Do Things That Scare You

Posted: 2011-11-14
Category: Personal

I was giving a short talks at DevXS in Lincoln this weekend based on my Nomadic Web Development article and I was asked "Where did you find the courage to quit your job, leave your flat and just go?". I mumbled something about not being sure but I am really annoyed with myself for not coming up with a substantially better answer. If asked again I would say "Do the things that scare you. Try anything and you'll either succeed or fall on your ass and learn some valuable lessons, either way you come out stronger.". That might be some motivational bull-hockey, but I believe it and you guys should give it a try.

Over the last year I have done so many things that scared the living shit out of me. There was mountains in Golden and Banff that were almost entirely scree all the way to the peak with high wind and huge drops that would certainly lead to death. So many times I considered giving up and heading back down but I pushed myself, got to the top and it was epic. I started kayaking last year and I was petrified of going down waterfalls and dodging rocks in rapids, now I have a BCU 3* which shows that I am now officially "pretty good".

My most recent attempt to get over things that scare me is public speaking. As a developer we all feel nice and safe behind our screens, usernames and avatars but getting up in front of an audience is a bitch. I have done it before once or twice (EECI2009 and CICON2010) but they were only small-stages and... well I did not feel they went well as I was so new at it. This turned me off accepting talk offers and I've been a little ashamed about it for a while, but now I am hitting this on the head and giving it a go.

A month ago I spoke at PHPNE, giving an Introduction to FuelPHP and by all accounts I nailed it. People were ingaged, I spoke slowly and clearly for most of it, I didn't fall over my words or stare at the screen for the entire talk and people asked interesting questions.

This left me feeling way more comfortable to giving more talks and I already had one in the pipeline for DevXS after being asked by Alex Bilbie. This one went great, but was in a much much bigger venue and while I still felt nervous and missed out some key points in general I was happy with it:

So it's onwards an upwards from here. I'll be taking feedback, improving, speaking more and I have a few even bigger events lined up already which I'll announce as soon as I am allowed: And of course at CICON2012 which is about to release tickets.

In the mean time, if you'd like me to give a talk at your event on any of the subjects I can speak with authority: FuelPHP, PyroCMS, CodeIgniter, Git, etc or even just want me for a little bit of training, get in touch via my contact form and we can makes some plans.



Rob M


I couldn't agree more.

And life doesn't always wait for you to do those things. Our worst fears sometimes come true, to give us the opportunity to overcome them.

And then, even if you don't succeed, you will learn what not to do next time.

Tim Post


I think the worst thing you can do in life is let yourself go stagnate. Seven years ago, I sold everything I owned and re-located to The Philippines from the US at the request of a very iffy employer. I ended up resigning a few months after I arrived, and I've been here ever since. I can say that being in a completely different culture for so long has radically changed me (for the better) as a person. I'm also now raising a family, something I never thought I'd do.

You can't get too comfortable professionally until you've done 'that thing'. And 'that thing', unfortunately will remain unknown to you until you actually do it. It helps if you are financially smart and save as much money as you possibly can. If an opportunity comes, you have all of the resources you need to explore it. Sometimes, our own wild and crazy ideas are in fact the best opportunities that will ever present themselves.



Very inspiring! Thanks a lot.

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