Glass Half Full? A review of Susan Jeffers Book ‘Feel the Fear & Do it Anyway’

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I must admit that when ‘Feel the Fear’, a self-development classic, was suggested for book group I didn’t feel overly compelled to read it – at a time in my life when I feel pretty confident about most aspects of my life I didn’t think reading about ‘fear’ would be relevant to me.  But as a book-group read of the month, I had to give it a shot… however, upon embarking, I quickly realised some of the fear that Jeffers talks about can also be that lesser feeling of apprehension, nervousness or the inner nagging ‘chatterbox’ who overthinks that I can actually quite easily relate to… With this in mind, I found and share some great nuggets of advice and inspiration:


You will handle it!

“If you knew you could handle anything that came your way, what would you have to fear? The answer is nothing”

The premise of the book is basically all about building resilience and personal confidence in your life so you can be sure that whatever life throws at you that you will handle it.  Jeffers reminds us that fear, apprehension and anxiety are completely normal feelings that everyone experience.

You should embrace it!

In fact, she suggests that if you don’t feel any fear you are not stretching yourself and growing… things that I agree are part of a well lived and enjoyable life.  If it is the case that everyone feels fear but many people just get on and do things, taking risks and embracing life then fear is not the issue – it is in fact us!  We need to re-educate ourselves to see fear as a necessary part of our lives.

You are in control & you can choose!

 “Simply notice that your chatterbox is making you a victim, and commit yourself to replacing it with a loving voice”

We need to accept responsibility that we have the power over our own perceptions, reactions and actions.  Jeffers asserts we have a plethora of choices open to us at any time and we are free to choose how to respond or which path to take.  We can choose to quieten that inner chatterbox and we can choose whether we feel we are the driver or the passenger in our lives.  The journey analogy continues to work well with Jeffers as she reminds us that if we see life as a journey or a continual process of learning that we can’t make wrong decisions.  She urges us to see our lives as investigations or studies, ‘the university of life’ where we are continually learning.  It is in this way we can never lose and will feel more comfortable taking risks.

Easier said than done!

Of course, it’s all fine and well to say, just be a glass half full but how might one really quieten that chatterbox or Feel the Fear AND Do it Anyway?

She gives us some practical advice to follow:

  1. Creating a Book of Abundance: start a beautiful notebook where you start to list positive things about your life, past and present and don’t stop until you reach 150. Each day add to it anything that is great! e.g. beautiful sky, new clothes, haircut, nice food etc.
  2. Affirmations: Having those positive and motivational affirmations or quote surrounding you in everyday life, posted around the house, read to yourself in the morning etc. Something I personally have tried but always forget to read!
  3. Create a balanced life-grid (my naming): this would be something like a 9 box grid covering all aspects you want to be important in what you would consider a great life and develop each part so you will be happy with it. In this way, if one part of your life feels tough or challenging at a moment in time you will have other areas where things are still doing well, making you more resilient.

Feel the Fear & Do it Anyway is a book with a huge number of thoughts and ideas, and I imagine different people would have a different take-out depending on situation, circumstance or current state of mind!  However, I would say, it’s a classic for a reason and encourage you to give it a shot, it’s a quick read and despite being a little woowoo in places there are some interesting ideas and it can really help to give you perspective and encourage you to take a few more risks…


Cat Haigh is the founder of Sorting Self, an on & offline community aimed at empowering and inspiring busy mums to be their best selves.  Currently Sorting Self holds monthly talks with expert speakers and a monthly self-development book group in North London.  For more information and to join the mailing list go to





2017 Great Self Development Reads… Read on…

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After a few friendly recommendations an then a bit of a walk round Foyles New Year suggestions as well as a look at the classics I’ve come up with a few suggestions for some 2017 development reads… See what you think…

1. Leap Year: How to make big decisions, be more resilient and change your life for good by Helen Russell
Former Marie Claire editor now living in Denmark, spends a year trying to overhaul every area of her life and sharing the results with the reader


2. A Mindfullness Guide for the Frazzled by Ruby Wax
Known TV presenter and now distinguished academic Ruby Wax tells us how we can remain calm, healthy and happy in a hectic world.  I saw her speak a few years ago at The School of Life, very engaging and entertaining.

3. 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey
This famous book will get you focusing on all the big stuff – I recently read this, having avoided it for years but he surprisingly is focused on people and their whole multi-faceted lives putting family first etc.  An interesting read and of great practical use

4. We Should all Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Bestselling and prize winning writer’s book based on her Ted talk where she investigates what feminism means for modern women today

5. Thrive by Adrianna Huffington
In this deeply personal book, Arianna talks candidly about her own challenges with managing time and prioritising the demands of a career and two daughters. Drawing on the latest groundbreaking research and scientific findings in the fields of psychology, sports, sleep and physiology that show the profound and transformative effects of meditation, mindfulness, unplugging and giving, Arianna shows us the way to a revolution in our culture, our thinking, our workplaces, and our lives.

6. Hurrah for Gin by Katie Kirbi
A book on parenting with no useful advice.  Based on Katie’s blog, shares beautifully honest anecdotes and illustrations from the parenting frontline.

7. 50 Self-Help Classics: 50 Inspirational Books to Transform Your Life from Timeless Sages to Contemporary Gurus by Tom Butler-Bowdon
Why read them all when we can get someone to tell us which are the ones we really should read  – this shortcut book receives four and half stars on amazon!

Perhaps there is something here you fancy.  If you are local to Muswell Hill please join us for the monthly book group – give me a shout and sign up to the blog to hear more about the books we have read so far, reviews etc

What do you like to read?  What would you recommend?

Our development book group – what’s next – you choose!

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I have listed some of the book group choices below.  Please reply back with your top three choices and I will calculate the winner!

Also, please get in touch with any more suggestions you might have for us!!

1.Productivity: “Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress Free Productivity” by David Allen

Productivity guru David Allen shows how to organise a busy life, overcome bad habits and still be able to function calmly and effectively.  The reviews on amazon are great and state it is good way to get organised effectively so could be great for us busy mums.  (About £10 or cheaper second hand)

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Help us pick the books for the next book group!

2. Happiness: “Happiness by Design: Finding Pleasure and Purpose in Everyday Life” by Paul Dolan

Professor Paul Dolan reveals how we can be happier by using cutting edge research he shows us we can redesign our lives to make ourselves happier.

3. Cooking: “Hemsley & Hemsley Good & Simple Cookbook” by The Hemsley Sisters

I suppose everyone has heard of the Hemsley sisters and their clean eating agenda.  I figured rather than reading all about it we could actually all try to cook a few recipes and discuss!  This book is £12.50 on Amazon.

4. Cooking: “Honestly Healthy in a Hurry: The Busy Food-Lover’s Cookbook” by Natasha Corrett

I saw this healthy cookbook recommended in a magazine, it is supposed to be about eating healthy quickly, prepping on a Sunday night for the week etc.  It costs about £17 but I think you can get cheaper if you try.

5. Learning: “The Longevity Book: Live Stronger, Live Better. The Art of Ageing Well” with Cameron Diez

This book is all about the science of aging and is focused specifically on women.  When Cameron Diez turned 39 everyone started asking her about turning 40 and she realised she was scared so she decided to learn more about the aging process which led to this book.  Is a co-write and receives strong reviews on Amazon.  Cost is £8.50

6. Light read? “How to be a women” with Caitlyn Moran

Book about feminism by comedian Caitlyn Moran. Why are we supposed to get Brazilians? Should we use Botox? Do men secretly hate us? And why does everyone ask you when you’re going to have a baby? Part memoir, part rant, Caitlin answers the questions that every modern woman is asking.  Cost is about £6

7. Personal development “Playing Big: A practical guide for brilliant women like you” by Tar Mohr

Five years ago, Tara Mohr began to see a pattern in her work as an expert in leadership: women with tremendous talent, ideas and aspiration were not recognising their own brilliance. They felt that they were ‘playing small’ in their lives and careers and wanted to ‘play bigger’, but didn’t know how. And so Tara devised a step-by-step programme for playing big from the inside out: this book is the result.  About £7

8. Development/ biography “Thrive” by Adrianna Huffington

In this deeply personal book, Arianna talks candidly about her own challenges with managing time and prioritising the demands of a career and two daughters. Drawing on the latest groundbreaking research and scientific findings in the fields of psychology, sports, sleep and physiology that show the profound and transformative effects of meditation, mindfulness, unplugging and giving, Arianna shows us the way to a revolution in our culture, our thinking, our workplaces, and our lives.

Vote now!  Send your top 3 choices!  Drop me a line at

The Sorting Self, self development book group will take place at The Clissold Arms on the following dates:

Monday 19th September

Monday 17th October

Monday 21st November

Sorting Self organises expert talks for busy mums, if you are interested please sign up to the mailing list 🙂