This is advice that everyone, at some place and some time, has given to someone. They always mean well, but that advice is a lot easier to give than to take. So what is that little thing we can do that actually makes us face our fears and jump? While it is different for every person, for me, it was learning to fly.
Okay so now you’re thinking, Seriously Chloe? Could you be more cliché?
Of course I could 😉 What made the difference in me nodding to this advice and actually taking it was zip lining this past summer. As part of a team and staff training and bonding week I had the opportunity to do a high ropes course. The purpose of this course is to face your fears. It demanded that it’s student learn how to trust themselves and challenge themselves to go even higher. It was terrifying, but that’s kind of the point.
Among her many strokes of genius, Taylor Swift once said, “Being Fearless is not being 100% free of fear. It’s being terrified, and jumping anyway”. Facing your fears is about rising to them, looking them right in the eye, and knocking them out of the way as you continue on your journey. While sizing up your fears and pushing them out of the way is really hard, the best thing you can do is keep at it.
The feeling that you get once you have pushed past your fears is indescribable. It’s a rush of adrenaline, a moment of pride, it’s happy relief, and most importantly, strength. You know that you have conquered your fears, that you have risen to a challenge and now you can take on the next one.
When taking on this high ropes course, I was optimistic, excited, and extremely anxious. I am the only girl on staff with 5 guys and the sense of competition was definitely high. This ropes course is about facing fears as well as working together to do them. I was so excited when we got there, determined not to falter but as we waited in line I began to express my nerves, clenching my hands in fists to stop the shaking. I joked, “someone needs to take a picture because there is no way my family will believe this.” My co-worker, no friend, was great saying he’d go first so I could follow. As I climbed the net looking straight at the ground I got even more nervous, breaking a sweat, but stayed determined to get up to that Zip Line. Just then Robert said, “Chloe smile! “And I looked up which made a huge difference. Once up on the first level I felt great and helped to encourage my other co-workers up to join us. We talked each other through it and together we conquered our fears. We kept each other going and got to share each others success.
After crossing the course I finally climbed up to the second level and the zip line. As I looked at the ground again I started to shake. By ties dragged behind me and there will several times I felt stuck. Finally I made it to the tiny platform where I could be connected to the zip line. Looking out was breathtaking, beautiful, nature for miles, and looking down was terrifying. As I shimmied around the little platform and sat down to be connected there was a mixed sense of accomplishment and terror. Right as I was about to jump off Robert yelled, “Go Chloe!” And I pushed off, leaping into the air, and enjoyed the ride.
Fears are barriers, nothing more. They are things that keep you in check, telling you that you can’t do it. Tell your fears that you can. You can rise to the occasion and get that job, move away from home, or completely own that high ropes course and zip line for the first time. The only thing stopping you is you. So quit standing in your own way. Be brave.