Kiss Your Fears Goodbye
This weekend, I kissed one of my biggest fears goodbye. Skydiving. It was one of the scariest and most amazing kisses of my life;). Watch my video at the end of this post!
"Nope. Never, ever, ever. Not even going to consider it. Don't even ask me. I. Will. Never. Skydive."
Sound familiar? Perhaps you have fears of your own that you refuse to consider? What fears have you built up into impossible monsters over the years? I have had many thoughts floating through my mind this weekend...jumping out of an airplane will do that to anyone I suppose. I hope that sharing my experience may help you to see your own fears in a different light...
'Be brave. Take risks. Experiment. Try.'
These are words that I wrote to guide me earlier this year as I began to navigate through some new places in my life.
I am not afraid of many things...but this...jumping out of a plane...this was never, ever going to be on 'my list'. Even though I rappelled out of helicopters for many years at Rapattack, I was never in my life going to skydive.
Eventually, I realized that meant I would have to do it one day. That fear had too much power over me...and I don't like that;)
Was it easy? No. Was it terrifying? Yes. Did every cell in my body fight until the very last moment? Surely. But even though my mind and emotions fought against my actions...I did it. I overcame my fear. I didn't just 'do it'. Overcoming deep rooted relationships with our emotions isn't that easy. Our fears, thought patterns and emotions are more complicated than that. I used a series of mental strategies to get myself signed up, suited up, in the air and out of that plane.
The first step was the realization that I wanted to overcome my fear...one day. A few years ago, this hit me and the seed had been planted. One day... Then, a few weeks ago, while watching a SAR Tech jumping overhead my perspective suddenly changed. 'Huh.' I thought. 'He's having FUN. That could actually be fun.' Then my mind started to explore all of the other positive possibilities that could come with Skydiving. For the first time in my life, I saw the positives of embracing this fear of mine- a fun adventure, a unique experience, personal growth, confidence, new perspectives...and many more brand new ideas came to me. Our actions create our emotions and so...I told a friend. And another and another. And then I reached out to a friend who skydives to find out where to go (thank you for the inspiration Kyle!). Then I contacted the company and booked the date. Then I told the world and recruited a friend (YAY John!). The odds were going up and up and up with every action I took. Could I have backed out at anytime? Absolutely! Did I want to? No! So, I continued to set myself up for success. As the jump date got closer, I tucked my fear away by not allowing myself think about it. I didn't want to let my mind go to the dark side of my fear and bring back negative emotions. Not helpful to focus on what you don't want. You know that. It takes practice and discipline but most of us can, in fact, control our thoughts. So I didn't think about it at all.
Once the day arrived, I practiced staying completely in the moment. I did this to prevent my mind from going to the scary places. Sign this (but don't read it OMG!). Put this on. Do this drill. Look out the window. Oh that's a lovely view. What a nice day for a plane ride. (LOL-seriously!). Then when the door opened shit got real! But I was already hooked up to the Jump Master and had committed to the jump so I just kept putting one foot in front of the other. Finally, I released all control and put my trust entirely in the hands of the Jump Master. One of the most terror filled experiences of my life (read: control freak). Our actions determine our feelings. I took the steps I needed to face my fear, and my feelings accepted our path. I was about to jump out of a plane! Legs hanging out of the plane, 10,500 feet about the earth...the view was spectacular...the feeling of space was massive...my legs went to jelly and my mind turned to the protocols we had rehearsed to keep the intensity of the situation manageable. I took the actions that would shape the feelings that I wanted. Not the other way around.
And then...we jumped out of the plane together. But OMG he didn't tell me we would be doing flips! Eeeeek! 170kms per hour, free falling 5000 feet in 30-40 seconds, it was a wild ride to say the least. It was actually INSANE. Like crazy scary, terrifying, amazing, what the hell am I doing, oh well I am doing it now, this is insane, insane. My mind was officially blown beyond anything it had ever known. And I was smiling the biggest smile of my life at the same time. It was amazing, nothing what I expected, and even just a little fun;). After the chute was pulled a wave of relief and exhilaration and pride and joy and all the good feels came over me. I had done it. I could have backed out many times but I didn't. I let my steps take me all the way. We played, we floated, we turned and we soared. After we landed my legs wouldn't hold me and I laid flat on my back on the tarmac for a good ten minutes, soaking in the sunshine and the energy and emotions that came with it all. I do not feel pride very often...but I felt a huge swell of pride after that. I didn't expect that emotion to be in the mix. But it felt great. 'Man. If I could do that', I thought...'what couldn't I do?'.
Fear only lives in fear. Say hello to your fears. Get cozy with them. Hold hands, look them in the eyes and then kiss your fears. Facing your fears is the only way to release yourself from them. When you get intimate with your fears they will transform right before your eyes...and so will you.
But...how do we make the jump from standing waaaay over here to cuddling up with our fears, over there? The power of the mind, of course. Here are my thoughts on how to overcome the power of inertia and take the leap towards a new relationship with your fears:
Why am I smiling doing the thing I am most afraid of?? Cuz it's FUN! Huh. Who knew?
1. Transform Fear. The word 'fear, itself, brings up all sorts of heavy, scary negative emotions. Flip its meaning in your mind and you will transform your relationship with fear. Choose to see the other side of fear - the beauty, the benefits and the positive outcomes of getting cozy with your fears. Empowerment, courage and belief all grow in the embrace of fear. Perspectives shift and limits expand in the company of fear. Connecting with that which we fear most is, truly, and opportunity for growth. Seeing our fears as a positive and pushing aside our negative relationships with fear, is a game changer. Replace your old story with your future vision. Dream big. Practice visualizing the best possible outcome of embracing your fear. How good could it go? Fill you mind with that vision and don't leave room for the rest.
2. Commit To Your Fear. Once you decide to get up close and personal with your fear, set yourself up to follow through in the form of a commitment via action. Sign up, pay, tell the world, recruit a friend, and say 'I do'. The more action steps you take towards your fear, the sooner your relationship with your fear will begin to transform. Fake it till you make it. Your actions will in time shape how you feel about your fear.
3. Stop Thinking About Your Fear. Stop thinking and start walking. Put your fear away in a dark corner of your mind, down in the cellar, under the stairs, in a box...lock it up and throw away the key. Tuck it away for a moment, turn off your mind and start walking. 'Taking a break' from obsessing about our fears can help us move forward without the heavy chains of our past relationship with the fear. Lie to yourself if you have to, but keep putting one foot in front of the other until you find yourself face to face with your fear. Then, just take one more step...
Of course, fear is an important part of survival in this life. A healthy sense of fear is wired into us to keep us alive as we navigate the true dangers in life. But many times, our fears only exist in our minds and, rather than keeping us alive, they actually limit the amount of this life that we truly live. Go on...give your fear a kiss:)
What fears are limiting you? Do you want to kiss them goodbye? Or perhaps you already have?? Please share!
I did it! So can you!