I’m not able to support my family? What if I’m on the road and something happens to me? Will my family be taken care of? How will that happen? How are they going to deal with that?

Honestly, I generally don’t worry about myself in terms of my health, but it doesn’t mean that I didn’t go out and buy a life insurance policy just to make sure that that sort of thing is taken cared of.

In terms of my income streams, I know that if it came down to it, I would do whatever needed to be done in order to make ends meet. If I had to go to Barnes & Noble and get a job stacking books or something like that, so be it. I’ll do what it takes to take care of my family. That’s one of the long-term fears that I have. I don’t really get anxious about those. I think about them, but I also think about how to deal with them and how to alleviate those things as concerns.

What about you?

Rob: The long-term fear that I have is the same thing. Being that we’re both self-employed, it’s a reality that our income could be majorly impacted very quickly. In fact, these last few months I talked about it, due to the recession there are several different income streams that I have that have substantially decreased 50% or more. I’ve been staring at it in the face, realizing if it continues like this, there’s going to be some issues down the line over the next few months. So, this is all happening. I’m about to have my second child. So, absolutely, any entrepreneur, the fear of just making ends meet and continuing to have a solvent business is a valid fear. It is for me as well.

Mike: That’s one of the things I’ve heard from people as well and I get to ask that question, “Aren’t you afraid of going out of business or this or that?” The way I see it, being self-employed actually gives me a certain amount of control over it because I am in control of my own destiny. I get to make the decisions that ultimately affect how I do in life. If I were working for some corporate employer someplace, they could decide to let everybody go on any given day and there’s literally nothing you can do about it.

You think about it in terms of job security, most people think of it that way, but you can also think of it in terms of financial security. You go to work for somebody, you’re complete at their mercy in terms of your income. Sure, they let you go and then you can go find another job, but right now, it’s hard to find jobs for most people. There’s tons of people out of work and the unemployment rate is really high.

I look at that and say, “Well, you know what? I could either work for somebody else where I’m completely at their mercy or I can work for myself where I’m at the mercy of my own bad decisions, so to speak.” Honestly, to make the choice between those two, I’d rather work for myself any day of the week. Now, granted that you have to be making money in order to be able to do that sort of thing, but it’s certainly an interesting way to look at it.

Rob: You make a good point there. No matter which avenue you choose, whether you work for an employer or start your own company, you’re going to have fear about something. You should have some fear that maybe you’ll get laid off, maybe the company will go out of business. You should have fear if you’re an entrepreneur that maybe you won’t make ends meet.

It’s not like you can escape it by choosing one route over the other. People can talk themselves into not having fear if they work for an employer. I think you’re kidding yourself by saying, “Oh, I’m not going to get laid off. This company’s never going out of business,” those kinds of things. There are fears in really any choice that you make. There’s no way to escape the realities of what might happen.

Mike: Right. One of the quotes that I keep, and it’s actually related to fear, this quote I keep actually on a Post-It note right next to my monitor and it reads, “It is possible to commit no mistakes and still lose.” It was actually in a Star Trek: The Next Generation episode from Patrick Stewart. It was in reference to Data was playing this game against somebody else and he ended up losing to this other person. He couldn’t figure it out how it was that he lost. That’s what Captain Picard told him. It’s like, “It’s possible to commit no mistakes and still lose.”

That true in life as well. You can do all the right things and still come out at the end of the pack. There are times when there’s absolutely nothing you can do and you’re going to lose. That’s just a fact.

I don’t want people to think that you’re going to lose every time, but there’s always a chance that you could lose and there’s always a chance that you could fail at whatever it is that you’re doing. But if you’re in control, you’re making those decisions.

Most people generally think they’re smart people. They’re going to make reasonably decent decisions and you have to keep that in mind when you’re going through those motions. You’re going to make the right decision with the information that you have at the time. If at the end of the day, you came out at the end of the pack, you have to accept that, move on, and say, “Okay, well that was a learning experience.” Take that forward and go on with the next task. You can’t let those things bother you.

I know people who let things bother them for years. I can think of one person in particular who let things bother him for years and years and years. And you know what? He’s never going to make it past it. It hasn’t happened yet. You can either let it get in your way of life or you can put it behind you and keep going.

Rob: The other thing I like about that quote is that it’s a good reminder that you have to take risks in order to do something worthwhile. You have to take risks in order to start a company or even to have a child or buy a house. Any of these things that I personally hold dear and that other people may as well. You can’t just stay in your safe zone all the time.

That’s what I really take away from that quote is you can make no mistakes and never do anything and still fail. If you decide, “Oh, I’ll never going to get married because I might get hurt, never going to have a child because it’s too hard, never going to buy a house because I don’t want to take on the risk, and never going to start a company.” In my life and my goals, I would consider myself that I would not have succeeded if I hadn’t done these things.

What I take away from that quote is that taking risks is a necessity if you are an ambitious person and if you have goals. You’re going to have to risk something to achieve those goals. And if you sit back and don’t do it, that I would consider that failure, not taking the risks.

Mike: And taking the risks doesn’t mean you’re guaranteed failure or success. It just means that you’re taking those risks. You’re gambling either way, but honestly, it’s not like the odds are in Vegas. I mean, your odds are a lot better when you’re putting that faith in yourself and your own decision-making powers as opposed to the dice or the roulette table in Vegas. It’s a completely different type of gambling, I’ll say. Calculated risk is what I’ll call it.

With that, why don’t we talk about six steps to dealing with that fear or anxiety?

Rob: Step number one is to take small steps. If you try to leap out too far, if you try to start a huge company or try to start two companies at once, it can be just too much and it can overwhelm you pretty easily. If you’re the type of person that fear tends to hold you back, take a small step.

Maybe instead of putting up a bunch of money or putting in a bunch of time in order to start a company, try to either start a smaller version of that or just do a little baby step of it, try to get that minimum viable product out, do some traffic testing, and see what’s going to happen. It’s a much smaller step but it can still help move you in the direction of, say, starting a company.

Mike: The other thing you can do is if you’re trying to get into, for example, product marketing. You don’t necessarily have a product yet. You can sign up for any number of affiliate programs. amazon.com’s got one where you can become an affiliate to sell their books and by referring traffic back to them, if those people buy things from Amazon, you get credits for those.

That’s a very small thing and I’ll be perfectly honest to say that I don’t think that you’re going to make a lot of money from it, but you will probably learn quite a bit from it. You can use that to help yourself as a baby step to become a better marketer, for example.

Step number two is to get some concrete motivation in the right direction. What this really means is that if you’re trying to do something, find somebody else who’s done that and pick their brain. Get some help from them. Ask them how they did it. Ask them how they dealt with their fear or their anxiety about it.

For example, public speaking, you can go talk to somebody who does public speaking for a living or join Toastmasters or something along those lines. You really need to find somebody else who can talk to you about it or you can talk to them about it, ask them questions, really get down to the bottom of what it is that you’re afraid of, and have them help motivate you in the right direction.

Rob: Step three is to look at failure and rejection in a new light. What we mean by that is instead of taking failure and rejection as a negative thing, realize that it does tend to be a valuable learning experience.

Mike and I already talked in a previous episode about whether failure is a learning experience or not, or you should only have successes, the whole discussion of that. Both of us believe pretty firmly that you will learn from your failures and that rejections will ultimately teach you to overcome these hurdles that you’re facing. I know that every time I faced rejection, it’s impacted me, but the more that I faced, the less each of them impact me.

Becoming aware of that, failure and rejection, are going to be inevitable as you do anything that has risk in it, but becoming aware of that is a big part of it because once it comes, you’re much less surprised by it.

Mike: And there’s obviously different levels of that failure and rejection. Rob and I have also talked about when we first started getting into AdWords and we blew an excess of $1000 apiece in the first month of doing our AdWords campaigns. Don’t get me wrong, $1000 is not pocket money or anything to be blowing out on AdWords, but I’ve made some much, much greater financial mistakes on that in the past. You just take them with a grain of salt and say, “Look. You know what? I understand what happened and it’s not something I would repeat,” but you learn from those things.

Number four is to not get too caught up in the past or in the future. You really need to keep your mind working in the here and now. What I mean by that is, if you’ve made mistakes in the past, don’t dwell on them because it’s certainly not going to help you. It’s just going to drag you down, it’s going to drag your morale down, and you’re going to be constantly thinking about them.

What that will do as a byproduct is basically distract you from the things that you have going on today. While you’re doing that, your basically dividing your mind with half of it saying, “Oh, my God. I can’t believe that thing that I did last Thursday or three years ago and it still haunts me to this day.” Everybody makes mistakes and how you deal with them is just as important as the things that you take from them.

Similarly, you can’t worry too much about what’s going on in the future. I’ll go back to the one I mentioned before. I travel a fair amount for my job. What happens if I’m on a flight and the plane goes down? Now, granted the chances of that happening is pretty slim to none, but it could happen. What do I do? I went out and I got a hefty life insurance policy. If something does happen to me, at least I know that my family is going to be taken care of. It’s all about mitigating those risks so that you can take your mind off of those fears, put them together, and focus on what it is that you’re doing today.

Rob: Step five is that things don’t happen overnight and that you need to keep working on it. The bottom line is that fear goes away the more times you do something. If you have a fear of public speaking, the more times you do it, it’s going to get better. If you have a fear of publishing a blog post, if it takes you 10 hours and 20 edits to get a 500-word post out, you need to do it more. You’ll get a little better at it, but you’ll get over the fear that it has to be perfect.

The bottom line is it’s not very complex. you’re going to be scared the first time you do something and you need to do it over and over if it’s worth it to you to actually get good at something.

Mike: And the sixth step to dealing with fear is to get a sanity check from someone else. Whenever you’re working on something, whether it’s software, a blog post, a piece of marketing collateral, or a press release, anything along those lines, anything related to your business, or even in your personal life, just get a sanity check from someone else. That can be a close friend, that can be someone who barely knows you.

I had somebody contact me who said, “Hey, I’d like to get your input on something because I don’t talk to you very much and you don’t know anybody that I know. It would be great to hear from you about what you think of this.” That’s a perfect scenario where you can get that sanity check from someone else with virtually no fear of anyone else being informed about what your fears are.

One of the things that Rob and I actually used to do probably 5–6 years ago, something like that, when we were first getting our blogs started, we actually started sending some of our blog post back and forth just to get a sanity check on it, to say, “Hey, what do you think of this article? What do you think of the wording of this? Does this strike a chord or is it just too bland?” et cetera.

We did that for—what was it—six months or something like that and we just went our separate ways. By that time, we have gotten over our fears about doing any sort of blog post and publicly voicin what our thoughts and opinions were.

Rob: I think we did it for a closer to a year, actually. It was certainly helpful for me. It improved the work that both of us produced as well as—at least from my perspective—reduced the anxiety I had when I went to publish something because I knew that someone had already looked at it pretty critically. If I sent over a new… kind of said, “No, this is not very good,” or there’s a big flaw in this logic, then I would rewrite that piece and then when I posted it, I knew that it essentially had a sanity check done to it and it really reduce the fear that I was going to get slammed online.

To recap, the six steps when dealing with fear are: (1) take small steps, (2) get some concrete motivation in the right direction, (3) see failure and rejection in a new light, (4) don’t get caught up in the past of the future; work in the here and now, (5) keep working at it; things don’t happen overnight, and (6) get a sanity check from someone else.

Mike: Thanks to both Jonna and Trey. If you have a question or comment, please call it in to our voicemail number at 1-888-801-9690 or you can email an MP3 or text format to questions@startupsfortherestofus.com. If you enjoyed this podcast, please consider writing a review in iTunes by searching for startups. You can subscribe to this podcast in iTunes or via RSS at startupsfortherestofus.com. Our theme music is an excerpt of We’re Outta Control by MoOt used under Creative Commons. A full transcript to this podcast is available at our website at startupsfortherestofus.com. We’ll see you next time.