Fear is false. That’s what Michelle Obama just said in an interview with Oprah Winfrey about her new book Becoming while I was scrolling through Facebook. I got to thinking. Fear really is false. 100%.

You know how I know that? Because for the last two years I’ve been full of fear. It’s been a steady undercurrent that I’ve had to teach myself to ignore. Robert Downey Jr. said it once in an interview years ago, “feel the fear and do it anyway”. I swear he wrote a book about it, but my Google search says different.

An idea is not a business

I didn’t set out to create a clothing brand, or even a company. I started out wanting to develop an idea. What if I could make a cool new product that doesn’t exist, maybe even find some inner fulfillment while doing it. Something that would allow me to be creative, to be independent, to be more in charge of my future. Unearthing something from deep down inside of me that I feel I need to share with people (which I do). My contribution while I’m here for 80 or 90-some-odd years (if I’m lucky).

But what happens is, once you start developing an idea it becomes a thing. And that thing needs a place to live – both figuratively inside your head, and physically in the universe. So I started building my idea, which in my case was patterns, that became prototypes – which are called samples in the clothing industry. As I started building my idea – which for me was jeans with a boardshort waist, I felt like they needed a place to live – a brand, a company – and the ball started rolling.

Watch your back

What I didn’t expect was to be literally blindsided by fear. Sometimes I would (and still do) wake up in the middle of the night with a pit in my stomach – oh no, what have I done, I’ve ruined my life. Sometimes it would happen in the middle of the day – shit, I’ve really screwed up this time…my life was good, simple, even happy.

But here’s the thing.

That was all false. Because fear is false. It’s something that your brain conjures up to keep you safe. It was my mind stepping into a territory it’d never been in before – and it was trying to protect me, to keep me safe. Human instinct kicking in. Thanks, but no thanks. Safe isn’t going to get me where I want to go. The risk is part of the thrill, the ride, the journey. To paraphrase a quote by Jim Rohn, what’s important is not the money; what’s important is the person you become in the process of following your dreams.

Beliefs are stronger than fear

Building Over Winter has challenged me mentally, physically and spiritually. So much so that I often tell people – I’m totally stepping out on faith – like literally walking the plank. Faith that there’s something else for me down the road, something that I’m supposed to be doing. Faith that it will all work out. That I’m right where I need to be, doing what I’m supposed to be doing. Faith that the fear I’m feeling is total bullshit – that it’s all manufactured by my mind, which by the way isn’t really me – I am not my mind, I have a mind.

You have to push through the fear. You have to believe. Trust your gut. Trust yourself. Trust in something greater than yourself. If you think you’re all that, try swimming in the ocean for a while – or surfing. It’s pretty humbling.

Feel the fear, but do it anyway.

Because fear is false.

— END —

Leave Your Shore is a series of short stories, company news and inspiration written by the founder of Over Winter, Ryan Mathews. If you have comments or just want to say hey, you can use the form below or email support@overwinterco.com. We’d love to hear from you.

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