Recently I have taken up the sport of skydiving. Yes, I am jumping out of a perfectly good airplane and falling 14,000 feet at about 122 miles an hour! If you have never skydived it is an exhilarating experience and when your chute opens, it is awesome to take in the view from a mile up while floating quietly down to earth. For me, the hardest part of the sky dive is not the free fall, or opening the chute, or even the landing…it is looking out of the open door of the plane and taking the jump!
We all have experienced the fear of “jumping” in our lives. Whether it is jumping off the high dive at the swimming pool as kid, jumping into a new relationship, or jumping out of one job into another. Sometimes that fear holds us back from trying something new. Maybe it is the fear of failure, fear of rejection, the fear of the unknown or maybe it is the fear of not being in control. Like jumping out of a plane, maybe it is a fear that something will go wrong, even though we know that millions of people have done the same thing before us. Fear is about the stress of uncertainty.
The bottom line is that fear can hold us back from growing and doing the things that give life meaning. Good leaders and world class performers know that courage is not about not being afraid, but rather it is about facing our fears and conquering them.
But how do we do that; sometimes our fears can absolutely paralyze us. First we have to tell ourselves that being afraid is OK. Fear can give us clarity; it can help us to look deeply into ourselves and the situation to discover new truths. Second, we need to use positive Self-Talk to help us transform the negative messages of fear into positive messages of anticipation. Thirdly, we need to tell ourselves that not being in control is sometimes OK and often necessary in order to grow.
So when you are facing a new experience take a deep breath, let go of control, anticipate the positive, and don’t hold back. The longer you delay, the more the fear will grow. Focus on what you want to accomplish, not on what you are afraid of. And more often than not you will enjoy the experience!
So Face the Fear. Take Action. And go ahead and Jump!
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