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  • Writer's pictureNicholas Pallesen

No More Playing Safe

You know that popular self-help phrase, “Do something every day that scares you”?

I heard something even better recently.

If you know me well, you know I tend to roll my eyes at most things marketing/sales. The way most people approach it is just not my vibe.

But a marketing expert wrote something a few months ago that hit me like a ton of bricks. It was about blogging, but I saw even bigger implications:

“Write about the stuff you think will scare your audience away.”

It hit me hard because I realized how scared I was of scaring others away.

I remember in the opening scene of the series “The Newsroom” (which is still, IMO, the best opening scene of a series ever!), the main character, Will McAvoy was called “The Jay Leno of news anchors. You’re popular because you don’t bother anyone.”

I remember hearing that and thinking, “Well, then I must be the Jay Leno of human beings.”

I spent much of my life trying to be the person who didn’t bother anyone. I let my blog go dormant for three years lest I write something that went viral for the wrong reasons. I rarely challenged my clients in sessions because I wanted them to like me rather than roast that "Jerk Coach Nicholas I worked with" all over social media. I was afraid to be real both on and offline because I worried, “What if they don’t like me?

Even in my singing career, I was often afraid to make bold character and musical choices that felt right to me, in fear they might not be “right”. So I played as safe as I could, hit my marks, and made sure no one could ever question my artistic choices.

The result? Well, people didn’t really question my choices! But they also rarely told me my performance moved them.

One day, I realized I wasn’t doing anyone a favor by playing safe, especially myself. Sure, if I put myself out there, people might not like it. But that's true no matter how any of us show up, right? We can’t control that. That’s life. And I realized that whether people liked me or not, I was always going to be okay.

So why not just be me?

So I started writing things on Instagram that I was convinced would lose me half my following. And yeah, some people did unfollow me. But that was overshadowed by dozens of messages from people saying that was exactly what needed to hear.

I recently challenged a couple of my clients in pretty bold ways. I said things that the second they came out of my mouth, made me think, “Oh boy, Imma gonna get fired!” And it ended up being the catalyst for them seeing something that opened up new possibilities and helped them let go of some stories they had gripped tightly for years.

Safe is nowhere near as impactful as real.

Now let me be clear: saying the stuff you think will scare people away doesn’t mean being a jerk about it! But if you follow me and resonate with the type of stuff I share, I’m pretty sure you’re not a jerk and your heart’s in the right place 😁

I’m talking about sharing from your heart. Saying what your soul is yearning to say. Saying or doing it for their genuine benefit, not as an attempt to soothe your own insecurities or fears. Knowing that the fear of scaring people off is probably every reason why you need to do it.

No one benefits from you staying small and playing safe, friends.

And there's nothing more gorgeous and powerful in the world than the deep, human connection that comes from you doing You.

So here’s my experiment for you:

Do or say something every day that you think will scare people away.

Because it won’t. Not the kind of people you’re looking for, at least. They’ll appreciate your authenticity and honesty.

And besides, it just feels really great to be real ❤️


Curious about the things I share here, and interested in a fresh perspective on mental health and performance psychology? Follow me on Instagram!


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