“Sometimes what you fear the most is the very thing that will set you free.” - Robert Tew
It was Las Vegas, 2009. I was on vacation with the family I babysat for when we passed by the New York, New York hotel + its massive roller coaster standing in front. As we drove by, the father of the kids said, “I bet you won’t go on that roller coaster with me,” + he was right.
I hated roller coasters. Not a bone in my body wanted the adrenaline rush that big, red monster would provide. But, it was the way he phrased his statement that made something in me say, “Oh, wait a minute now…”
I. Bet. You. Won’t.
I was strapped in + ready to go ten minutes later.
I’ve always been this way, needing to prove people wrong—walking around with a slight chip on my shoulder, jumping at any opportunity to set myself straight.
Luckily, I’ve grown up a bit since then + my chip has been, for the most part, brushed off. But for this instant, on the roller coaster in Las Vegas, I had something to prove.
In reality, however, the only person I was proving my abilities to was myself. Still, as I sat there, nearly peeing my pants, I was scared shitless.
We took off, cranking up the incline, tick after tick, rounding over the top + down we plummeted. For adrenaline junkies, this is their favorite part. But for me, this was precisely the moment when I realized I had made an incredible mistake.
My stomach was in my throat, my body was numb, my brain was doing backflips (and I nearly lost my favorite hat). The picture that was taken mid-ride captured the very essence of my terror. It wasn’t pretty.
The ride lasted maybe 45 seconds, but to me it was the longest half hour of my life.
After we came back down to earth, I couldn’t move. The adrenaline pulsing through my body was causing me to shake uncontrollably whilst laughing to the point of crying. I now lived to tell the tale + wouldn’t shut up about it for the rest of the day.
I told everyone that looked in my direction how I just went on my first roller coaster ride, told them about every turn, every drop, every feeling. It was embarrassing. That poor family probably wanted to send me back home.
Now this is the part where you think I’m gonna say how much, to this day, I love roller coasters.
But, I don’t.
I hate them. It was the worst fucking feeling I’ve ever had. Being flipped upside down not once, not twice, but three times was not my idea of fun. I’ll most likely never go on another roller coaster ever again.
But, this post isn’t about roller coasters. All this mumbo jumbo is really just setting me up to give you a metaphor about life. Because what else would I write about?!
Follow your fear.
Even though I didn’t become an adrenaline junkie after my experience, I did gain a shit-ton in terms of overcoming fear, self-doubt + hesitation.
I learned that diving, head first, into fear would give me an enormous sense of accomplishment + pride, regardless of the outcome. I didn’t die, I wasn’t harmed in the process. And so what if I actually did pee my pants?!
This example is a little extreme, but think of this in terms of something you may be dealing with you in your life.
Is there something you’re terrified of doing, yet a small piece of you really wants to give it a shot? Are you afraid of what the outcome may be if it doesn’t work out?
These are all thoughts put in your head by your ego.
Your ego is meant to “protect” you, but it often does it by way of self-sabotage. It says things like, “You can’t do this, you don’t know how,” or “you’re to lazy to be your own boss,” or even “there’s no way you’ll finish that diet. It takes too much willpower.”
Your ego does its best to keep you complacent. In complacency there’s no failure, no growing pains, no struggle. It seems like a walk in the park, right?!
But who the hell wants to be complacent?!?! I mean, really? We’re here for less than 100 years - if we’re lucky. Why on earth would we waste it by playing it safe?!
Fear is a very good indication of what you should be doing. Now, this is just a metaphor, so let's not take this literally…do not get into a van down a dark alley way. There is a healthy amount of fear that keeps us alive + safe.
The fear I’m talking about is rooted in self-doubt + lack.
The idea that you don’t have enough or you wouldn’t be successful at something. Think about it, if something doesn’t “work out”, what does that actually mean? Did you not learn anything in your supposed “failure”? Are you not a different, better, more evolved person for having tried?!
Failure is an illusion.
Today I dare you to try something that absolutely terrifies you. Just as an experiment. Whether you apply to that job you've always wanted, post your first blog post, upload a YouTube video, anything. Just do it. The worst case scenario is you have a funny story to share at your next party.
And as always, I write these posts as much for you as I do for myself.
We're all scared shitless together.
Big hug + infinite amount of LOVE,