Fear and Cliff Jumping

I hate fear. It’s a terrible thing. I have so much of it and it is such a hard thing to get around.

You see, I’m a routine type of person. I like routines of the same old same old. I like knowing what’s going to happen and when. I like people I know, because I know what they are going to say, how they will react to things I say and what I can and can’t say to them. I don’t like people that I don’t know for the same reasons. Too much unknown.

In my job, I travel every weekend. I go to the same places at relatively the same time of year and do pretty much the same thing every weekend. That is exhausting to my boss and lots of other people. They call it boring. I call it safe. It’s enough of a comfort zone for me that I can do my job well and enjoy the environment. The variety comes from meeting new people every week… which I hate. The only thing that keeps me going is the race track. I love the track, whichever one we are talking about. I love racing, with an intense passion. If there is a race going on, I’ll do whatever I need to do to be there.

The problem is… if there isn’t a race track involved, I’m usually not interested in conquering any fears. I like safe. I like my little world with my bike and my computer and my TV. I’m good with that. Most days, I’m good with that.

Other days, I want more. I want things that force me to do things outside of safe. The thing I want the most requires a huge amount of “networking.” I loathe that word. Its the business way of saying “make friends.” I’ve never been very good at that.

When I was young I was incredibly shy, scared of my own shadow, to be honest. I grew out of a little bit of that. But I realized that a lot of what I called shy was actually fear. Recently I have had to push myself through that fear to accomplish the things that I want. I find myself standing on the edge of the cliff quite often. Looking at something that I want, but not sure if I am capable of jumping. I go through the possible outcomes in my head and try to determine if I can handle each one. It never turns out as bad as I think that it could, but still, every time I am on the verge of stepping outside of safe, I get scared.

I had a huge struggle this week. I wanted to go to an event. I knew for certain there would be a bunch of people there that I need to “network” with. It was a great opportunity. Yet, for days, I went back and forth in my head about not going.

On the day of the event, even just a few minutes before, I was still uncertain about going. But I had told someone important that I would go, so I did.

It wasn’t long before I was standing on the edge of the cliff again. There was a person standing in front of me that I knew would be important to get to know.

“Go introduce yourself.” I thought.

Then: “What would I say…” Fear.

Before it was too late I decided just to go for it. I smiled, stumbled through an introduction and waited. She was really nice and I ended up talking to her for a while. Stupid fear.

When I came to the next cliff, I had a lot less fear and was able to stumble through another introduction.

Like I said, fear is a terrible thing. It will paralyze you if you let it.

The trick is to figure out how to not let it.

Everything that you want is on the other side of fear. – Jack Canfield

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