This week, I want to challenge you to do something bold, to face a fear, and conquer it. Work toward overcoming it through the anxiety to grow from it and emerge on the other side stronger.
I want to tell you a quick story here. Over the last three days, I was in the wilderness of upstate New York in the Adirondack mountains, the high peaks region climbing a number of different peaks. Over 20 miles, over 11,000 feet of vertical elevation gain and over 7 high peaks in total we climbed. Now this for me was not crazy in terms of the physicality and the demanding requirements of the terrain of the amount of fitness required, the preparedness, the shape you had to be in to really do well.
For me, the challenge was overcoming a deep seated fear of mine. One that I’ve had since high school, and one that I still have yet to fully face and overcome. It’s really the last fear that I have in life, admittedly. Have addressed a lot of the other ones I’ve had. I’ve worked through them, worked through the pain. I’ve been humble, I’ve sought advice and gone deep into the root causes for it. And I’ve been able to address acknowledge and overcome the irrationality as a foundation and as an artifice, that really goes into creating fear.
Fear is just a construct
It’s an irrational feeling that is rooted in something. We have to really get to the bottom of that in order to grow and overcome it. So for me on this trip, the thing that scared me was not the mountains, was not the amount of miles we were trying to do was not, the physicality, the demands and the rigor of the terrain was none of that. I actually wanted to keep going and do more. The fear for me, the one thing that I’ve still not overcome, that I’m coming to you as an example, through humility, trying to be modest because it’s hard to admit, but we all have these. The fear for me is a fear of heights.
I have still not been able to while I’ve made great strides to fully overcome my fear of heights. When we got to a very steep section one of the peaks, with 30 mile an hour gusts. It was a 60 to 70 degree drop for several hundred feet, if not further. Looking out into the vast wide open spaces of surrounding high peaks, all over 4,500 feet above sea level. The depth, the perspective, the win, the insecurity, uncertainty all played a part in my fear at that moment.
My fear was that the weight of the bag, 50 pounds on my back with a wind gust that came along when I was a little bit off balance would topple me over and I would roll down the hill to my death. That was my fear. And so it’s part, fear of dying. It’s fear of the unknown, the insecurity, the feeling of not having control or influence over something or an outcome.
That’s part of it. And that’s a problem for me, but what I did to at least start to overcome the fear. This is a process working through fears does not just produce results overnight. Sometimes we have to condition ourselves through repeated, consistent, intentional exposure to the stimulus. The same stimulus that creates the fear. Over time with an intentionality and a presence that helps us reduce its negative impact.
The externalities that it has, the things that it creates in our mind, how it affects our choices and how it ultimately influences our decisions, our behavior, and our life. The benefits of this while it changed the course of the path and the day. One, I feel now more conditioned and more confident when I go back, which I will to face that fear again, that I’m going to overcome. That I’m going to step down on that cliff and ledge, no matter how windy it is and take the next step and continue to go down. Descend that rock face, because I’m conditioning and starting to lean into the fear, not cower and back down. And that’s really critical I think. Really important.
You can’t go around it, can’t retreat from it, you have to work through it
So a way in which I was able to grow with my fear of heights was really through flying more. I started to fly a lot more for business events was attending where I was speaking and also leisure about five years ago. Before that time though, I was really fearful of turbulence, of heights, of getting into planes and have that complete turnover of the will and the safety of yourself to the pilot, to the plane and the machine, and hopeful good weather.
But now I’m fine with flying. In fact, I love it. I leaned into it, embraced the turbulence because I placed faith in the process. In the engineering, in the training that that pilot had and in providence in destiny, and the fact that things will work out. So by conditioning myself, by placing myself in that position more and more, by flying more, I conditioned myself to be more in tune with where that fear was derived from to be less influenced by the negative effects that fear created and just start to numb.
The externalities and the influences that had on my behavior, my mind, my wellbeing, my emotional state and everything else. So that’s my story. That’s my example. I grew through this challenge. I’m going to continue to work through this fear and I’m going to overcome it at some point. It’s not going to be tomorrow. It’s probably not going to be next week.
And it may not even be this year or even next. I imply a conscious effort every day that I encounter this fear to work toward overcoming it. And that’s by leaning in, that’s by being mindful, that’s by being intentional, that’s by digging deep, being humble, teachable, and coachable, addressing the things that lead up to it, evaluating logically the things that result from it, and really picking apart the alternatives to making sure that we’re not debilitated.
We’re not left leaving experiences and memories in life on the table because our fear is preventing us. Because that’s not how we want to go through life. And that’s not what I want for you. And I know that’s not what you want for yourself either. So hopefully this little story inspired you in some way yet some ideas about how to maybe tackle that fear, that big elephant in the room, something that’s holding you back from living better from experiencing life greater. From going out there and doing the things you want to do and not be held back by what’s up, here by irrationality by constructions of the mind. And errors in thinking as I like to call them.
So if you’ve benefited from this, drop me a like or a comment, share this with somebody that could benefit from it as well that this message might help in the area of overcoming, facing your fears and overcoming them again to your success, your happiness and your freedom. Talk to you next week.