What scares you? When I first started training with my neighbors, their American Ninja Warrior equipment scared me. As my neighbor, Michael, talked about all the crazy things we’d eventually be doing on this contraption it was a little tough trying to appear enthusiastic.
What the heck had I gotten myself into?
We didn’t start the workouts doing all the things Michael had described. We started with baby steps. For all the strength training I’ve done over the years, I can’t do a pull-up. I certainly can’t do a pull-up to chest, which was the goal.
No worries. Out came a series of bands designed to give me an assist. I started with a band of so much resistance I fought just to be able to hang there. After I could do 7-10 using that resistance, I graduated to a less-resistant band. I also graduated to fewer repetitions.
Once again, I worked up to 7-10 reps, then graduated to yet another band of lesser resistance. I think I’m supposed to lose the bands on my next progression. That will be humbling. Meanwhile, the equipment doesn’t scare me anymore. It’s become a challenge I want to conquer. To do it, I’ll need to put in the work.
My point here is we don’t have to go all in all at once when we’re trying something that scares us. Sometimes the best approach is moving into it step by step. Master a step, then move to the next. Perfection, then progression.
Okay, maybe perfection is too lofty a goal. Maybe achieving a comfort level before moving to the next step is what’s needed. Different situations call for different strategies.
On the flip side, jumping in with both feet may be the right move. Years ago when I decided to take the CPA exam, its difficult reputation scared me. Regardless, I jumped into my studies at full speed. I took a review course, studied my rear off, and pass all four parts in one sitting – not because I’m really smart, but because I put in the work.
I heard in a podcast recently the host saying, “If I see something that scares me I’ll move toward it.” The speaker didn’t mean something dangerous; he meant something challenging. That was so awesome. I want to react that way!
We know, deep down, the best way to tackle what scares us is to face it. Take it head on. Stare it down. We usually find the scary thing isn’t nearly as scary as we expected it to be. And once we’ve faced it we feel so victorious! In my case I often look back and laugh at myself for getting so worked up about the thing that scared me.
Remember when we were kids and we just knew there was a monster in the closet or under the bed. What did it take to remove our fears? Opening the closet, looking under the bed, proving to ourselves the fear was in our minds, not in our reality.
The fear of the unknown is often the thing that scares us most. It’s followed closely by the fear of helplessness, the fear of failure and the fear of humiliation. What would happen if you moved toward the thing that scares you?
My next venture is going to be more live Instagram stories. Nothing fabulous or produced. Just me, connecting to you, the way friends do. It’s something that has scared me, so I need to move toward it. I mean, why should I be afraid of friends? 🙂
What scares you? More importantly, what is your plan for conquering what scares you?
To our more courageous selves!