Fears run rampant here lately.
I’ve noticed lots of comments during coaching sessions like, “I can’t do that. I’ll look stupid.” or “Are you serious? Me? Um, NO.”
Which reminded me of the time my son and I went hiking. Or, at least, he went hiking.
I got as far as the crazy-big pile of boulders and fallen logs and was like, “Nope. I’ll wait here. You go on ahead.”
The look on my son’s face was utter disbelief. “But we drove all the way out here. Seriously, Mom?”
Had I read the description of the trail before we left, I might’ve saved us the disappointment:
Oneonta Gorge is not accessible by trail. Rather you must walk up the creek bed, over a large and perhaps unstable log jam, through the gorge, and up to your waist (or even torso depending on your height and the time of year) in water until you finally see your prize…
All I’d seen beforehand was this picture:
So of course, I said, “I can totally do that.”
But I’m not 25 years old and in great shape (like my son). And he’s never fallen down the stairs and thrown his back out (like me).
His body doesn’t remember that fear. He can’t easily see himself crashing to the ground the way I do.
So he went ahead and I plopped myself down on a smooth log, happy to enjoy some quiet time.
Above me, the canopy of maples was green lace against a clear blue sky.
Autumn was nearly upon us.
I noticed a leaf escaping here and there.
The first one pirouetted gracefully to earth.
The next one rode the invisible heat waves to the ground like an experienced surfer.
Each one fell in its own time. In its own way.
It was one of the most beautiful things I’d experienced that week.
My next thought: How right it is that we embrace the fall.
When it’s time. In our own way. When there’s nothing left to do but release our grasp on the life we’ve led and fall forward into something new.
Some of us might feel as if we’re bouncing off limbs on the way down. Our edges curled inward to keep us safe.
Others of us take a more direct, sure approach. Arms stretched out and ready to embrace the ground as it rushes up to meet us.
Question: When you feel the fear do you do the thing anyway? Or, do you stop and meditate on whether or not you really truly want the thing you thought you wanted?
Neither option is right or wrong.
Stillness and caution aren’t necessarily better or worse than headlong forays into something new.
For me, a new project sometimes IS my fear. I’m acting out.
Bright shiny objects are fabulous for keeping me from sticking with the other thing I said I wanted to do.
How do you know if a new idea or new project is worth pursuing?
You hold it up against your mission. Stand it next to your vision and check for alignment. You think about it. Do some research.
Perhaps discuss it (with a dear friend, mentor or coach) and make an honest assessment of worst-case scenarios and best possible outcomes.
Then, if it looks good, you plan and prepare properly. You wear just the right hiking boots and you climb up that ginormous pile of boulders and loose logs.
You stay present and pay attention to where you put your feet.
A little adrenaline can be a mighty fine thing. when you’re ready.
The trick is to know the difference between what’s life-threatening and life-affirming, right?
If you’ve got something you’re stuck on in your business and you’d like another brain and heart to help you assess your terrain and find the best way forward, the first step is to book some time with me.
And if you just need a little boost to get going, watch zefrank’s video* below:
An Invocation for Beginnings:
Me? I’m currently gathering my courage to fall into a project that at first looked simple, but that’s turning out to be more complex and yes — a bit scary. It’s not a pile of dangerous rubble, mind you. But it’s definitely outside my comfort zone.
How about you?
If you try something new and fall, will you break your neck? Your bank account? Your ego? What’s the worst that can happen? Name your Cheese Monster and set it free.
Photo Credit: KevJames3