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Thursday, February 27, 2014

5 Reasons to Do The Thing That Scares You Most


I have a confession…I am painfully afraid of heights. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE a good adventure, but when I'm in a situation where heights are involved, I find myself shaking, dizzy, short of breath and panicky. It's a fear I know in my head to be irrational, but emotionally I have a hard time directing my mind elsewhere than my plummeting doom  :\

That's why I decided, when planning my next adventure to Hawaii, to challenge myself and conquer this totally unfounded aversion. Rather than hide from it, I was curious to see what would happen when I just faced it head on. Let me just tell you...A MA Z I N G things happen when you do the thing that scares you most. In partnership with Fitness First Australia, here are 5 reasons why you HAVE to try it!



1. Facing your fear eliminates it.  Fear is just agitation caused by expectation. Most of the time, we build our fears up in our head to be life threatening, when in reality they are just a projection of the most negative outcome our mind can create. By facing your fear head on, you destroy the expectation which then devalues it completely and relieves you from future stress. When climbing, every time I was scared to go higher, I just took a deep breath and took one step. That one step would lead to another and before I knew it I had made it! And after all the stress I was always able to say "that wasn't that bad."



2. Fear makes us perform at our highest levels.  There have been studies that prove there is a sweet spot of human performance that lies just outside our comfort zone called "optimal anxiety." So those jitters we get before attempting something we're scared of actually have a purpose -- they propel us to perform at a level of excellence unattainable when operating on cruise control. 



3. Facing your fear harnesses creativity. When you try something new or adventure outside your comfort zone, you invite new insight into your awareness that you are then forced to take into account. We can never move backward in personal growth, only forward. By accomplishing something you never thought possible, you rewrite the script of who you thought you were and what you are capable of! Not only does this build self esteem but it enables you to set and accomplish goals that are more substantial and fulfilling.



4. You'll have an easier time facing new fears and unexpected changes going forward. I don't mean to burst anyone's bubble here, but nothing in life is permanent. Even the relationships we think are rock solid, the possessions we think we own, in a sequence of unfortunate events can be stripped from us at any moment. By confronting the small, fearful scenarios in your everyday life, you prove your agility in the eye of the storm that life can often bring. When you overcome the thing you fear most, you are unstoppable in the face of change. After cliff jumping in Hawaii, I knew I could go rock climbing again with confidence. It's a constant ripple effect of goal setting and upward growth.


5. You have nothing to lose. Let me let you in on a little secret…FAILURE DOESN'T EXIST. Failure is a human imposed label bound to a scenario that fell short of the expectations of a select person or persons. It only exists in our mind if we believe it to be true. Therefore, if you choose not to let it, failure does not define you nor inhibit you. It is only one type of perception. Flip your perception to see failure as one step closer to success and suddenly failure is essential to the process. I didn't magically overcome my fears the second I started climbing. There were moments when I stood for 10 minutes, breathing, gaining my composure, and occasionally laughing at the silliness of my phobia. But by not letting the "failure" to overcome take hold of me,  I was able to push past it and keep climbing higher.




So now you know why confronting your greatest fear is essential, but how do you actually accomplish this mind blowing task?

Start Small. Do little things that break up your routine. Sit with unease and allow yourself to self sooth. Approach the things you hate and fear with love; instead of avoiding them, hold them close and then detach from them completely. Then notice how the things you dread aren't really as painful as you make them out to be in your head.

•  Stretch yourself physically. For me, the body is much easier to overcome than the mind. This may not be the same for everyone but give it a shot! Sometimes I'll run an extra 10 minutes after I think I'm tired, do an extra 5 crunches past the number I set for myself, or hold a yoga pose an extra 3 breaths…just to prove to myself that I can surpass my own expectations and capabilities. By challenging yourself on a physical level you are saying, "if I handle this, then the emotional challenge I've built up in my head will be a piece of cake."

• Let go of expectations.  Approach every situation with confidence that, whatever the outcome, it will be as though it were your first choice. Take the weight out of failure as well as success. Both are labels we place on neutral scenarios and nothing more. Without expectation you deny fear its power.

 Learn to make decisions in 30 seconds or less.  Making quick decisions taps into your intuition and allows you to connect with your true self, eliminating fear from the picture entirely. I'm not advocating to do this in all scenarios, but start small. Try it at restaurants, the grocery store or social scenarios where a decision needs to be made. Listen to your gut, make the call and then trust that the best possible outcome is what you have selected. The ability to be decisive on the spot is a practice in higher thought and takes fear out of the equation of what it is you truly want.

"HERE IS THE SECRET: YOUR 'FUTURE SELF' IS YOUR PRESENT AND REAL SELF." 
-Tau Malachi

What are your biggest fears? How do you confront them? Thanks to Fitness First Australia for motivating me to challenge my fears and share my discovery.

For more fitness inspo check out fitnessfirst.com.au

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