What would you do if fear were not present in your life?
Fear and happiness cohabitate like oil and water. Eliminating one creates space for the other to thrive. Eleanor Roosevelt once wrote, “Do something every day that scares you.”
Embarking on a gigantic adventure is my favorite way to conquer fear. My first grand journey was a 2,000 mile solo bike trip through Europe without a plan or map. The mechanical gene skipped my family, so my first fear was figuring out how to assemble my boxed bike in the baggage claim area at the Amsterdam Airport. It all worked out and even added a bit of confidence as I made my way to the Schipol exit. Reality hit with 20 kilometers separating me from the Stayokay Hostel in Vondelpark. This was in the age of no GPS, so I was on my own to ask non-English speaking strangers for directions. In no time, I was checking into my first ever shared bunk room. Over the next 45 days, I faced flat tires, relentless wind in my face, broken spokes, one wipe out, language barriers, and even lost a pannier while pedaling. Somehow, someway, I survived and flew home feeling empowered.
Leaving for the Camino de Santiago was equally challenging. I was headed to a foreign country to walk 500 miles and sleep with an orchestra of snorers in bunk beds. I was also leaving town with an unresolved love affair with my girlfriend of four years. All of my possessions were housed in a carry-on backpack weighing 22 pounds. I was leaving a life of comfort and diving into the pool of unknowns.
During my public speeches, I often start with a comment about the sleepwalking characteristics of routines. Surviving in a cocoon of comfort is like water flowing down a river. It always takes the path of least resistance and dulls the rocks. If you want to know what will happen in your life over the next 30 days, barring a tramatic event, the previous month will likely repeat over and over. The main impediment to crossing the line is fear.
Here are a few of my favorites for reducing or eliminating fear:
- Let go of all resistance to what you do not control.
- Start viewing fear as an opportunity.
- Fear needs time to survive so take away the oxygen by being present.
- Embrace change with gusto.
- Stop caring about what other people think.
- Stop fooling yourself with excuses.
- Accept that failure is not the end of the world.
- Acknowledge your fears by writing them down.
- Let loose and have fun.
- Trust that the universe will unfold as it should.
The only thing in life that we do not survive is death. Until then, make more room for more happiness……….