Big Life with Ray Waters Neal Campbell no

Do the thing you fear the most….. 

And the death of fear is certain. 

I don’t know when I learned that little saying, but it has been in my memory for most of my life. As a teenager,  I remember repeating it over and over in my head while climbing up the ladder to the highest diving board I had ever been on. With legs shaking and heart pumping, I said it one more time and jumped….it wasn’t pretty but I didn’t die….and the height of the jump no longer intimidated me.

I overcame a small fear that day. Ray 1 – Fear – 0! That was a very good day. I wish every day was as easy. Sometimes the fear grows and no matter how strongly I repeat my little mantra, I just can’t break through.

Author Elizabeth Gilbert, who has written several New York Times Best Sellers including  Eat, Pray, Love and most recently Big Magic, has an interesting approach to fear. I heard her speak recently about this.  She said she begins with the premise that the emotion of fear is good, helpful and necessary. There are certainly things in life we need to be afraid of like …..

“Don’t get in that car with that group of people – something is not safe about them.”

“Don’t try to body surf those waves, all the life guard flags say the undertow could be fatal.”

“That person is not safe. There is something in his character that will harm you if you open yourself up to him.”

Gilbert likes to thank her “Fear” for being such a faithful friend. A friend she has genuinely needed. A friend who has looked out for her best interests. A friend who has warned her of situations where she could get seriously hurt. But, there are times when she has to remind “Fear” that the situation she is entering is not a high risk area. And, “Fear” needs to take a break. Gilbert said “Fear”  shows up on the job every day ready to warn her of scary things she is about to attempt. But you can’t live a large life if you are always giving in to “Fear”. So this is how she moves ahead when “Fear” tries to dissuade her from doable things on her journey.

Starting to write a new book is not going to kill her. So, “Fear” stand down!

Stepping out and trying something new in business will not lead to death. Thanks “Fear”, but everything is ok.

Deciding to begin a new hobby or tackle a bucket list item is not necessarily something worthy of “Fear”. So, “Fear”, I will not need you on this one. You can rest.

The way she explained her approach made a lot of sense to me. I don’t want to rush headlong into this adventure called life with out any warning signals that I am being too reckless or driving too fast. Or, that I am dangerously close to making a fatal decision. For those times, I want “Fear” to speak strongly into my life and I want to heed it’s warning. But, when “Fear” is acting irrationally, I want to kindly give it the day off and let it know, I’ve got this! And I will repeat my little saying I learned a long time ago……

Do the thing that you fear the most

And the death of fear is certain. 

Dive Deeper to Float Higher

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