21 Feb Kicking Fear in the Face
“I’d rather regret the things I’ve done than regret the things I haven’t done.”
– Lucille Ball
Imagine what we could accomplish if we didn’t have any fears, doubts, or insecurities to deal with. What amazing things might await us on the other side of our fear, if we could simply muster the courage and strength to face them head on?
Last week I listened to a friend tell me how he is thinking of attending college to get his degree and become a counselor. He has been researching the idea for the past two years and knows he can make it work financially and with his current work schedule. When I asked when he would start, he suddenly went silent. “I’m not sure if I can really do it” he confessed. Although he is excited and feels ready, his fear and self-doubt are causing him to go nowhere fast.
Going Nowhere Fast
I am sure most of us can relate to how my friend is feeling, and I certainly can. Most of my own life has been filled with feelings of self-doubt and unworthiness for as long as I can remember. This and other types of fear can lead us to go nowhere fast. Often referred to as a rut, going nowhere fast is like treading water; creating lots of movement but not going anywhere. Some people spend many years here. If you have experienced this place you know how frustrating and depressing it can feel.
Become Comfortable with Being Uncomfortable
We all have our comfort zones, the place where we feel safe, secure, and worry free. It’s the happy place we mentally retreat to when the emotions of fear get too intense. However, since all growth happens outside of our comfort zone, that means we must be willing to experience being uncomfortable when we want to accomplish something worthwhile. What does it feel like to experience this type of discomfort? Is it possible to learn to recognize and accept these feelings for what they are and kick them out of the way instead of letting them hold us back?
Kicking Fear in the Face
A few years ago, I decided to put this theory to the test by looking for ways to intentionally push myself out of my comfort zone. I wanted to see if I could learn to become comfortable with being uncomfortable, and kick my fear in the face every time I recognized it. My logic was if I take on enough challenges maybe one day I will run out of things to be scared about.
I now choose one major fear per year that I want to conquer and kick in the face. The only rule I have for choosing my fear is that it has to be absolutely terrifying to me at the time. In 2014 it was performing a live stand-up comedy routine, and in 2015 it was skydiving. I am extremely nervous, but equally excited about my 2016 challenge that I have planned for the end of the summer.
The reason I chose to write about this is because fear pops up everywhere and prevents us from doing the things we dream about. Live is too short to let our fear stop us from what we really want. Challenging my major fears has helped me to dramatically increase my confidence. The feelings of accomplishment and the emotional high I receive each time is completely worth it, and something I think everyone should experience. I am learning to be comfortable with being uncomfortable by allowing myself to feel, accept, and work past my fearful emotions instead of letting them hold me back.
Is there any fear that you’re ready to kick in the face?