Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Facing Fear and the Unknown

"A ship in harbor is safe - but that is not what ships are built for." ~ John A. Shedd

We all have our reasons for not going after what we really want. "The timing isn't right," we might say to ourselves, or "I'm just waiting for XYZ to happen," or "Everything needs to be perfect." The list goes on and on...

Should you jump head-first into every big idea that comes to mind? Of course not. Regardless of what you're looking to create (whether a business, a non-profit, or a challenging new hobby, etc), it pays to be analytical, do your research, and have a solid sense of what you're getting yourself into. The problem is, no amount of research or planning can prepare you for the unknown of starting something new. Our bodies are programmed to fear the unknown, and no matter how many times we've succeeded in the past, this fear never goes away.

Says my friend Tim Ferriss, author of The Four Hour Work Week: For all the most important things, the timing always sucks. Waiting for a good time to quit your job? The stars will never align and the traffic lights of life will never all be green at the same time. The universe doesn't conspire against you, but it doesn't go out of its way to line up all the pins either. Conditions are never perfect. "Someday" is a disease that will take your dreams to the grave with you. Pro and con lists are just as bad. If it's important to you and you want to do it "eventually," just do it and correct course along the way.

So this New Years... what do you really want to accomplish in 2011? Another year will pass, but the fear of making changes will not...

Are you ready to start something that matters?

(PS - Thank you Esther Havens for allowing me to use your wonderful photograph above. Check out her website at


Tasha Goldberg said...

Blake, you really are spot on...finding the balance, having visions and goals as well as the work ethic and courage to execute the plan well. And it naturally just feels like a good time of year to be in the mode of planning, researching and dreaming. I would genuinely like to share my own personal project I am working on with you. I know you are busy, that life is full. Part of the gift of this intergalactic internet reality we are living in is the chance to meet me for a chat. (

Jessa said...

always been a TOMS fan. Just found your blog, and pathetically I cried and laughed through every single post. Yep, each and every one. Took me a few hours but I must say, an evening well spent.
Thank you for your inspiration. seriously.
I look forward to being a regular reader.


Jaime G├╝emes said...

Blake!!! I am Jaime Guemes and finally decided my future.
I had a project for 2 years and i am starting it on January 1st!!!!
I quit my Job last week and i have decided to make a change for my country.
I am in Mexico and we have a lot of inequalities... SO A LOT TO DO.
I would like to ask you some questions and I think they can help in the learning curve.

Joylyn said...

i simply adore you! <3

Unknown said...

I've written something called "A Philanthropy Manifesto", which has been getting interesting feedback. How can I get it to you?

Anonymous said...

You came to visit Murray State University this past fall semester and I had never bought a pair of TOMS before. But I am VERY happy to tell you I just purchased my first pair today :) I can't WAIT to get them! What you're doing is amazing and I really appreciate it. You're story was very inspirational to me and one day I hope to be a part of the TOMS team and do my own bit of helping out.

Anonymous said...

Love this blog exactly what I've been thinking about for my new year. But being positive and having faith in one self I believe can over come this fear! Yeah there will always be fear but it all depends in your inner self....we must take risks to face this fear and the unknown. Maybe we will work together one day :) You will hear of me...."Love & Peace"

Evan Adams said...

My name is Evan Adams and I've recently been inspired to create a company similar to Tom's (minus the shoes) while on a mission trip in El Salvador.. I've read the 4-hour workweek and I believe I've finally found that "niche". I was wondering if you had any advice for a 19-year-old college student with absolutely no business experience. And I would love the chance to talk and swap some emails if possible!

I'm loving the blog