Fear Is A Part Of Life – By Matt Slocum

No matter what field you work in, or what you do in your personal time, fear is a part of life. It is just human nature for certain things to make us uncomfortable, or downright scared. Do you know anyone that doesn’t seem to have any fear? Don’t believe it, they’re afraid of something, but they have learned to live with (or even overcome) the fears standing in the way of their goals.

Personally, I have a fear of public speaking, but I’m currently leader of a PASS chapter and a SQL Saturday organizer. I find myself speaking in front of people on a fairly regular basis. How did I overcome this fear? In short, I didn’t. However, rather than focus on my fear of speaking in front of people, I focus on something I’m passionate about, SQL Server. By focusing on the positive, I am able to keep the fear in check. I try to stay really focused on and excited about the topic I’m presenting/discussing and the fear of being in front of people melts away.

At my first PASS Summit, I determined that I wanted to meet people. Instead of letting fear stand in my way of meeting new (and AWESOME) people (like Andrea), I focused on my passion for SQL Server and the fact that the people I was meeting also had a similar passion. This resulted in many interactions and relationships formed. This is what SQL Family is all about. Getting to know one another and help each other out.

If there are fears standing in the way of your goals, focus on the positive and what excites you. If you can keep the positive in mind, you can help keep the fear in check or even be able to suppress it altogether. Don’t be afraid to look or sound stupid. We all make mistakes (it’s what makes us human), just focus on the positive and keep moving forward. Learn from your mistakes, but move forward with them rather than letting them cripple you.


Celebrities (Hollywood, SQL Community/Family, etc…) are just like you and I, they’re just more well known. If you run into one, don’t let fear stop you from starting a conversation. Chances are, you’ll find out they’re just as human as you or I and you may make a new friend. I met Jonathan Frakes (Commander Riker from Star Trek The Next Generation) once and found out that he was a very friendly man. I didn’t spend nearly as much time talking to him as I would have liked, due to my fear. Afterwards, I regretted not pursuing a longer conversation with him, but I’m not letting my fear or regret cripple my future progress. If I ever meet him again, I’ll be sure to have a good long discussion with him.

Fear is a challenge we all face. Find your way to overcome it and you can accomplish anything.