Here lately, I’ve had a bit of trouble getting to sleep at night. My mind is too wound up with distress over a future event. It’s an exciting event, but I am still terrified nonetheless. I’ve committed to my husband and two friends that I will follow through, so there is no turning back now.
What am I going to do that’s so scary that I can’t sleep at night?
At the end of August, I will be hiking to the summit of Mt. Adams. I’ve never climbed a mountain in my entire life. Sure, I can jump out of a plane if someone is strapped to my back, but hike a snowy mountain and hope that I don’t slide about 8,000 feet to my death? I don’t know.
Why would I do something like this if I find it to be so scary and overwhelming? Because, if I do not face my fears and step out of my comfort zone, I become stuck. Life is boring when you are stuck. Life is depressing when you are stuck. Life is downright dangerous when you are stuck.
The truth is, this climb is not that dangerous and I will be surrounded by people that can help me. The real truth is that I’m just scared of the unknown. When something is new to me, it can paralyze me with fear. I’m sure that you’ve felt this before, too.
How do you overcome these fears and not allow them to hold you back from enjoying your life?
- First of all, get guidance from a trusted friend or mentor. Have them help you decide if this fear is rational or completely silly. If it is a rational fear, decide if the dangers of the event outweigh the accomplishment or not. There really are some activities and events that are just too dangerous to attempt. If the accomplishment outweighs the fear, concentrate on all of the good things that will come from being in a place of discomfort for a little while. How will your life change as a result of conquering your fear? Will it advance your career? Will it give you a good story to tell? Will it provide good memories for you? Will it increase your confidence to try other new things? Will it actually help you reach your goals? With it make you happy?
- Secondly, practice as much as possible for the big day. If, for example, you want to give a speech in front of your class or co-workers, practice your monologue with a group of your friends first. Memorize your script, get comfortable delivering your speech in front of your friends, and just be prepared! You can mentally prepare all you want to, but action is necessary. Action is the key to making the practice stick. You can’t just visualize yourself playing the guitar well and expect that it will happen if you have never even touched a guitar in your life.
- Lastly, get the job done. You cannot face your fear without actually facing your fear! Use all of the knowledge you learned during your practicing and step into the fear with as much calm confidence you can muster. You know what to do. You know that you are safe. It is also okay to mess up a little. Remember, everyone has their first time at doing something. You’ve practiced for this big day and it’s time to show up and make it happen!
So, what am I going to do? Follow my own advice! We have sat down with someone who is an avid mountain climber and discussed our strategies and what we would realistically need to be concerned about. We have already been training for half-marathons, so we have been adding hiking to our weekly workout routine. We are hiking 2-3 hours with twenty to thirty pound backpacks. I will be purchasing or renting some of our hiking equipment soon and learning how to use them (like the ice axe). And we are making sure that we are prepared with all permits, food, and gear. When the big day comes, it will hopefully be more exciting than anything else.
That’s how I am going to face this fear and overcome it. Oh, and have the time of my life!
Do you have a similar story you’d like to share? Leave a comment below!
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