Today I want to talk about fear. How many times in life have we stopped doing something because we were afraid? I’m sure you have heard the quote, “What would your life be like if you weren’t afraid?”
I often challenge myself to face my fears. There have also been times when I opted out of an experience or opportunity because I was afraid. When I think about the outcomes of both scenarios, I realize that when I chose to face my fears, good things happened.
This weekend, I was watching someone contemplate going down a huge water slide. She went back and forth for several minutes, looked at her parents and friends for encouragement and let other kids go in front of her. Then, she opted out and decided to walk back down the stairs.
She started to cry. A friend came over to tell her it was OK. A lifeguard came over and told her she could do it and she would be there if she needed any help once she got in the water. She courageously went up the stairs again, looked right at the lifeguard, and, then she did it —she went down the slide. She screamed, and then plunged in the water. When she rose out of the water she had a huge smile on her face. She was so proud of herself. The lifeguard gave her a huge hug, as did her family and friends. For the rest of her day she enjoyed those waterslides with gusto.
Seeing this girl overcome her fears and reap the joys that resulted made me really think about the fears we all face, and the choice each of us has to make. When we make that choice, who do we look to, to help us face our fears?
When we face our fears, get to accomplish our goals, we feel a sense of joy or we feel proud of ourselves. We’ve proven to ourselves that we can do it. Just like the girl at the pool. When she finally faced her fear and went down the water slide, she felt proud of herself and she enjoyed the rest of her day at the pool.
I know times when I have faced my fears, I feel better in the long run. I feel a sense of accomplishment and I know I jumped towards something I wanted instead of staying stuck in fear or just staying stuck in being stuck.
Think about what your biggest fear is right now. Think about what is holding you back from moving forward or stepping into your dreams.
Some fears are good. And, of course I’m not saying put yourself in dangerous situations. What I am saying is that it is worth asking what are your biggest dreams that you are afraid of pursuing. What is your deepest desire that you are telling yourself you can’t have right now?
What are you saying to yourself that isn’t allowing you to have what you want or what you know is right at your fingertips?
Write those things down, then throw the paper away. The items you wrote down are a list of false beliefs you are telling yourself. They are a list of items you are telling yourself you can’t do, when you can.
Now write down the list of what you want, and state what is the first step you are going to take to pursue your dreams. Write down who is going to encourage you to keep going, who is going to support you, who is going to be honest with you and how often you are going to check in with the people that are going to hold you accountable.
What you are doing is making a plan of how to get past your fears and start accomplishing your dreams. Remember, the girl who didn’t want to go down the waterslide? She did have to take her time, she knew of the people who were going to help her along the way and there was someone who came out of nowhere to help her (the lifeguard). Once she decided to face her fear, she went down that slide and loved it.
Remember facing our fears is a part of life and it’s OK to be afraid. It’s not ok to let your fear paralyze you to the point where you allow yourself to stay stuck and then beat yourself up over it. When fear does arise, use it to motivate you and challenge you to keep going instead of letting it paralyze you. Create a plan that allows you to move forward. Remember my blog on small steps and how I wrote that it takes small steps to really get what we want.
What are the small steps you are going to take and who in your life is going to help you or hold you accountable or encourage you and then start moving forward to give yourself the life that you know was and is meant for you.
Believe in yourself and appreciate the journey of life. Be grateful for your fears for they allow us to realize what we truly want. When we don’t let fear paralyze us, we accomplish our dreams.