Bravery is not the absence of fear, but action in the face of fear.
Hello and welcome back to my blog!
last weekend I wore a cute dress, some sparkly shoes and watched horses race for 4 seconds. This was the last year our Junior League will hold this event and it was, as always, a blast!
If you’re here today I hope that today’s ramblings inspire you and if I can’t do that, maybe introduce you to someone who can. My life has been constant research lately and I have acquired a wealth of knowledge of things I hope to one day share with everyone.
I have struggled with what I have wanted to write in my next blog. I didn’t have anything just burning inside me, until last night.
A few weeks ago a co-worker told me that she just had to tell me how proud she was that I had handled my life situations so well. That not everyone can or is willing to do that. She proceeded to tell me a story of a woman who had recently lost someone and made it heck for everyone at work.
It was a hard story to hear. Partly because I knew the pain that woman felt and partly because I know how hard it is to not fall into the trap that is sadness. On my drive home I started thinking that, there’s a blog here. I just wasn’t sure what it was. Maybe something along the lines of why do we do what we do? Why do we choose to be positive or why do we choose to be negative?
I couldn’t just nail anything down, until last night. What if the question wasn’t why do we DO what we do, but instead why do we not NOT do. This came down to one simple yet complicated answer, Fear.
What drive it? Why is it so debilitating? And why are we so quick to push it aside?
I am a jumpy person. My co-workers can hardly come up to my desk without making me jump and yelp. And lord forbid my boyfriend walk up to me…in his house….when I know he is in the room without me screaming and scare the both of us. I have always been a jumpy person.
Up until about a year ago, I slept with my TV on because I didn’t want to be in the dark. I couldn’t tell you why I was afraid of the dark, but I was. That was until I went through everything I did with my dad. It was like I had been faced with the scariest thing that could happen to me and nothing else seemed to compare.
I stopped sleeping with my TV on. Partly because I wasn’t scared anymore and partly because I read an article about how you do not get adequate sleep. (I believe it, I have slept WAY better now that I sleep with no light.) I say all of this to lead me into today’s topic.
What scares you the most? And what could come out of facing it?
If you’re somewhat of a marvel nerd like I can be and you’ve seen Gotham on Netflix you know that Dr. Crane was obsessed with creating a fear serum. He would inject himself with it so that he would eventually no longer feel fear. This of course did not go well…. Although his methods a little skewed, He wasn’t completely wrong.
What if we leaned way into those things that scared us the most? What if instead of letting that fear overwhelm us, we overwhelmed it.
We hear this from all successful leaders. And I didn’t realize it until last night while talking to a friend that I unknowingly had done just this. I could have easily pushed aside the fears that came with having a sick parent. And some days I did. But mostly I just got stronger, better and more fearless. I leaned in.
I feel like my situation is unique because I didn’t have much of a choice in the facing the fear of losing my father. I do however believe that because of this, I am where I am today. Facing fears I may have never considered. That doesn’t have to be you.
I’ve shared a little about my journey with my dad’s sickness, mostly about how God has given me peace. But it want until recently that I have truly understood what I went through during that time and why I think that was.
One of the biggest and arguably scariest moments that I experienced was, I developed Anxiety.
I have had panic attacked before, mostly in a stressful situation. I would never classify myself as an anxious person. Suddenly I was. It was awful. It took over my entire day. I was living in constant fear that I would have an anxiety attack at any moment. I hated it.
A moment came when I thought I couldn’t handle this on my own and I went to the doctor. I had no insurance at the time so this was a hard decision. The doctor I saw was nice and took the time to talk to me. He did end up prescribing me something and I left thinking, “This is it, it’s going to get better”. It didn’t. I didn’t want to be on medicine. I have nothing against it I just felt that there had to be something better. Something more spiritual. More me. There was.
I started to research different ways others overcame their anxiety. Started to dig into the exact reason I felt the way that I did. And it all came down to two things that really came down to one. I didn’t want to fail and I didn’t want to disappoint others. In short, FEAR.
I was living in a constant fear of failure. I wasn’t happy with the job I had, I wanted to go back to school, my favorite person was ill and I had no idea what was in my future.
It wasn’t until I started to realize how much this had taken a toll on my life and my relationships I started to think, I could either give into these fears or I could look them straight in the eye and say “Not Today”.
That’s exactly what I did.
I enrolled in school, got a new job and kicked my anxiety. Now, Let me be honest I still have moments when I feel like I could get anxious. Moments I start to feel that fear creep in.
I stop it. It’s not easy and it’s not something that I learned to do over night. But it is attainable.
I started saying yes to things that I didn’t want to do out of fear. I started making some decisions based on passion and goals instead of thinking of the “what if’s”. I just started living life.
In conversation with a friend she told me how she sees me being positive and thriving despite all I have been through. My reaction to this is always the same. The alternative is worse. I would rather work every single day to keep thriving and searching for positivity then to lay down and let fear run my life.
We have the power to choose how our life will be spent, what fears we will allow to dictate our decisions. We only get one life and so many moments within it. How about we spend then taking all the risks. Wouldn’t it be better to say, I’ve tried that, it didn’t work. Verse “I wanted to do that, but fear kept me from trying”. I’m learning that sometimes life is way more fun navigating our failures and re directing them to victories.
Right now we all have a decisions we need to make. Ones that will affect how we grow, who we surround ourselves with and what our future could look like.
Unfortunately, much to Dr. Crane’s dismay, we cannot just inject ourselves with a fear serum and go on with life. We have to actually decide that we are going to face them head on and say “Not Today”.
Does this mean that I won’t still get spooked when someone walks up to my cubicle when I’m super focused on emails? No.
Does this mean I won’t run like my life depends on it every time I have to get something out of my car at night because the boogey man could be real? No.
I still have fears. But the way I see it, I’ve already faced some of the hardest days of my life. So what’s a few weeks of stress and taking a huge risk? What’s one more semester of school, while buying a house and taking a chair position with a non-profit all at the same time?
Facing fears and winning. That’s what this part of my life is. #Winning
I’ll leave you with part of a speech given by a woman I have come to admire in the last months. I was saving this for a graduation post but I feel it fits now. I first came across this when I read her book a couple of months ago and it has never left me. Sheryl Sandberg is the CEO of Facebook and a wonderful woman’s motivator. In 2011 she gave the commencement speech at Barnard College.
“We try at Facebook to keep all of our employees thinking big all day. We have these posters in red we put around the walls. One says, “Fortune favors the bold.” Another says, “What would you do if you weren’t afraid?” That question echoes Barnard alum Anna Quindlen, who said that she majored in unafraid. Don’t let your fears overwhelm your desire. Let the barriers you face—and there will be barriers—be external, not internal. Fortune does favor the bold, and I promise that you will never know what you’re capable of unless you try.
You’re going to walk off this stage today and you’re going to start your adult life. Start out by aiming high. Like everyone here, I have great hopes for the members of this graduating class. I hope you find true meaning, contentment and passion in your life. I hope that you navigate the hard times and you come out with greater strength and resolve. I hope that whatever balance you seek, you find it with your eyes wide open. And I hope that you—yes, you—each and every one of you have the ambition to run the world, because this world needs you to run it. Women all around the world are counting on you. I’m counting on you.
I know that’s a big challenge and responsibility, a really daunting task, but you can do it. You can do it if you lean in. So go home tonight and ask yourselves, “What would I do if I weren’t afraid?” And then go do it.”
The quote at the beginning of this post was on the Fight With Mike T-Shirts we had made for dad. I am constantly reminded of the legacy he left behind for me to follow. If I can accomplish only one goal in life it would be to continue passing on his bravery, leadership and big heart to everyone else.
So, What scares you?
Now, go be brave and DO IT.