Rachel Shillcock: My Journey Through Fear

Orde Saunders' avatarPublished: by Orde Saunders

Rachel Shillcock (@missrachilli) was speaking at Dot York about fear.  These are my notes from her talk.

What is fear?

The moment you doubt weather you can fly is the moment you cease forever to be able to do it.


  1. Immediate fear - clear and present physical danger
  2. The other fear - when you are out of your comfort zone

Fear:  unpleasant emotion, feel frightened, feeling anxious.

When we're afraid out brains process information differently.  We don't make rational decisions, we make wrong decisions quickly.  Our orbitio frontal cortex shuts down when we're afraid, this area is responsible for some of our creativity.  We breath faster, heart rate rises, adrenaline is released, we have trouble focusing on small tasks.  This is fight or flight mode.

Fear is an emotion.  It's powerful, not just the physical effects.   It is primitive.  Some people thrive on fear - skydivers for example - but others have negative reactions.  Fear of fear itself is what can hold us back, if we're worrying about how it will turn out we can't create good things.

My story

When I was 11 I learned to code, at school I was the I.T. girl.  Got my first real job in 2009 but it soon felt outdated.  Got bored after a year in a new job, then the same happened again with a third job and was having trouble getting out.  So I started freelancing, although I had no worked lined up I had a reputation.  However, I didn't feel I was worth anything.  I didn't understand how to market myself, I was paralysed by fear - I was scared of my reputation.

  1. Build friendships, not work relationships.
  2. Surround yourself with amazing people.  You don't know when you need them.
  3. Look after yourself, nothing is more important to you than you, your family and your health.
  4. Perform like your life depends on it.  You'll be surprised what you can do.
  5. Hard work pays off every single time.  Experience counts, we make out own luck.

Fear can scare us and make us feel vulnerable.  But it can make us understand that we care about, help us do amazing things.

Fear can be an opportunity.  What are you afraid of?

How can you turn your fears into a power for good?

  • Be positive and think positive
  • See fear as an opportunity
  • Weigh up your options (look at pros vs cons of pushing past fear)
  • Think of how much more you could have done if you hadn't given in to your fears
  • Get past your fears to realise your potential.

Live your life as if everything is a miracle.  Look for excitement in everything you do.

Face your fears head on, expose yourself to fear.  You get used to them.  Ask yourself why you're afraid.  Take time to do the things you don't think you can do.  Uncertaintly breeds fear - learn about what you're afraid of.  Other fears will come along, learn to overcome fear because you need to do it every time.

Once you overcome these obstacles you can do better things.  It's OK to be scared.

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