An Open Letter to the Scared And Uncertain : Under30CEO An Open Letter to the Scared And Uncertain : Under30CEO
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An Open Letter to the Scared And Uncertain

| July 10, 2013 | 23 Comments

enjoy-uncertaintyNo one said it would be easy. The whole being an entrepreneur and starting a business thing. But you knew that when you made the decision to, well, do it.

You could fail! You better have a plan B.

Maybe you should just finish up school first. It’s rough out there!

Pay your dues, put your time in, and just work your way up.

Be patient. Because good things come to people who wait.

You’ve heard it. You may have even believed it. Maybe you still do.

Plan B’s. Waiting. Paying dues. Putting time in. More waiting. Combine that useless conventional wisdom with complacency, dis-satisfaction and serve it up with a side of uncertainty and fear. It’s the perfect concoction of mojo that slowly poisons (and eventually kills) desires, ambitions, and ideas.

The thing though? You’re not conventional. You’re more inventional. And invention beats convention every time. You know that already though.

Yet, you’re still scared. You’re still uncertain. And that’s awesome, my friend.

Because fear isn’t a signal for you to stop. It’s not the same thing as your intuition or your gut feeling.

Fear, by way of acronym, is false expectations appearing real. It’s your very own made up ideas about the outcome of a situation that seem possible. But it’s never that you’re afraid of what’s going to happen, it’s that you’re afraid of how we’re going to feel and react when that situation happens.

Those feelings and thoughts: they’re you. So you’re not a victim of fear – it doesn’t have power over you. It’s more so you are a victim to your interpretation of the fear.

When you’re feeling fearful and unsure, it means that something is right. Not that something is wrong. Feeling scared and uncertain accompanies risks and unfamiliarity. The new deal. New city. New client. New contract. New brand.

Feeling this way is the antithetical of complacency and doing nothing – which is not where you want to be.

I’ve woken up at 2am a lot over the past few weeks. Can I do this? Am I good enough? Is this going to work? Will people really get something out of what I’m doing? Could I be moving faster? I’ve woken up with more questions than answers. More fear than confidence. More uncertainty that sureness.

But each time I recognize that it means I’m in the right place. It means that I’m doing new, unknown, awesome things that are going to make a difference.

Understand that having a heroic life, launching your business (and yourself) into the stratosphere, and doing what other people label as “impossible” is in a space that is unknown.

There are no pre-defined pathways like degree plans in university. There is no clear title or job description like a position summary from the human resources department. There is no picture in the frame.

That’s all to your advantage though. Because what you’re doing is innovative, remember? You are doing your own thing. You have to carve the pathway. Give the title. Paint the picture. You are providing input that has a tremendous output. That’s the ideal measure for true productivity, after all.

I won’t doubt that being an entrepreneur is scary. I won’t say that you’ll ever be totally fearless and confident. Because it just doesn’t work that way.

Fear will always be there. Doubt and uncertainty will also accompany it. But when you understand that it’s good and not victimizing you, it starts to work to your advantage. It begins to work for you, not against you.

Even though you are biologically a reactive organism, you can be proactive with your reaction. You can define how much power and control you give your fear uncertainty. Will you let it daze you or mobilize you? Play or pause?

So my scared, uncertain friend: you’re exactly where you need to be.

What you’re feeling and thinking – it’s innovation. Creativity. Cutting-edge. Stratospheric and heroic alike. That’s all right, not wrong.

Keep doing it. Don’t stop now. Don’t stop ever.

Tim Frie is an idea incubator and launch genius for young entrepreneurs who want to implement their big, audacious business (and life) ideas. He is hell-bent on eliminating ‘zombieness’ from the planet and turning people into the heroes of their businesses and lives. You can find him at, where he writes about how to come alive and take action in life and entrepreneurship.

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  • Cara Murphy

    Thanks for sharing Tim! It’s funny how a lot of these feelings were going through my head this morning on my commute into NYC. I started to question whether I was on the right path or doing “good enough”. I think it’s important to remind ourselves that these questions aren’t a sign of weakness but actually a sign that we are seeking something greater. Being scared or unsure is a sign that you are striving to attain a goal and constantly improving.

    I was reading an article about how we perceive time ( By constantly challenging yourself and being in new situations, you can make time “feel longer”. So being scared and uncertain isn’t necessarily a bad thing!

  • Tim Frie

    You are absolutely right, Cara. Hat-tip to you for recognizing those feelings and doing it anyway.

    Becoming confident and certain is kind of like going to the gym. If you show up and train, you will get stronger. So if you are constantly putting yourself in situations where you have the opportunity to use your courage and be brave, you will build onto your confidence. But, if you’re recognizing the fear + doubt and not facing it, you won’t be able to grow.


  • Susie

    I needed to hear this today!! Thank you

  • MattWilsontv
  • MattWilsontv

    Hey Cara, we think you are doing awesome!! Under30CEO content is getting better and better… keep up the great work.

  • Tim Frie

    Susie, glad I was able to help.

  • Rebecca

    Thank you for writing this! My business went live on Monday and I totally needed to hear that!

  • Tim Frie

    Rebecca, I am in the midst of a launch myself. I get it.

    Keep doing what you’re doing.

    Rock on,


  • Sindy

    Completely touching (some tearing in my eyes)… the right words at the right time… you don´t have idea how much this helps me because the tittle was the identic feeling. Thousand thanks!

  • Tim Frie

    Sindy, hats-off to you for having the courage to share and allow yourself to be vulnerable reading this.

    You’re doing big things – that’s all RIGHT. Nothing wrong there.

  • Tim Frie

    I’ll second Matt, Cara. You. Are. A Hero.

  • Mike Darche

    Tim– this post is very encouraging like a breath of fresh air for the doubtful. You’re spot on about the nature of fear. It’s totally our own resistance and the horrible possibilities that we allow to run through our minds. Thanks for putting this up!

  • Raj

    In past had made a big blunder with one of our client,where we came across has a complete idiot .After 6 months, this morning had put him a mail and make fresh pitch on same project … I had exactly the same feeling of uncertainty and fear all that you explained.Thanks allot Tim, it really helped, gives me reassurance that its not just me , there are many like us…and I am on right path, thx again

    P.S I have put the mail, Waiting for his reply

  • Tim Frie

    Mike, my pleasure. Thanks for sharing!

  • Tim Frie

    Raj, thanks for sharing! It takes a lot of courage to make yourself vulnerable, especially after making a mistake. Let me know how it turns out (seriously).


  • Jared O’Toole

    Great post Tim. This is all true and reading it really pumps me up to get back to work. Fear is a great thing. If you ever wake up and don’t feel some sense of uncertainty then you really have to go and shake things up in your life.

  • Tim Frie

    Thanks for reading, Jared.

    Totally right. It’s an easy mistake to make: I’m comfortable, things are “stable” – it’s all great. But that’s more of a fallacy, especially in entrepreneurship.

    Keep going,


  • Daniel DiPiazza

    Tim, you’re on the mark with this – and to add to your point…I don’t think it’s about completely eliminating fear. I think it’s just about becoming increasingly comfortable with fear, and recognizing it as an indicator of positive things to come. When I was fighting, I always saw fear as heightened awareness, not a signal to run and hide. Am I scared to get punched in the face…I mean, I don’t like it…but I am certainly alert and at my best when expecting it.

  • Tim Frie

    Spot on, Daniel!

    The concept of chasing true fearlessness is simply not attainable. You can become less fearFUL of something over time. And the only the way to make that happen? Do what you’re afraid of.

  • cesar romero

    @caramurphy:disqus you are doing awesome and I agree with you! Having these internal questions is actually a sign that you want to improve and go to next level!!! Keep it up!!!

    I was so uncertain and insecure when I moved to USA, but I knew it was for bigger and better things. I didn’t let that deter me from moving forward.

    Lately, I’ve been having the same feelings as Cara about doing good enough and being on the right path, but I think it has to do with the fact that my day job really isn’t cutting it for me on a personal level. Don’t get me wrong, I’m thankful for the opportunity at this job, but my gut is telling me “let it go” and honestly, I’m scared of letting go, but soon I will write my open letter on how good it feels letting go of those things and relationships that are holding you back.

    Tim, thank you very much for this article and it’s articles and people from Under30 community that inspire me to keep improving and give the best I have everyday.

    Here’s to being vulnerable and still move forward, that’ the only true courage!!!


  • Tim Frie

    Cesar, thank YOU for sharing with us.

    It’s great that you have been able to identify that the job you’re working at is not providing you with the fulfillment that you need.

    Here’s the real-life smack down: you know what you want. You know what you need more of. And the only way to get it is by leaving behind what you need less of, and going after what you want.

    The perfect time or moment will never come. YOU have to make the right time.

    Do it,


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