Goal: Conquer a Fear

Part of the Goals 2010 Challenge Series, Goal 24

I have an embarrassing confession to make. The first time I went to Paris, I didn’t go up the Eiffel Tower. I was too afraid, because I am afraid of heights. Afterward, I was bummed out, because I thought I would never get another chance to visit again. Fortunately, my sister and her family visited the next year. In order to save face in front of my 4 year-old nephew and 12 year-old niece, I faced my fears and went up the Eiffel Tower. I remember being very nervous. My eyes were squeezed shut. On purpose I stuck myself in the middle of the crowd so I wouldn’t have to look out the glass windows. In a second I opened my eyes and laughed at how easy the trip was. I felt silly. I had almost missed an opportunity, because I had let my fear paralyze me.

I am not the bravest person. My insecurities continuously creep up. This year I agreed to do several presentations and have taken charge of being the forerunner of technology at my school. I have many fears that something might go wrong and I will be solely responsible for scaring my institution into never allowing technology in the center again. I fear people will regret asking me to present or provide a workshop. See, this year I have taken on the challenge of trying to help many educators and schools see the benefit of using technology, specifically web 2.0 tools. At the conferences I have attended I have seen many educators hostile to the mere suggestion. I am trying a different approach that I am hoping pays off but I am not sure. However, I realize I cannot let my fears paralyze me into missing an opportunity. Therefore, I plan to practice, practice, practice. Additionally, I plan to prepare myself mentally. In my experience, we sometimes psyche ourselves out mentally.

What are your fears? Will you join me in not letting them prevent us from missing opportunities?

Reflect on a fear you will try to conquer. If you want to take this one step further, have your students reflect on their fears.

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This is goal 24 of this series! If you’d like to join the challenge, please read this post!

Don’t forget to leave a comment that you accomplished this goal using the hashtag #30Goals!

How do you conquer your fears?

Shelly Terrell

Shelly Sanchez Terrell (@ShellTerrell) is an award winning digital innovator, an international speaker/consultant, and the author of Hacking Digital Learning with EdTech Missions, The 30 Goals Challenge for Teachers, and Learning to Go. She has trained teachers and taught English language learners in over 20 countries as an invited guest expert by organizations, like the US Embassy, UNESCO Bangkok, Cultura Inglesa of Brazil, the British Council in Tel Aviv, IATEFL Slovenia, HUPE Croatia, ISTEK Turkey, and Venezuela TESOL. She has been recognized by several organizations and publications as a leader in the movement of teacher driven professional development as the founder and organizer of various online conferences, Twitter chats, and Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs). Two of the projects she co-organized were shortlisted for ELTons, #ELTChat and the Virtual Round Table Language and Technology online conference. She was named Woman of the Year by the National Association of Professional Women, awarded a Bammy Award as a founder of #Edchat, and named as one of the 10 Most Influential People in EdTech by Tech & Learning. Her greatest joy is being the mother of baby Savannah and Rosco the pug. Shelly has an Honors BA in English with a Minor in Communication and a specialization in Electronic Media from UTSA, a Masters in Curriculum Instruction ESL from the University of Phoenix, and a CELTA from CELT Athens. She regularly shares her tips for effective technology integration via Twitter (@ShellTerrell), Facebook.com/ShellyTerrell, and on her blog, TeacherRebootCamp.com, which has won several awards and recognitions as one of the top ESL, Edtech and Elearning blogs. Find over 400 of her slide presentations at https://www.slideshare.net/ShellTerrell/presentations


  1. Shelly,
    Thanks for your constant encouragment to reflect on our lives.
    I’ve got lots of fears and I’ve always struggled not to let them paralyse me. The best way to overcome them is by practising. One of my fears is speaking in public and I’ve forced myself to be an interpreter, which has meant interpreting professionals in conferences. I feel proud of myself for doing so. I take any chance in front of me to speak in public so as to overcome my shyness.

    • Marisa,

      Thanks for sharing! Public speaking is actually a fear most people have even more than death. Jerry Seinfeld, the famous comedian, once said that at a funeral more people would rather be in the coffin than reading the eulogy.

  2. I’m so with you, Shell. You need to visit Magpie Girl Transplanted to Copenhagen via Oregon. She is so cute and funny, but so love her soul stuff. She started a No Fear campaign on her blog on 12/31/09 http://www.magpie-girl.com/20091231/fear-how-to-break-up-with-the-bastard/
    People took pics of their commitment to no fear and sent them in to her. Very cool.
    The fear I’m conquering is unemployment. Mentoring my “teacher ed. mentees” to get over their fears of not finding a job and interviews! Mentoring my kids to release fear of not being good enough. Lastly will not let unemployment,paralyze me from moving forward, learning to blog,connecting with the global education community! xo

    • teachingwithsoul,

      Seriously, you are brave and amazing! We need more people who stand up to their fears, because amazing things are just around the corner. Sometimes we just have to keep pushing.

  3. Shelly:
    I commented earlier on your constructive criticism post. May I say something about conquering your fears: Your blog is truly quite compelling, the work of a very accomplished, intelligent, compassionate individual. I think the sooner you accept your wonderful qualities, the sooner you will be striding to the front of a jam-packed hall, eager to share your knowledge with people who are pre-disposed to judge you in a very positive way. You’ll still be nervous–but it will be a good nervous, not fear.
    Keep up the great work!

    • Dan,

      Thank you for the uplifting message! I think compassion gets us further than any other feeling. It stirs us to action. I never want to lose that feeling and blogging has helped keep that passion ignited. I’m lucky to have a community of supporters who stand by me.

  4. Kudos to you, Shelly, for being so brave and open about a topic that is not really popular, but all the more important in both our personal and professional lives! — “Remember that fear always lurks behind perfectionism. Confronting your fears and allowing yourself the right to be human can, paradoxically, make you a far happier and more productive person.” (Dr. David M. Burns)

    • Matthias,

      Kudos to you! I know you are a great proponent of technology and we are located in the same country so you must encounter this resistance as well. That is a great quote by Dr. Burns.

  5. I’m hoping the decision to take up your challenge and share my fear will in some way free me of it. You see, I’m afraid of not being competent or savvy enough to use all of the wonderful tech tools I learn about through my PLN and edchat. As the librarian in K-5 school which also has a tech coordinator, I’m not pressured by administration to train staff or introduce tech to students, yet I’m blown away by all I see and hear about, and I’d love to move my building into the 21st century. At the same time, I have no background in technology, and feel very much like a fish out of water. So much is blocked at my school, I don’t get the chance to experiment much, nor to try things out with students. I am somewhat vocal about unblocking many of our filtered sites, but I almost feel like a fake since I am not at all comfortable using these sites. There, I’ve said it!

    • Ruth,

      Thanks for being so honest. I think many educators have the same fears and they are valid. Thank you for sharing. I think many educators new to technology will relate to this and appreciate this honesty.

  6. I am taking a leap right into my fear next year. I’m glad that I have all of you right here with me. It is a comforting thing to know that others have fears. Thank you for being so open and honest. Sharing fears makes them not so scary.

  7. this is so you Shelly:
    I have many fears that something might go wrong and I will be solely responsible for scaring my institution into never allowing technology in the center again.

    Even your fears are about others and about education.. what a sweet soul.

    I’m halfway through Seth Godin’s latest… Linchpin… I highly recommend it. He talks of the lizard brain… and how we must quiet it.
    his post on the lizard: http://tinyurl.com/yz6dt7n

    i almost always have a pit in my stomach… i’ve learned to embrace it… smooth – fear free – sailing rarely results in anything remarkable.

  8. Mrs. Terrell:
    Once again you have listed a great goal in conquering your fears! I am currently in an educational media class here at the University of South Alabama, where we are taught the basics of some technologies that we can use in the classroom when we become teachers! I would have never thought about using technology beyond power points in my classes before this class. Thanks to teachers like you and my professor our students will be better off due to your efforts! So keep up the great work of integrating technology into the classrooms!!

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