**Warning this process can become addictive**
Fear is paralyzing at times. It causes us to remain in a place not necessarily of comfort but of familiarity. The old statement “the devil you know is better than the devil you don’t know.”
However fear stifles growth if you let it. It shuts down the very essence of living because as the saying goes, “if you’re not living, you’re dying.” I don’t know about you, but I’m not ready to be dying.
I have no desire to live a predictable life where outcomes and results are safe or guaranteed, so I live life in a manner that scares most people (mostly my poor father). I move to places I’ve never been and don’t know anyone, I take risks like starting my own business and I dream big, like building an island retreat center.
I am constantly taking steps in the direction of my fear because although I’m not a thrill-seeker, I do like the feeling of overcoming my fear. In the case of fear, the end justifies the means for me.
Most of what I do on a regular basis is something I hear others say they could “never do” – but I thoroughly disagree. I think everyone has the capacity to live the life I do however for some, it’s not what floats their boat, and for others they just haven’t mustered the courage to take the chance to try.
Here is the thing though. I did not wake up one day with the courage to do these “crazy” things and dream as big as I do. As a matter of fact, I was a child who was scared of the dark and had many fears that required an unimaginable amount of stuffed animals for comfort and a feeling of security while I was growing up.
I made little strides over time. My mother was not entirely gentle on pushing me through some of it, but it worked just the same. Sometimes the fear of your mother being mad is way bigger than whatever bogyman you think exists! Regardless of how, my mother was intent on raising me as a capable young woman and stretched me to do things I was afraid to do. Through the process I began to cultivate courage.
As I got older, I put myself into circumstances that were a bit difficult to say the least. I found that I was able to overcome incredible odds because I just had to. I learned that even if I thought something was not possible, I should try anyway. Sometimes things turned out the way I hoped…and sometimes not, but I always learned something from the experience.
I found that my boundaries and limits were really not as clear as I thought. I continued to push them both figuratively and litterally. I started small and continued to expand as I had successes.
I can still remember the feeling of crossing the finish line of my first 5k race. Having been a two pack-a-day smoker for over ten years, this was not only an unthinkable achievement, but a goal I never would have even considered just years before.
Today I’m a marathoner.
So this is where the warning comes in. I have found that once you start realizing that limits are self perceived, you may start looking for your next challenge. Each time I overcome a challenge or overtake fear, I think, well if I can do that, what else can I do?
Today I encourage you to take those baby steps to stretch your courage just a bit. To work at something you feel might just be a bit out of reach for you. You will be amazed at the feeling you get just by trying and as you build successes.
As you begin to expand your vision of what is possible for you, you may find yourself looking for the next big thing just out of reach, and the next, and the next. You get the point.
I’ll just remind you, you’ve been warned!
I can’t wait to hear where your newfound courage takes you!