Fear is something we innately avoid. We use fear as an indicator of “no-no.” Giant fuzzy poisonous spider? No-no. Hurtling yourself from a plane in a squirrel suit? No-no. Asking the really cute coffee barista for his number? No-no.
Running from fear is logical. Not only logical, it’s biological.
But when it comes to your goals, your dreams, and your desires – fear should read more like a big flashy “Enter” neon sign. You should be grabbing the first tickets you find to destination terrified and jumping in full speed.
Why? Because if you wait around long enough for the fear to make a home within your soul, you’ll talk yourself out of every great and challenging opportunity that comes your way. But if you feel the fear, invite it in, and run with it – you’ll find yourself in places you never thought possible.
When I think back on some of my scariest moments, the only ones that I regret are the ones when I said, “Nope. Not today,” and walked away. But every time I reached out my hand and grabbed fear’s horns, it turned out to be more than worthwhile.
For example, when I was a sophomore in college I wasn’t happy with my major and I wasn’t happy with my life. I knew I loved health and I knew I loved to write, but I wasn’t a journalism major and I’d never worked in health. But one day I woke up with a crazy idea, “I’m going to start a health magazine.” I’d never worked for a magazine. I had no idea how to start one. And I had even less of a clue of how to run one.
Guess what I did? Marched into my advisor’s office (whom I’d met only a handful of times) and announced my plan. Then I told my entire family and all of my friends so I’d have too much accountability to back out. Then I did it. I was terrified. It was like trying to drive a manual car without any prior knowledge of what the heck a clutch does. But after all the late night planning, hours of tears and anxiety, and countless bumps in the road, a beautiful magazine was born and I developed an even deeper love for writing.
Or there was that time my friend and I were traveling to Utah and she said, “Wouldn’t it be fun to sky dive over the national park?” Um, absolutely not. (I’m petrified of heights).
But before I could even get the word “no” out we were on the phone with Skydive Moab and paying for our jump. PS: it was non-refundable. After hurtling myself out of a plane and toward the Earth, and landing safely on the ground, all I could say was, “Let’s do that again!”
Sometimes we’re scared to move cities, apply for a new job, leave our current job, make new friends, try a new hobby, get in the gym, give someone a shot, forgive others, and maybe jump out of a plane.
I get it – it’s science. But what’s even scarier is the thought that one day you could wake up in bed, unhappy and discontent, wishing you’d made that jump.
You can always find your way back if it doesn’t turn out. But if you never make that move – you’ll never know where you could’ve landed.