One of the most common questions I get asked by people that aspire to achieve the level of success I have is how I powered through personal fears to do it. How I didn't let fear paralyze me. Hold me back. Truth is, it DID hold me back. It holds everyone back doesn't it? When I first drafted this post, I was in a different headspace. My mind riddled with fear and intense emotions from a personal matter that still challenges the very essence of my character. But, I've had a lot of time to reflect since then. I didn't want to write this blog post until I was 100% sure I knew what I wanted to say. I don't want to ever bullshit any of you.
So, let's talk about fear for a moment. Fear can be all consuming. Crippling. When people make excuses about not following their dreams it's because of fear. When people flake, lie, go the easy route... it's... fear. So, how do you overcome it to get what you REALLY want in life? I can list books or video tutorials to provide you with food for thought and perhaps on a future post I will. But today, I'd rather just tell you my story and let you come up with your own way to challenge and ultimately overcome your fears.
On the surface, I'm simply afraid of heights. However, yes... I enjoy roller coasters, I am a thrill seeker but the thought of being too close to the edge of anything. I recoil. I hated escalators in malls. I hated getting too close to anything that made me essentially feel... out of control. Not knowing what could happen next.
Then about a month ago I got smacked with some real life changing shit. One of those crossroad moments that either break you or define you. FEAR. Real fear devoured my every thought from the subconscious to my present mind. It was so powerful that one day I woke up, paralyzed with fear. I was fearful of failing again, fearful of not being able to control my destiny, fear of not winning someone back, fear of loss, fear of disappointment.
I remember facing myself in the mirror as a I do every morning. It was clear to me that I NEEDED to face a fear that day. Head on. My mind zipped through the various fears that held me back. A fear of snakes (goddamn Indiana Jones and Conan). My fear of heights -- ah yes. That one. I'll tackle my fear of heights.
So, what did I do? I did what any respectful aging millennial would do. I google searched the nearest skydiving place, called them asking if they take walk ons (they did). I hoped in a car. Drove 35 minutes to the D.C. Skydiving Center and then I signed up to skydive. As fate would happen I was the last one who could sign up for the day and I signed my life away within 10 minutes. Not even a full 5 minutes later, the skydiver who was my guy for our tandem drop greeted me and asked if I watched the instructional video. I replied "no". He said "Fuck it." He'd tell me what to expect on the plane ride! Within seconds we boarded a tiny, rickety plane that was well past its glory days. As we ascended, I looked out the plane window, then looked at my fellow divers, understanding that I would be one of the first people to jump. As we kept climbing, the door flew open and then... I realized... holy shit. This is fucking real.
There were only three people ahead of me so I assumed I had a few minutes to gather myself. But hey, you know what they say about people who assume (something about asses)? All three people jumped out of the plane together, acrobatic flips and all. Then I was told to scoot forward to the edge of the plane, tuck my legs under the plan, lean back and BAM! I was flying. Taking in the entire world. It was beautiful. A flood of memories (bad and good) flew through my brain. But the most overwhelming emotion was... peace. I just fucking conquered one of my biggest fears. In STYLE. I did it and no one can ever take that away from me. When we landed I so thrilled I called the one person in the world that mattered the most to me. After my jump, I felt free. Free to face my fears head on. Free to enjoy every moment life had to offer. That's what it feels like to conqueror a fear. So I'm telling you, whoever you are... that's reading this... free yourself.
How did I do it? How do you conquer your fear? TAKE ACTION. That's it. No matter what. Do something. Anything. That's the simple truth I learned that I will always carry with me. If you're afraid then simply take action. Then another. Then another. Become the unstoppable force you always dreamt of.