What does the word fear mean to you? Does it have a negative or positive connotation? If you had asked me this question a year ago, I would have said something along the lines of:
“Fear is an evil, manipulative, mind-freak creature whose ass I would love to kick but I can’t because I’m paralyzed. So instead of showing fear who’s boss, I will close my eyes and wait for it to leave on its own. (And when it doesn’t, I will collapse into a ball on the floor and sob uncontrollably).”
You see, in my mind, fear was a four letter word that stood for Forget Everything And Run.
Fast forward to today. What do I think of fear now? BRING IT. TRY ME. Because here’s what I have realized: fear is just an excuse that my mind creates to keep me in my comfort zone. Fear convinced me to continue practicing law for many years even though I knew in my heart that it wasn’t the right career for me. Fear told me that I could wish for a better relationship with my husband, but it kept me from taking any concrete action to rediscover our connection and rekindle our intimacy. Fear laughed loudly at my desire to sign up for a 13-week fitness challenge because surely I would embarrass myself (and probably pull a muscle I didn’t know I had), not to mention annoy all of the uber-fit participants with my lack of group training savvy.
Well, guess what? When I finally saw fear for what it really is, I gave it a whole new meaning: Face Everything And Rise. I walked away from my legal career and finally pursued my dream of having my own coaching business. I have never felt more at home in my professional skin than I do as a coach. My relationship with my husband gets better every day. I formed a clear vision of how I wanted our relationship to be, and I committed to take specific actions that would turn my vision into reality. I also signed up for that 13-week challenge, and I had a blast! The daily physical challenges were exhilarating (albeit exhausting!) and exactly what I needed to break out of my fitness rut. I pushed myself harder than I thought I ever could, and I made a lot of new friends in the process. At the end of 13 weeks, I signed up for another 13-week challenge. And I embarked on my third 13-week challenge just a few weeks ago.
I’m here to remind you that a fully-charged and truly meaningful life — e.g., the life that I had been denying myself — is all about change. Change is our destiny. Our thoughts become our words; our words become our actions; and our actions become our reality. Stepping outside of your comfort zone and trying new things – big or small – will show you how strong, capable and powerful you really are. And they can be crazy fun, too!
So the next time fear tries to dominate your thoughts, I say flip it the proverbial bird, have a good laugh, and do something – anything – new!