There are countless inspirational quotes out there about fear and doing all the things you think you can’t do. There is value in taking leaps that make us nervous and having those words of wisdom to hold on to are almost like a fear-slaying saber we can wield. Those words help us puff up our chests and stand tall when bravery escapes us.
I’ve written a lot here in the Val in Real Life world about the many facets of fear. From busting myths about fearlessness, to combatting fear foisted upon you from the outside, to telling it to piss off so I can be me again.
Which brings me to this month.
I did not intend for August to be a month filled with doing big, scary things. That’s just how it played out. But as I’m putting together the next newsletter, I realize how many things I did this month that scared the ever-loving shit out of me—riding dirt, public speaking, and returning to client photography.
Have I done all of these things before? Yes. Successfully? Yep.
So why are they still so daunting? I suppose they are all victims of the perishable comfort zone!
Breaking down the fear
Off-road riding takes some serious skill. And I don’t do it enough to keep my skills sharp. So I find myself in perpetual beginner mode. But this past weekend I set out on a dirt ride with my local BMW group, just biting the bullet knowing I can’t get better if I don’t get out there more. I also had to trust my experience of knowing how much fun it is once I settle into it.
At the outset, my heart was pounding and I was asking myself what the hell I was doing out there. Fear kept reminding me that I’m still on the steep part of the learning curve as a dirt rider. And there’s significant potential for injury so some fear is a reasonable response in this case. Just not crippling fear.
If only you could have heard my internal monologue for the first ten minutes of the ride, pep-talking myself through every dicey inch of the road! Pretty soon it was fun again and I found my groove—the route just challenging enough to help me grow but not so far past my current skill level that I would have no chance of success. I came home covered in dirt and smiling ear-to-ear. And I didn’t drop the bike even once. That felt damn good.
Public speaking is basically a nightmare for most people. I’m not immune to the terror, either. And I’m out of practice. But being a part of A&S Motorcycles Women’s Day was totally worth it.
Even with managing some technical snafus that off-footed me at the start, I got it done. I got lots of positive feedback and many folks told me they picked up some good tips from it. If anyone thought I sucked, I haven’t heard yet. Do I have room for improvement? You betcha. Lots. And I’m intent on making that happen now that I’m back out there into the presenter world.
I took a huge leap by joining the Snappr on-demand photography team. It’s kind of like the Uber or AirBnb of photography. The platform works for my wacky schedule and that I don’t want to run a full-time studio. Cool, right?
Except I have to admit it took me five months to finally submit my application. It was intimidating to think maybe I wasn’t good enough. So I completely over-thought my portfolio submissions for months. And I let fear psych me out that I won’t be successful or that I don’t know what I’m doing.
But of course I know how to do this. I’ve delivered images to happy clients. No problem. So why did this seem intimidating? I suppose it’s partly the new, unfamiliar, on-demand format and the need to manage clients according to Snappr’s policies, not my own.
In the back of my head I know once I’m on site doing work for a client it will be second nature. Just like I knew somewhere in the dark recesses of my mind where my confidence had retreated to, that I know how to ride dirt.
Personal reality check
As much as I gain strength from reading others’ tales of fear-smashing success and internalizing good quotes that I can use as mantras, this month I found strength in my own experiences. Rereading some of my previous posts was a trip back in time to my title-matches with fear.
And when I remind myself what I’ve been through compared to what I’m facing now, I know fear can definitely piss off. These challenges are small beans in the big picture.
I’ve got this.
Adventure on, friends. Now go kick fear’s ass.
I don’t know which I like more…you on the trapeze or you at the podium. I’m so glad you are telling your story in front of an audience. They are better for it!! 🙂
Val Weston says
Aw, thanks Stevie! Cheers! 🙂