Fear can sneak up on you anytime and leave you paralyzed. When we allow it, fear will stop us from moving forward and achieving our dreams. Sadly, fear is something that rules our world. We experience fear every day and in all aspect of our lives.
But what is fear, really?
I’ve never paid close attention to fear. I used to be the go-getter-up-for-everything kinda girl until I found myself diving under one failure and disappointment after another. Eventually, the fear began to rule my world in and outside of surfing. What finally got me to pay attention to my fears and confront them was noticing how it was keeping me from catching waves. I thought surfing was the only thing that could wash away my fear of life, but ironically fear was now actually stopping me from surfing altogether.
That’s when I started asking myself what was really I afraid of. I pinned myself down to write an essay about my fears. Obviously, plenty of unpleasant crap came out but it opened up my eyes. I spent hours upon hours researching fear and learning what I could do to take control of it. I’d developed a habit of asking myself if it was even worth getting back up again whenever something in life would knock me down. Maybe staying down here was safe and easier, I reasoned. And that is exactly what fear makes us do: play it safe, play it easy.
Have you ever sat down and questioned what’s been stopping you from achieving certain things in life? From paddling for that set wave? From speaking out at a conference? We usually don’t like to dig into the ugly stuff, which is why we don’t pay close attention to our fears. Instead, we try to cover it all up until it creeps up when we’ll expect it the least.
So let’s drop the bomb here. Can you identify fear? No! There truly isn’t an explanation for our fears. Why is that? Simply because fear is not real. It exists only in our mind’s false expectation of what may become real. And this often stops us from enjoying life, being adventurous, and even paddling out on those big scary days. It is not our actual fear, but our thoughts that we allow ourselves to believe in.
Now ask yourself these questions:
Q:Is what I want worth the fight?
Q: What if it doesn’t work out again and again?
A: You have nothing to lose if it doesn’t work out (other than upsetting the ego) but you do have a lot to gain if it does work out.
Q: Will I be able to get over it if I fail? If it doesn’t work out again?
A: In most cases it didn’t work out for a reason, maybe this was not the right place or the right time. But hell yes you’ll get over it! Sooner or later, you’ll get up stronger and braver than before.
When it comes to paddling for those big set waves, the worst that can happen is that you fall. You might get some salty water up your nose in the process, occasionally get some cuts and bruises, but just like in life you just have to get up and do it again. That’s life’s flow from the day we are born; we learn, we fall, we get up, and then we do it all over again.
So next time you are making a big decision, you are waiting for a job interview, going on a first date, or you see a set wave approaching, know that you’ve “got this.” I am no longer under the spell of my fear, knowing it’s just my thoughts trying to rule the game that I am here to win.