Saturday, October 24, 2009

How Will You Challenge Yourself Today?

“Do something everyday that scares you.”
-- Eleanor Roosevelt

Sometimes our push comes from our parents.

And sometimes that push comes from within.

There is a great video by that talks about this very issue - Eagles Need a Push

When Was The Last Time You Were Scared and Overcame That?

When was the last time you did something that really scared the heck out of you?

When was the last time you took a chance - whether with sharing an idea, pursuing a dream, risked embarrassing yourself, or did something that you know would shake the foundation of your world for the rest of your life.

A Personal Story About Overcoming Fears

Here is a little story, that I've told many times, but I think it's an important story . . . nonetheless. And I don't "autobiographize" very often. Yes, I know that's not really a word, but it's my blog.


Growing up, I was scared of everything. Scared of heights, scared of speed, and scared of leaving home. You name it, I was scared of it. But I was lucky, because in spite of my fears, I had a couple key people in my life that made me do things that I was afraid to do, because they knew it was the best thing for me and knew that I would enjoy it in the long run.

My Mom drug me up (and then down again) one of those Big Carnival Slides (where you sit on the mat) literally kicking and screaming. But don't worry, after crying all the way up and down that first time, they couldn't get me off the slide for the rest of the afternoon. I hear tell that I went down by myself at least 10 times in a row. And, the story goes that they had to drag me away when it was time to go.

But I didn't learn my lesson there - I still was afraid. I wasn't able to figure out that fears weren't real . . . just in my head.

In fact, ten years later, my older brother Michael drug me on the Lochness Monster in Busch Gardens, Williamsburg - my first Roller Coaster ever. Yes, again, he drug me on nearly kicking and screaming. Needless to say, it was the best thing for me. Because now, even though they still send chills down my spine every time I get on the truth is I can't get enough of roller coasters. I love 'em.

And this all leads up to my 19th Birthday. Still struggling with my fears (specifically my fear of heights), and knowing I had to do something to over come them, I did something that would change my life forever.

On a sunny, hot, August morning, after sleeping in (because I took that day off of work), I walked into the kitchen in my parent's home, announced that I was going skydiving and walked out the door - not to be heard from again for nearly 8 hours, until I returned home again.

I had pondered the idea of skydiving for a while, but only decided that morning, when I got up, that I would actually go through with it . . . or at least try to.

I didn't tell anyone before that morning . . . nor did I give anyone a chance to stop me.

And in spite of being scared out of my mind, AGAIN, I jumped out of a perfectly good airplane from 3000' and parachuted to terra firma. I loved it, and would like to think I was brave in my adventure, but I know that I wasn't. In fact if they would have let me (and I hadn't just invested $175 for the training and jump), I would have ridden back down with the pilot. But the instructor simply looked at me and said (as he pointed out of the plane), that's the only way down for you. And he was right.

And from that point on in my life I didn't look back - I didn't let my fears dominate the course that I followed.

Sure I still had fears, but I finally taught myself that I could overcome them . . . when and if I choose to.

Why YOU Should Challenge Your Fears

Now, I look back, as a retired Navy Pilot with over 600 carrier landings (250 of them at night) at what hot day in August meant to me. Sometimes I think maybe I should have been more scared in some situations, and that was my sheer ignorance that prevented that, but I never once doubted my capabilities in an airplane. Sure, I screwed up occasionally (ok, maybe more than just occasionally), but I never doubted or feared that I was incapable of handling the situation. Mostly, I believe, because I learned that the fears that hold you back are all . . . just in your mind.

So, I have to ask you . . . when was the last time you did something that really scared you?

And I challenge you to do something today . . . that scares you - whatever that might be!

1 comment:

  1. Hi, JJ. This post really hit home with me. My parents said I was born afraid of everything. When I began my business, I was terrified, but my desire to work at home with my children helped me overcome it. Now, many days I wake up scared of what I might have to do or what I might forget to do today. I've developed a number of ways to overcome that: 1) distracting myself by doing something I love...playing music on my renaissance recorder...then drifting back to work; 2) making a "safe" call to someone I know will be happy to hear from me; 3) pulling out old notes from people who had praise for my work; 4) getting stubborn..."I don't care what anybody thinks, I'm DOIN' this!" My number one way of overcoming fear in my business is writing down the reasons why I'm doing it. My kids are off to college, so that's not the reason anymore. Now, it's my own independence. Thanks for the ideas and stories about fear!