If you’re like me, you have mixed feelings about fear. On the one hand, fear is a kind of self-preservative. It can keep you from doing something stupid, like jumping off a cliff or driving way too fast or trying hallucinogenic drugs.
On the other hand, fear can also be a prison. It can keep you from things that could be fun or even life altering. Like skiing that extra steep slope or leaving that spirit-crushing job or dumping that boyfriend who’s no good for you, anyway.
I’ve been thinking a lot about fear lately, and how it can hold you back. Not long ago I heard someone on the radio say, “Everyone is scared. It’s doing it anyway that takes courage.” And it really hit home.
Believe me, I’ve had my share of fear. I’m as guilty as anyone of looking at a ski slope that I know I can ski and saying, “Ahhhh, I think I’ll go another way.” This is something I’m working on. The head can be a powerful deterrent to all sorts of things.
All the same, I think I’ve done a number of things that some might consider fearless. My husband and I left well established jobs and struck out on our own, starting our own ad agency that kept us going for 19 years. And when his first book, FINN, came out in 2007, we closed this same agency, sold our home in suburban Philly and moved to Vermont, a place we truly loved, even though we had no jobs, family, or friends there.
Yes, these were scary. But you know, they turned out fine. And it taught me a lesson: Sometimes you just have to hold your nose and jump in. Because if you don’t, you’ll never end up doing anything new. And that can make for a pretty boring life.
I found this video on YouTube that I thought made a great case for living fearlessly. I hope it speaks to you, as well.
This was a great post today and it came at a time when i am experiencing so much fear due to career stuff—unemployed, losing confidence in myself, my wisdom, my skill, my good education, blah, blah. When doors do not open or the maze to the open door is so difficult (i.e.: like you would have to be a Harvard honors graduate with the deepest of computer technology skill, tall and tan and young and lovey, and give PowerPoint presentation that wow your interview committee with orations skills that rival the President’s) one becomes a tad discouraged–which is a cousin to fear.
You and your husband really took a leap of faith by moving to Vermont and it was inspiring. I would love to hear more about the transition from town to country and what doors opened for you…Thanks for sharing.
I needed this today. On the one hand, I’m fearless. On the other hand, I’m a chicken shit. All depends on my outlook. When you no longer have fear, nothing holds you back. I’m not sure if it’s fear, but I’ve lately felt something holding me back. This is a good reminder.
Very well said, and I couldn’t agree more to that person on the radio.
For me, knowing that everything happens for a reason, makes it easier to face fears and problems, and to trust that everything is going to work out one way or the other.
Thanks for the comments, all. It’s nice to hear I’m not the only one with fear issues.
Hedda, you’re right about lack of confidence being a cousin to fear. Sounds like you’re in a difficult place; best of luck finding your way through.
Making the transition from “town” to “country” wasn’t as difficult as you might think. I’ve found change is a lot easier to take if you have an open mind and a willingness to embrace new experiences. Do that, and the rest is a lot easier.
Nice post (especially nice to read on my first visit to your site).
Here are a couple of related links you and your fans might also like:
And thanks for the birthday congratulations on Twitter 🙂
“change is a lot easier to take if you have an open mind and a willingness to embrace new experiences” is so true. add to that a few words about how practice can improve anything from pie-making to patience & you get something that says practice change in order to handle whatever life throws at you better.
Gosh yes! Fear was definitely holding me back on the slopes. It was also turning me into the bitch monster from hell as I was taking all my frustration out on my OH, poor thing. He took to carrying a small flask of some choice spirits around with him so I could take a good swig at the top of certain runs! I tried Bach Flower Remedies and extra ski lessons but every year it was the same – until I stumbled across and read this book – ‘Inner Skiing’ by W Timothy Gallwey.
The change was immediate. OH couldn’t believe the difference it made, was overjoyed – tho he still carried on bringing the hipflask of course!! Honestly, I can’t recommend it highly enough. I now take it with me on every trip and re-read it over & over again. (My brain needs it hammering in). Bought copies for friends too. Wonder if they can be persuaded to do an ‘Inner Skiing’ app too??