Note: you can listen to this episode above or load it up in iTunes.

How to Improve Your Blog by Facing Your Fears

Today’s episode is all about fear. Fear holds a lot of people back from engaging. If you let it, fear can hold you back from being an effective blogger, podcaster, live streamer or social media user. I share some strategies for recognising, harnessing and overcoming your fear so that you can use it to your advantage.

Peeping Puppy by Shridhar Devalla on

In This Episode

You can listen to today’s episode above or in iTunes or Stitcher (where we’d also LOVE to get your reviews on those platforms if you have a moment). In today’s episode:

  • Why fear can actually be a good thing for your blogging
  • I share some of my real-life fears and how I got through them
  • 3 questions to ask yourself when you’re facing fear
  • Why trying to smash or eliminate fear could be unhelpful
  • How you can be behave bravely even though you’re scared

Further Reading and Resources for How to Improve Your Blog by Facing Your Fears

The podcast episode I mention where I did my first ever interview:

Full Transcript Expand to view full transcript Compress to smaller transcript view
Hi there and welcome to the ProBlogger Podcast episode 54. My name is Darren Rowse and I am the blogger behind ProBlogger and the ProBlogger Podcast. It’s great to have you with us today. Today, I want to talk about fear, which is something I know holds a lot of bloggers, podcasters, live streamers, and pretty much any social media participant back from engaging. 

In fact this morning I was talking to someone and encouraging them to get on to Periscope and fear was the major factor there. I want to talk about some strategies for overcoming fear and moving past fear. Not ignoring it because I think it has its place, but getting past it and getting to a point where it doesn’t hold you back, and even being able to harness it a little bit. 

You can find today’s show notes at I also want to briefly mention before I get today’s podcast, episode 52 which is my first ever interview with Beth Dunn. I’ve had so much positive impact on that particular episode and if you haven’t listened to it yet, I would encourage you to go back and have a quick listen to it. It’s not long, it’s an interview in which Beth shares some […] tips; ten simple, practical, actionable tips.

But that’s not the reason I’m mentioning it today although that was a good episode. I want to get your feedback on who you want to see interviewed in future ProBlogger podcasts. Now, I’m tempted to get some of my big blogging friends that you would have heard before on and I may do that, but one of the things I’ve heard about Beth’s interview was that she was someone you perhaps hadn’t heard from before. I am trying to unearth some of these smaller bloggers and people who have expertise in some of these fields that are useful to bloggers, whether that be promoting your blog, finding reader’s marketing, visual content, writing tips, these types of things.

If you know someone that would be interesting in the ProBlogger audience, can I encourage you to fill in the survey that we have on today’s show notes? There is a question in the survey that asks specifically who you’d like to see interviewed or present on this particular podcast, as well as some other questions that give us ideas on content for future podcasts. Anyway, you can find that survey at Now, let’s get into today’s show.

Today, I want to talk about fear and it’s something that I think all of us face one time or another in our life when we were kids. My kids certainly face their fair share of fears and as adults as well, and particularly those of us who are bloggers, podcasters, and getting into the social media space. I’m finding it also particularly those getting into the live streaming space, which is pretty confronting when you are wanting to get on camera and a whole heap of fears come into play.

Here are some of the common fears I hear from bloggers (particularly) and I think most of these apply to other social media networks as well. If nobody reads it is a big one. That’s the first fear I face when I start blogging. What if my family gets hurt by something that I write? That fear of your world colliding can be a factor. What if I don’t write as well as I think I write? What if people laugh?

Worse than that, what if they attack me as a result of something I’ve written? What if I say something stupid that might come back to bit me later? What if I reveal too much about myself? What if I fail? What if I look stupid? What if I am wasting my time? What if people steal my content? What if I run out of things to say? What if I get hacked? What if I make a promise that I can’t keep? What if I get stalked? What if my product doesn’t sell? What if my service crashes? What if I get criticized for trying to make money from my blog?

This list of what-if questions could go on and on and I’m sure that you could insert several of your own. I faced many of these fears in my blogging but also fears in creating events. A lot of fears in creating the event that we run. We invest hundreds of thousands of dollars every year into the event that we create and I’m always, in the back of our mind, wondering what if no one shows up? What if no one buys a ticket? What if our speakers don’t arrive? And the fears play on my mind particularly in the weeks before our events.

The fear is something that many of us face, particularly in this space where we are putting ourselves out there for other people to read or listen to, and we don’t know how they are going to respond. It’s a common thing and that’s the first thing I want to say is actually we all face this and if you are feeling fear in your blogging or something else to do with your business, then you are not alone.

I actually want to say, “Fear is a good thing.” Fear of the right things can be useful and this goes right back to the caveman days when fear of that saber-tooth lion chasing us is probably a good thing; we want to be ought to run away from that. We want to be able to avoid those dangerous things, and right from the beginning of the time, fear has played a role in our survival. 

It’s a signal that maybe we need to stop doing something or maybe we need to get away from something and that continues today. Part of what I want to talk about today is that fear is a signal. It’s actually something that we need to pay attention to but to a point where it is useful to us and not that it stops us and that it overwhelms us. I think partly it’s about timing. Paying attention at the right time to fear is important.

I once tweeted this, “Don’t let fear stop you from starting. Let it motivate you to finish.” What I meant by this is that there are times to push past your fear and almost ignore it. For me, this is often the start of a project and there are other times where it can be a motivating factor. So for me, when I accept a speaking engagement, often that comes with fear. Recently, Mike Stelzner asked me to speak again in the Social Media Marketing World, which, on one hand, I was really excited about and on another hand, it came with fear. What if no one comes to my session? What if I don’t come up with a good topic? All of these fears begin to creep up. 

I’ve learned that when people ask me to do things, if I am hearing fear questions, I usually push those aside in the early days and say, “Worry about those things later,” and I push those fears to later on. By doing so, I accept a lot of things and I say yes to those things which open up all kinds of opportunities.

Now, the fear does come back, but when it comes back later, it becomes a motivating factor. I’ve already committed to it, so the fear is something I could use to improve what I am doing and I know in a month or two times when I begin to prepare my talk for Social Media Marketing World next year, those fears I’m going to let them come back a little bit and motivate me to create the best presentation I’ve ever created. By pushing it aside at the right time and by allowing it to come back and harness it at a later time, it could be a powerful thing. 

Learn to see fear as a sign or a signal. I said this at a ProBlogger event a couple of years ago, “Fear is a sign or signal that something important is to happen.” I think that’s a really important principle and it’s something that I learned a few years ago. Fear is a sign that something important is about to happen.

As I look back on my life and all of the important things that have happened to me, everything from when I proposed to Vanessa to when my kids were born, to when I bought a house, to when I started blogging, to when I hired my first team member, to when I launched my first ebook, to when I accepted my first speaking engagement, to when I wrote the ProBlogger book, to when I started podcasting (even recently), all of these important moments of my life were accompanied by fear.

I learned that by looking back at the important times of my life that fear is a part of those things and fear is a signal that something important might be about to happen to you. By seeing fear in that way, it actually becomes almost a good thing. It’s like I’m feeling fearful, something important is happening here and it makes you pay attention to those things. 

Learn to pay attention to things that you are fearful of often. See them as a signal and not something to overwhelm you and stop you. Now, that is easier said than done. Being paralyzed by fear is something that I think we all struggle at different times so to help you through that, to help you to avoid fear paralyzing you, I want to suggest you ask three questions when you face fear and these are three questions that I’ve talked about on the blog previously that I’ve had a lot of feedback from people that it’s been helpful for them.

I want to say right in front that these are not my questions. I’ve heard them in many variations from different people, but it’s a bit of a synthesis of those things that I’ve heard from other people. 

The first question that I ask myself when I face fear is a question that you’ve probably told your children or heard kids being encouraged to think about. It’s, what’s the worst thing that could happen? What are some of the worst things that could happen to me if this fear, this thing I am fearful of actually happen? What’s the worst thing that could happen? 

This question is all about getting perspective. This is all about trying to bring your fears into some sort of reality. Simply by asking this question, you’ll realize the worst thing that could really happen isn’t that bad at all. Sometimes, this is the only question needed to ask and I’ve seen this particularly in raising my boys. I ask this question all the time, what’s the worst thing that could happen?

When my son started in a new basketball team recently just was a bit of a worry, “I’m worried that I’m going to look stupid in front of my new friends, my new teammates,” and I said to him, “What’s the worst thing that could happen?” and he began to go through some scenarios of bad things that could happen and in doing so, he realized that weren’t that bad after all. 

The second question I think is important, particularly if the worst thing that could happen is a bad thing (and sometimes it is). My big fear a couple of years ago, when we ran the ProBlogger event was that our three international speakers might not make it. Maybe there would be a weather delay. That’s a pretty bad thing when you are running an event and your three main speakers don’t come, so I ask myself the question what’s the worst thing that could happen and it turns out that the worst thing that could happen is a pretty bad thing. 

The second question I get you to ask is how I would recover if that worst thing happened? This is a good question to think through if your worst thing is a bad one. What would you do if that worst thing happened? By asking the second question, it allows you to make some contingency plans and that’s what I did when I began to think the worst thing that could happen, three of my international speakers couldn’t show up, I began to make some contingency plans. 

What other sessions could we run instead? How can we make it up to our attendees? Could we perhaps get our international speakers to Skype? We began to come up with some plans that would fill the holes and hopefully make that worst thing not quite as bad. How would you recover if the worst thing happened?

Sometimes by asking those first two questions, you find out that the worst thing that could happen is really bad and that you couldn’t recover and that’s the time where you might need to make a decision not to do what you are thinking about doing or to change what you are thinking about doing.

Again, this is when fear can actually be a useful thing. Sometimes fear is there because what you are about to do is stupid and you shouldn’t do it. You shouldn’t walk off a cliff. You can’t recover from that so by asking those two questions, you hopefully are able to change what you are about to do. 

Again, listen to your fear because it could actually be a signal that you are about to do something that you can’t recover from. The first two questions, what’s the worst thing that could happen? How would I recover if that happened?

The third question is again about trying to bring some perspective and it’s the flip side of a questionable one. What is the best thing that could happen to me? Question three is about focusing not only on the worst-case scenario which is what most of us tend to do. We tend to look at the negative. We tend to look at and dwell on the worst thing that could happen. 

The reality is that the worst-case scenario is probably likely to happen as the best-case scenario, but we don’t’ focus on the best-case scenario, do we? Unless we force ourselves to. The reality is that most times, someone between those two realities as to what will actually happen. 

Focus yourself upon the best outcome and by doing so you might just get the courage up to take a step forward. You might not get to that best case scenario but you may actually find that the worst-case scenario doesn’t happen either and that you are closer to the best case than the worst. 

What’s the worst thing that could happen? How would you recover from that? And what’s the best thing that could happen? I find that those three questions are often enough for me to make a good decision about what to do next and to move forward without fear paralyzing me.

The last thing I want to just briefly touch on is that it’s not about smashing or eliminating fear from your life. Hopefully, you’ve already picked up on this that I think fear is an important thing and something that we shouldn’t push aside completely. There are times to do that, but we need to pay attention to it. It’s a signal something important is going to happen. 

The reality is that when we face important life-changing things that will almost feel a little wobbly. A friend once said to my wife, actually, it’s a quote that I often requoted, “Even wobbly courage is still courage.” You don’t need to eliminate fear. You just need to get enough courage to move forward.

By definition, courage actually requires you to feel some fear. If you’re not scared, you can’t be brave. So, it’s not about eliminating fear, it’s about getting that little bit of wobbly courage up and to take a step forward despite that fear, despite feeling wobbly. That’s when you can be brave.

I’d love to hear your feedback on this topic of fear. By no means do I have all the answers on this one. I struggle with it still to this day despite my three questions, but I actually found by thinking this one though, it’s enabled me to take a lot of steps that I would never have taken even just a few years ago. I’d love to hear your stories of overcoming fear and your advice for others facing fear in today’s show notes. There’s the chance to leave a comment at I hope you found this helpful and I’ll talk to you in episode 55 of the ProBlogger podcast.

How did you go with today’s episode?

What did you learn from today’s episode? Do you have other tips that help you work through your fears that you’d like to share? What will you try next?

Who would you like to us to interview on the ProBlogger Podcast in future?

I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.

Finally, if you have a moment we’d love to get your feedback on the ProBlogger Podcast with this short survey which will help us plan future episodes.


Enjoy this podcast? Subscribe to ProBloggerPLUS for free to get free blogging tutorials and podcasts in your inbox each week.