However, don't allow it to dictate what you're going to do with your life.
I don't know why people continually throw around the phrase 'don't be afraid to fail' like it's some kind of New Age mantra. Let me tell you a little something about fear.
Fear works. Fear is healthy. Fear causes us to look upon our OWN works and tremble.
This is necessary since it doesn't matter what we're doing, we want to make sure that it's done right...or at the very least, it's done just as well as we can possibly manage before we show to the world at large. Imagine if, as a species, we became deluded enough to throw the concept of fear completely aside for a single day.
We'd be fucking dead.
Mutually assured destruction would no longer act as a deterrent. Quarantined patients would run wild through the streets. People who had no business being naked would allow themselves to wave their dangly bits in full view of pastors. Children would play outside without the fear of being part of a Chris Hanson television event.
Alright, so that last part isn't so bad, but you see where I'm going with this.
That voice inside your head that nags at you and prevents you from embarrassing yourself can be your best friend even as it's acting as your worst enemy. You need each other more than you need an audience and here's why:
Start a project, any project, and listen to the whiny incessant prattling that warns you the effort isn't up to your standard or you're going to fail before you even get it off the ground. That's okay, let it drone on as much as it wants to; but for the love of whatever god you believe in, don't pretend that it doesn't exist. While it's being a massive pain in the ass, it's also providing you with the greatest asset that any living thing can possibly have. It's being your first critic.
Trust me, you want critics. You want as many as you can possibly grab on to when you're a green-horned little nooblet/ette. These critics will thicken your skin and bolster your confidence if you examine their commentary from the right angle and your self-doubt is certainly no exception to the rule.
Consider that every individual who's achieved any modicum of success has had to go through flaming hoops and the lashing of countless venomous tongues to get where they are. The difference between them and the men and women that history have forgotten is simple; they didn't ignore fear, they proved it wrong.
The message is subtle, but it's clear. When you throw caution to the wind and pretend that you're not filled with turmoil and trepidation, you stop giving your full effort into whatever project you've decided to undertake. You've effectively said that you don't care about negativity and instead will only focus on the positive.
It's a grand message, isn't it?
Roses and sugarplums and hugs and kitties?
Well, here's a secret for you. Maybe you're not aware of it yet, but the universe sure as fuck is.
You need both positive and negative currents in order to produce any amount of energy. Nothing worthwhile has ever occurred as a result of 'positivity'. Even something as tiny as an atom, an innocuous and inconspicuous thing that makes up the whole of our reality contains both anions and ions. Sure, you can make the argument that hydrogen only contains one proton. Guess what, smart-ass? There's still a whole vacuum that surrounds it and at its core there's still a nucleus that acts as a grounding particle, so shut up.
Let's say that you're a positive thinker like Edward Teller and you want that hydrogen atom to just be positive all the time forever, so you somehow manage to engage the little element in friendly conversation.
"Hey there, Mr. Hydrogen," you say, "you would do a lot better if you weren't carrying all of that excess baggage around with you. Why don't you let it go and just be positive?"
"But, I can't!" Mr. Hydrogen protests, "If I do that, it'll be like giving up a part of who I am and I need that to stay alive!"
"Oh, that's nonsense," you chide, "all you need is a positive attitude to get yourself through all of life's problems. Trust me! I ignore all the negativity and I'm doing just great."
"Well...okay, I guess..." Mr. Hydrogen concedes and begins to split itself apart.
Then it causes a chain reaction that evaporates an entire city block.
The moral of the story? Negativity and fear are essential to the human experience. Nay, essential to the whole of reality. Denial of negativity is just as harmful as it is to be completely negative. If you're not prepared to become comfortable with the fear that lives inside you and you spend your entire life ignoring its existence, you're bound to either spontaneously combust or implode like poor Mr. Hydrogen the second things get a little too difficult.
So don't sit there and say fear's holding you back or thinking negatively is going to hinder your progress. Instead, realize that fear can play a motivating factor in achieving excellence and negativity can assist you in refining your craft, whatever that craft may be.
Life is not meant to be easy. If it were, what would be the point?