Doing the Stuff That Scares You


In his first inaugural address newly elected Franklin Delano Roosevelt said, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” President Roosevelt went on to describe fear as “That nameless, unreasoning and unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts…” That was in 1932 at the height of the great depression and he had to mobilize the nation and get people back to work.

President Roosevelt’s wife, Eleanor Roosevelt, has her own quote about fear that I like even better, “Do one thing every day that scares you.”

Change happens little by little over time and sometimes change is scary. But if you never man up and do the stuff that scares you nothing much will change. It might be little stuff like making the bed everyday, answering your e-mail, returning a phone call, having a difficult discussion, wearing a watch  using a planner or reducing the clutter in your life. It might be bigger stuff like starting a business, going to back to school, getting married or finding a job that you feel good doing.

Everybody has stuff that scares them but not everybody allows the scary stuff to stop them. That’s when we make progress.

When you attempt to do the things that scare you you will predictably come up with infinite and automatic excuses that will stop you dead in your tracks. It helps to have some counter arguments ready.

Here are a few:

Excuses                                                                   Counter Arguments

Too hard.                                                               I might need to ask for help.

I’ll screw it up.                                                        I’ll learn from my mistakes.

Too late.                                                                Better late than never.

Too boring.                                                           I’ll find a way to make this fun.

Too easy.                                                               I’ll do this really fast.

Takes too long.                                                      I’ll do it for twenty minutes.

Too tired, too busy, too scared.                               I’ll do it anyway.

If you find yourself stuck you might want to try doing the easiest or least scary thing on your to-do list and see what happens. You might get enough forward momentum to get you out of your rut.

Kathy Sussell is an ADHD coach in Brooklyn, NY. She helps teens, college students and adults with ADHD with time management, planning and prioritizing, getting started with and finishing tasks, organizing paper and objects and improving social skills. She is the organizer of the ADHD Women’s Meetup Group that meets every month in downtown Brooklyn. For more information visit her website: or email Kathy at

2 thoughts on “Doing the Stuff That Scares You

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s