Fear.. Can't live with it. Can't live without it. It is what holds us back, as well as what drives us forward. The reason we say no, and the reason we say yes. We either live in fear, or because of it; because we will be damned if we let it stop us.
Whether recently you have been a victim or conquerer of the f-word, we all know how it goes. What it does to us and how we make choices based on it. But just as we wish we could eliminate it all together, it is what makes those fear conquering actions/revelations/discoveries oh-so much sweeter.
Something I have grown to learn about myself is that I'll pretty much give anything a go. Be it snowboarding, volcano boarding, surfing, blogging(!), moving interstate or overseas, or travelling to somewhere I know nothing about. "Change is no barrier for you" I have been told. The fear doesn't quite kick in for me early on, so I'm all in, 'yep for sure!' at the beginning. Then comes the action of doing it - my first run down the mountain, first wave, first post, first day in the unknown. And this is when my brain goes into overdrive and does the stats on exactly how far out of my comfort zone I actually am at that very moment. The questions start pouring out - Is this harder than I anticipated? Am I in over my head? Did I appear too confident and now look like an idiot? Why am I not an absolute natural at this like everyone around me seems to be?
The fear finally sets in. It's deal breaker time. Fight or flight? What's it going to be? Knock this out of the park or withdraw and admit defeat?
I know that quite often not everything we try is going to be the right fit for us. Sometimes we can find ourselves a little in over our head and pushing it just to prove yourself wrong feels unnatural, unsafe or just plain wrong. And when that's the case, you just know it in your gut. But nine times out of ten, it is nothing more than the f-word creeping in to keep you playing small. Safe. In your comfort zone. I.e. NOT where the magic happens.
Growing up in my teens and early twenties I played it safe a lot. I was the girly girl who left the sports to my siblings, stuck to what I knew, and generally operated in the cosy cushions of my comfort zone. But as I reached my early twenties I began to seek more in life and give more things a go, staring fear in the face countless times. And it has taken me to places I never thought I would go:
- I moved to Canada to work on a ski resort and snowboard every day, despite only ever having had one failed attempt at snowboarding in my life, unsure if I even liked it.
- I've surfed, SUP boarded, night-dived, downhill mountain biked, outdoor trapezed, volcano boarded and climbed mountains for days - most of theses sports I now love and the younger me would never have even considered
- I quit my well-paying job at 26 to explore the world for 9 months with no idea of what I would do when/if I came home
- I started a blog based on my true passions and put it out there for the world to see, in the hope of lighting a fire within others
- I am 3 weeks away from returning home where I will be moving to a completely new state, starting from scratch and going back to studying at 27 in a field completely unrelated to anything I have ever done before
And each and every one of these fear busting moments has put me exactly where I am today. In each moment I've discovered new limits, faced my insecurities and inner resistance, acknowledged my fear and done it anyway. Because I want to feel alive!
What have you been too scared to do, but know you need to give it a go? What has been stopping you? I'd love to hear from you in the comments below. Make yourself accountable by putting it into words. Stop playing small. I dare you!
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, 'Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?' Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” - Marianne Williamson
Image borrowed from here.