Feel fear and do it anyway
That gorgeous view
I vividly remember sitting at my computer, looking out at my amazing view and thinking to myself, ‘the possibilities in life are endless… I want to do it all.’ It wasn’t for another decade that I would truly believe I could “do it all.” And almost another decade later, I can say I still haven’t done it all!
On that day in 2003, looking out the window of my 22nd floor apartment, my heart knew that the possibilities were endless. Excitement welled up in me as I thought of all the things I wanted to do and experience. (Maybe it was because I could LITERALLY see the Rocky Steps from my apartment?)
As more thoughts filled my mind, and my smile grew wider, all of a sudden the logic in me came down like a brick. My mind and heart were NOT on the same page. The more my heart was yearning to go go go, the more my mind would pop-up and say ‘how? how? how?’
Not about to let anything, or anyone (including myself) stop the momentum, I opened Amazon and searched for a book to help me. (This was around the time Amazon was primarily an online book store only!) Within a few minutes of searching, I saw a book with the title, “Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway.”
Somehow JUST the title allowed me to overcome my worries, tell my logical mind to calm down and tap into my heart dreams!
Full disclosure: I have NEVER read this book, even to this day! I actually never even bought it. Below is a picture of it next to two other books I have on my Amazon Wish List. Sometimes when my logical mind starts going – I just go look at this on my wish list and remind myself of 2003 me.
After that simple defining moment, I can say with confidence, that very rarely do I actually feel fear. Even when unfortunate events happen after the fact, I do not have that inner feelings of being scared. For example, most of you know getting on stage is one of my true loves in life (my current largest audience size is 3,000 people!). Not to mention, my eager willingness to get on a 1,200 lb animal and ride around – bareback or not! In addition, I have ridden through the Swiss Alps and the Blue Ridge Mountains on the back of a motorcycle. I’ve traveled countless times outside the country on my own (once I even ran into my Aunt Bea in the Dublin airport which wasn’t planned!) All that to say, I’m ready when you are! Let’s GO! 😉
Disclaimer: My lack of fear has gotten me into a handful of unfortunate situations (and a few concussions) – sometimes I wish my instincts would kick in a bit harder – but that is a story for a different day! For now, the lessons are: always wear a helmet, always take a trusted friend and watch lot’s of YouTube videos before you embark on your activity.
Dreams vs Fears
There are at least two more big dreams I have for my life and countless experiences on my bucket list. Recently, I’ve realized just what was holding me back from even going after those dreams! The answer: FEAR.
The pandemic has undoubtedly affected each and everyone of us in different ways and to different degrees. Based on conversations with dear friends and family, for the large majority the uncertainty has brought some form of fear and the resulting anxiety.
Because of the current situation the fear is rational. The uncertainty experienced right now is not from our inner critic asking, “How?” or, “What if?”. All the while, life is continuing to move forward and time is passing. Personally, not being used the feeling of being held back by fear, I have found myself in a spiral of anxiety. This is not my normal self and I know it, therefore there is a need to be deliberate allowing my typical calm, confidence take back over!
Please, Don’t feed the fear
1. They will fill up on ‘people’ food and not get the nutrients they need It makes them sick and can cause deformities, making them unable to fly (and thus migrate).
Similarly, we should not be feeding our own fears. Just like the ducks having too much ‘people’ food, if we feed our fears and fill up on doubt, there is no room for healthy, happy, affirming thoughts we need!
Because anxiety and fear are at an all time high due to the circumstances of the world, it is even more important to start taking action. Set aside the unknowns for a moment, and go back to your vision board or goals. Take a moment to remind yourself of the ‘why’ (the purpose of your goal). Allow yourself the treat of day dreaming of the moment your goal becomes a reality!
Step 1. Identify how long your top goals have been on your list.
Step 2. Putting aside the pandemic, list out 2 obstacles to each of the goals.
Step 3. Give yourself ten minutes per goal to research possible solutions to those obstacles.
As a firm believer in research and a grateful ‘google-er’, the simple act of looking for solutions can instantly remove a tiny bit of fear. Using YouTube to learn about someone else’s experience can be even more helpful. However, true empowerment comes when you personally take action. Maybe its making a phone call, updating your resume or buying a domain name. No matter the ‘step’ toward your goal, taking it leads to empowerment!
If (and when) fear pops up again… talk to it like it is your main competitor. When fear asks, “What if you fail?” Look it right in the eye and reply, “What if I succeed?”.
From the book, “Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway” by Susan Jeffers, Ph.D.:
The only way to get rid of the fear of doing something is to go out and…do it!
When you do it often enough, you will no longer be afraid in that particular situation…