When was the last time you allowed a great idea to die because you feared stepping out of your comfort zone to make it happen? Fear is one of the biggest hindrances we all deal with as we progress toward achieving our goals. Psychologist, Dr. Susan Jeffers, notes that everyone feels fear when chartering new territory and stretching themselves to new levels of personal growth and achievement.
I went horseback riding for the first time about eight years ago. Ever since I was a child I’d had a fear of horses. I always thought they were beautiful, graceful animals, but their size was always so intimidating to me. My cousin, Dee Dee, and I were on vacation in Aruba when I suggested that we go on a sunset ride along the beach. I was determined to overcome my fear of horses. Dee Dee was game!
I was given a beautiful black and white speckled horse named Bonnie. As I sat atop Bonnie awaiting everyone to get mounted, intense fear gripped me. I began thinking to myself, “what in the world have you gotten yourself into?” It was too late to back out—I had committed myself.
The ride from the stable to the beach was about ½ a mile and some spots had standing water from the after-effects of a nearby hurricane. Not only was I holding on for dear life from just riding the horse, but the tour led us through a knee-deep pool of standing water. This would not have been bad except for the fact that I can’t swim either! As I gazed down into the standing water beneath my feet, my thoughts began racing, “what if this horse steps on a rock and topples me over into the water?” This was not what I had in mind! In spite of my fears I survived! We made it to the beach, dismounted and allowed the horses to rest and we refreshed ourselves with a drink of water.
As we were traveling back toward the stable along the beach, a strange thing happened─the fear began to subside and I found myself caught up in the moment. The view of the sunset was breathtaking and the breeze on my exposed skin was refreshing. The tour guide, noticing my change of countenance, challenged me to gallop a little—and I acquiesced! The fear had subsided. What began as a frightful experience had ended in fun and laughter.
What fear are you allowing to hold you back? Just know that with every new challenge you’re going to face fear. Feel the fear, acknowledge the fear, but focus on the outcome you wish to achieve. Exercise courage by taking baby steps in spite of your fears. That’s how you overcome it—by pushing your way through it. By stepping out and doing the very thing that brings you fear, the more comfortable you will become. When you forge ahead in spite of your fears, you gain greater confidence for future challenges.
Point to Ponder: Feel the fear and do it anyway!
Quote: “Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy”. ─Dale Carnegie