On average, you spend about three seconds between a thought and when your ego starts talking you out of fear. In this post, you will be enlightened with an experience that has forever altered my perception of “fear”.
There’s only a handful of times that I’ve encountered this distress. You know that feeling you get: butterflies in the tummy (different from being in love), heart pounding, lump in your throat, a crack in your voice as your knees buckle, and don’t forget sweaty palms, feet and a slew of other feelings. We equate that with fear because we are no longer in our comfort zone.
A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of attending an outdoor event that taught me how to face fear. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, however, I took on the unknown challenges despite what my mind as telling me. I support my teammates with words of encouragement, all looked well….until it was my turn to “Walk the Plank.” Walking the plank was the task of taking a piece of wood with two poles that rose up to about 50 feet, and walking cross from one side to the other. It was nerve wrecking, not only were a few people afraid of heights that you only were held on by a harness. When I geared up with my harness helmet, the conversation with the safety assistant inspired me to do something many people wouldn’t even consider doing. He started out by asking simple questions, my name and what I was hoping to get from this experience. He asked if I was scared of heights (which I am not) and finally he asked about my motivation in life which of course are my daughters. In between the dialogue, he slides in a few safety rules. Then the big moment I said, “Has anyone ever considered doing this blindfolded”? He said “nope” and my reply was “I should do it”. His response “Why would I need permission to do it”. Suddenly I felt, my heart race and knees buckle. I’m not doing this blindfolded I thought I said in my head. He says, “Well why not? I mean fear is produced by what you see ahead of you”. And in that moment, I finally understood fear. As people, we become fearful or anxious about the future or the step ahead to attain what we want; putting one foot in front of the other, we should take small steps to lead to huge results.
I did the obstacle blindfolded! I climbed up on of the wood poles relying on the sound of the safety guards’ voice and feeling my way to the next prong to step on. When I arrived at the point that I needed to step on the board, I allowed him to guide me how to do it. With both arms out for balance, I went across. One step at a time completely focused on the mission to get to the other side; solely relying on his voice. Not an ounce of nervousness. When I got to the other side, my team below cheered and was ecstatic that I completed a huge feat for many. As I removed my blindfold, I was taken aback by what I just did! Tears welled up in my eyes. I crossed the pole blindfolded! The view was breathtaking and energizing to see that high up. As I crossed to go back to the other side of the pole, I started to feel nervous and anxious about every step. I wanted to be flawless and place my feet perfectly, which was irrelevant before. I just did one way blindfolded. Coming down and receiving the acknowledgment and praise made me realize many things:
- Many of us are seeking permission to do or handle minor or major things in our life. Why should we? Deep down, we are all leaders.
- Life is NOW! I didn’t know when I will have the opportunity to do this course again. I knew one thing, I didn’t want the moment or the opportunity to pass me by. I surrendered to the nervousness and ran with the idea of truly stepping out my box.
- It was much easier to go across the board blindfolded than seeing the path ahead. When we see or think about the future or the road ahead, it becomes harder to complete. Sometimes we think we have to create and see a clear path to get across. The reality is we don’t; just do it. Chances are you won’t regret it afterward.
- Many of us, downplay our ability to handle and complete tasks. The reality is that we can stretch ourselves to unbelievable measures. We also get to acknowledge our efforts no matter what.
After that experience, my level of fear or anxiety hasn’t been the same. I know that when I am having the feelings of fear or anxiety, I should run straight to it. You know what you will experience or learn on the other end.
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