Life Hack for Getting Suddenly Awesome: Do What You’re Afraid to Do


When I was in college, I was a waitress. Before becoming a waitress, I had been shy my whole life. A few years later, I wasn’t anymore.

It is still one of the best things I’ve ever done.

It was also the first job I was ever good at.

It was hard, though. When I first started working there, I wasn’t a waitress. I was a table busser. One of my jobs was to bring pitchers of water to the customers. I didn’t have to say anything, and the people at the tables barely noticed me, but my first week it was hard to do this. I knew it would get easier, though, and it did.

Soon, I got very good at that job and was very fast. Then, a few months later, my boss asked if I’d like to try bringing trays put to the tables. When she asked me, I wanted to say no, but I said yes without thinking about it too hard.

I was very nervous. The first time I carried a tray to a table and had to announce what each dish was, my voice was shaking. It was several days before that stopped.

Soon, I was an expert at that, too. I began to make good money and six months later, I was a waitress. And about a year after that, I was a really good waitress.

“Always do what you are afraid to do.” That is what Ralph Waldo Emerson said and I still think it’s one of the deepest things I’ve ever heard.


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  1. Great post….

    Had same experience for same reasons in hotel business:….I kept going after positions I was afraid I couldn’t live up to….and within three years of being a bus boy, became am Assistant Duty Mgt at prestige hotel , met with personally and was responsible and in charge for VIP private details of Princess Diana and Charles suite back in early 80’s.. Age 21.

    I realized then that many brakes or limitations are really false fears….regular people can achieve great things.

    Grab on to small accomplishments and replay them over in your mind . Tell yourself, I didn’t know I could do it till I did it.

    Confidence comes from doing.

  2. Dear Mollie,

    I have found that preparing for a new work experience, ahead of time, gave me the courage to do several jobs that I was “jumping” up to do. I haven’t given in to the fear very many times (none that come to me now), but preparation (whenever possible) was a major factor in giving me a good career.

    Most cordially, Celia

    1. Thing is, too, fear feeds on itself. When you give into it once, its harder to overcome it the next time. That’s why college students should do as much as they can to “break out.”