Some Nerve: Lessons Learned While Becoming Brave

Overview

One woman’s quest to conquer her fears and embrace life—and to inspire others to do the same

Patty Chang Anker grew up eager to please and afraid to fail. But after thirty-nine years, she decided it was time to stop being a chicken. Motivated initially to become a better role model for her two young daughters, she vowed to face the fears that had taken root like weeds, choking the fun and spontaneity out of life. She learned to dive into a swimming pool, ride a bike, do a ...

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Overview

One woman’s quest to conquer her fears and embrace life—and to inspire others to do the same

Patty Chang Anker grew up eager to please and afraid to fail. But after thirty-nine years, she decided it was time to stop being a chicken. Motivated initially to become a better role model for her two young daughters, she vowed to face the fears that had taken root like weeds, choking the fun and spontaneity out of life. She learned to dive into a swimming pool, ride a bike, do a handstand, and surf. As she shared her experiences, she discovered that most people suffer from their own secret terrors—of driving, flying, heights, public speaking, and more. It became her mission to help others do what they thought they couldn’t, and to feel for themselves the powerful sense of being alive that is the true reward of becoming brave.

Inspired and inspiring, Some Nerve draws on Anker’s interviews with teachers, therapists, coaches, and clergy to impart both practical advice and profound wisdom. Through her own journey and the stories of dozens of others who have triumphed over common fears, she conveys with humor and infectious exhilaration the most vital lesson of all: Fear isn’t an end point, but the point of entry to a life of incomparable joy.

FEARS INCLUDE: Aging, Becoming Boring, Biking, Breaking bones, Bullies, Chaos, Clutter, Cold, Control (loss of), Crime, Death, Driving, Exercise, Failure, Flying, Heights, Letting go, Looking dumb, Math, Nature (esp. sharks), P.E., Pleasure, Public Speaking, Public toilets, Rejection, Roller coasters, Success, Surfing, Tubing, Unemployment, Unknown, Water, Writing. And Wedgies.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
The author’s desire to bring up daughters unafraid to try new things—despite her own unforgiving parents, who refused to accept failure—leads this suburban mother and blogger (www.upside-down-patty.blogspot.com) to explore the everyday fears that prevent people from living their lives. As children, many folks develop intense aversions to relatively benign activities like swimming, biking, or public speaking, and these fears often extend unhealthily into adulthood. Anker sets out to dismantle these childhood phobias by changing the sense of herself that she’s come to accept. En route she finds tons of encouragement—and offers it too, mentoring her children, as well as adults she meets at her local coffee shop, a writer’s retreat, and a soul-baring Toastmasters meeting. Anker shows that the key to success is finding a teacher who is willing to meet you where you are, and having a friend nearby who is both willing to believe in you and make sure you don’t chicken out. This warm memoir is not a traditional self-help book, yet the joy that Anker and her peers feel when they allow themselves to be beginners—even after the age of 40—will be motivation enough for can’t-do readers to take steps toward making their lives a little bigger and better. Agent: Brettne Bloom; Kneerim, Williams & Bloom. (Oct.)
Kirkus Reviews
2013-09-15
A blogger's humorous account of how she transcended her "nervous nature…bookish upbringing and midlife responsibilities" to discover her courage. Anker grew up "eating fear of failure like the breakfast of champions." But as she neared her 40th birthday, she became aware that her timidity was not only limiting her, but also her two small daughters. So Anker dedicated herself to finding her "nerve." She began her project by jumping into the murky waters of her anxieties by using the diving board at a community swimming pool. Mortally afraid of moving water, she learned how to boogie board in the Atlantic and surf the ice-cold waters of a half-frozen Lake Michigan. On land, she learned how to ride the bicycles that had secretly terrified her and speak in front of an audience without crumpling. As she let go of her anxieties, she uncluttered her own personal space, since "holding on to…belongings was tantamount to fear." Anker also came into contact with others who were dealing with phobias similar to her own--such as fear of driving or heights--or who were helping others move beyond their own psychologically imposed limitations. Not only did Anker realize that she was not alone in her suffering, she also learned that, as both a person and a parent, the most important thing she could do was to "keep [her] eye on where [she] want[ed] to go" rather than listen to her inner "Greek Chorus" of self-doubt. By changing herself, she could also transform everyone with whom she came into contact: "we start to shimmer, and the world is never the same." Lightweight but honest and inspiring.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781594486050
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
  • Publication date: 10/10/2013
  • Pages: 368
  • Sales rank: 313,568
  • Product dimensions: 6.44 (w) x 9.26 (h) x 1.21 (d)

Meet the Author

Patty Chang Anker is the author of Some Nerve: Lessons Learned While Becoming Brave (Riverhead 2013), a memoir about facing her fears and helping others to do the same. She is the blogger behind Facing Forty Upside Down, for which she was named a Good Housekeeping Blogger We Love and a Top 25 Funny Mom at Circle of Moms. She writes the "Some Nerve" blog at PsychologyToday.com and her work has also appeared in magazines and websites from Marie Claire to iVillage. When she's not facing her fears she can be found teaching yoga, publicizing other people's work, or chasing her daughters across Westchester County.

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