Fear is probably something that many of us encounter on a frequent basis. Our fears show up in so many different ways … the fear of disappointment, rejection, embarrassment, loss, spiders, heights, strangers, being seen and the list could go on and on. I often find my fears holding me back in several areas of my life.
Our reaction to fear can range from excitement, determination to overcome it or shutting down completely. The important thing is how we deal with our fears and ultimately accept them.
Arianna Huffington talks about fear in her book “On Becoming Fearless… In Love, Work, and Life.” She says, “We will never completely eliminate fear from our lives, but we can definitely get to the point where our fears do not stop us from daring to think new thoughts, try new things, take risks, fail, start again, and be happy. Fearlessness is about getting up one more time than we fall down. The more comfortable we are with the possibility of falling down, the less worried we are of what people will think if and when we do, the less judgmental of ourselves we are every time we make a mistake, the more fearless we will be, and the easier our journey will become.”
So what is being fearless all about?
Being fearless doesn’t mean you have to jump out of an airplane or anything so dramatic.
It can be something simple.
For me, it’s pushing myself outside of my comfort zone, taking a risk, jumping in and tackling the unknown. It really is about courage, determination, perseverance, and taking risks.
Recently, I’ve been blessed with two experiences that have challenged me to be more fearless.
The first experience was when I spoke at my church to over 100 people. It was challenging and uncomfortable as I spoke openly about my faith. I was feeling vulnerable, afraid, and worried that I wouldn’t remember what I intended to say. But, I got up there, did my best, and walked away feeling proud. I faced my fears and even had a fun time.
The second experience happened last weekend when we took a family Climbing Class at a local rock climbing gym. I was there mainly to support my kids as they learned the basics of climbing. I didn’t know if I wanted to give it a try when it came to be my turn.
So many emotions ran through my mind … can I do this, what if I fall, I don’t feel comfortable in this climbing gear, did I look awkward as others were watching me and so many other thoughts swirled around in my head.
The first few tries were more difficult than I imagined. I didn’t make it very far up the wall. But then, I tried again on a smaller wall. My kids
cheered me on as I conquered the “wimpy” wall. As I reached the top, I experienced a feeling of excitement, determination and pride.
Wow, I hadn’t felt these feelings for so long. I was proud of my effort. I decided to try the higher wall again. Did I make it to the top? No, but I made it up the wall higher than before and that was okay.
I learned something about myself in these two experiences …
My fears were not greater than my determination to succeed!
I stepped out with courage despite all of my fears. I could have chosen not to climb the rock wall or backed out of the speaking engagement, but I accepted them and chose to show up with the determination to do my best. And who knew I could have so much fun doing it.
Today, I invite you to think about …
- What are your fears?
- Have you faced your fears?
- Do you usually back down or strive to overcome them?
- Where can you challenge yourself to grow?
Make a list of your answers and take a step to face one of your fears. Do something that challenges you or scares you. The results might be amazing but you’ll never know until you have the courage to face your fears.
“You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You must do the thing you think you cannot do.”
– Eleanor Roosevelt