Take this PhD application for instance. I would absolutely love to study for a PhD and in my own little head I think I'm quite capable of doing it and succeeding, but I have this nagging little demon telling me that everyone is probably snickering at my clueless audacity. "What on earth makes her think she's capable of something like THAT??" they're saying under their breath. It's horrible, having people fictitiously calling you names behind your back. It unnerves me and often makes me want to hide away and not face the possibility of failure in the first place, but that would be stupid so I shrug it off as best I can, make apologies for my own petulance and just carry on. To quote Susan Jeffers, I feel the fear and do it anyway.
It works, for the most part. I suspect that had I not felt the fear but done it anyway I might not have taken up mountain biking - which led me to meet Gordon. I might not have got a place on a Masters programme at a top 3 university - which I still think was a fluke since I didn't technically meet the entry criteria. And I probably wouldn't have signed up to numerous things throughout the past few years which made me feel nervous - conferences, OUSA, Platform, Great North Run to name a few.
So I ultimately might be making a fool of myself even thinking about applying for a PhD. I might not be actually capable, intelligent or academic enough to do one, but I won't ever know that for sure unless I apply. There are myriad quotes I could cite to substantiate this theory: "shy bairns get nowt" (my mother), "if you never try you'll never know" (unknown but it's common as muck!), and my personal favourite "of course you can't become, if you only say what you would've done" (Len 'Steal my Sunshine' - one hit wonder).
I'm feeling the fear (for 'fear' read 'self-doubt'), but sod it, I'm just gonna do it anyway. I've not got much to lose when all is considered so I might as well. You never know, I might have just what it takes to do a PhD and I just don't know it yet. I might be a born learner. I'm very much doubting it but then stranger things have happened.