This is not a request. This is an order.
When was the last time you were so scared you almost cried? Or maybe you did cry? Maybe you even threw up because you were so nervous and your body couldn’t think of anything else to do except toss a chunder. That was me this last week on my rafting trip down the Middle Fork of the Salmon River. I literally was so nervous that I threw up… a couple times.
I want you to be that nervous and scared. Okay, you don’t have to be so scared that your body rejects nutrients it needs to survive, but I wouldn’t be disappointed if you were. You see, this is when we learn the most about ourselves. These points of sheer terror and near breakdown are when you realize that you are indeed capable of facing your fears and shattering preconceptions.
Are you scared of heights? Go jump out of an airplane. Are you horrified of white-water? Take a ducky down a river. Do you squirm when you think of relationship commitment? Say yes to that next date someone asks you on. You may not have fun in the moment, but I guarantee you will be happy that you faced that fear and came out on the other side a more experienced individual.
Let me tell you about a few of the times I’ve been scared over the last few years of my life:
- I was scared to take a ducky down class IV+ rapids
- I was scared to jump into a tuk-tuk in Thailand unsure of where we were headed
- I was scared to travel alone for my first time over a period of six weeks in Panama
- I was scared to tell a personal story in front of 60 strangers in a non-academic environment
- I was scared to say yes to dates I was asked on by people I had never met
Now let me tell you what happened:
- I survived
- I was brought to a hotel
- I survived
- I spoke and they clapped
- I survived
Whether you are interviewing for a job that intimidates you or asking out that person that is waaaaay out of your league, do it anyway. You will survive. You will pat yourself on the back afterward and leave that boardroom or bar or parachute proud that you gave it a shot, successful or not.
There’s a quote from the movie Green Street Hooligans that I always come back to when I think about fears.
Once you’ve taken a few punches and realize you’re not made of glass, you don’t feel alive unless you’re pushing yourself as far as you can go.
This rings especially true for me. I am always looking for the next thing to excite me or make me uncomfortable. I think those “punches” can most certainly be physical, but they are more commonly mental. Once you’ve pushed your mind to the point that both it and your body are digging their heels into the ground, you’ve won. You have conquered that state of complacency and journeyed through the limbo of contentment into the realm of “new”. And in new experiences, I find the most joy and growth toward the person that I want to become.
Let me tell you one more thing that scares the shit out of me: starting this blog. It terrifies me to share all of my inner thoughts that have previously been confined to my journal or the occasional Instagram caption. It mortifies me to write things on a platform that once published, can never really be redacted. And it truly intimidates me, frightens me, overwhelms me, and hurtles me into a state of absolute vulnerability to admit that I want to pursue writing further and am using this as an outlet to do so.
But, perhaps this blog will do more than just help me to express my emotions and organize the web of thoughts in my head. Hopefully at some point it helps to ignite and inspire those that need the extra push to create, laugh, explore, travel, and keep moving forward.
Thank you for listening and I look forward to seeing you soon.
Now, get out there, folks.