And The Trouble Is If You Don’t Risk Anything You Risk More. Are You Fearless in the Pursuit of What Sets Your Soul on Fire?
“Find out who you are and be that person. That’s what your soul was put on this earth to be. Find that truth, live that truth, and everything else will come.’
What scares you? I’m not talking creepy dark attics, snakes or spiders. I mean what is that “thing” in front of you, that hurdle that is stopping you from moving forward? What is the “thing” that causes a pit in your stomach and palms to be sweaty? Is it something physical that you are scared to overcome? Is it a voice in your head…that little whisper telling you, you are not good or strong enough, or that everyone else is doing it too? What is the obstacle that is holding you back?
Mark Twain said, “Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear – not the absence of fear.” If you don’t risk anything, by not facing up to your fear, you risk more. Playing it safe is where your dreams go to die. What are you doing to prevent that? How are you being fearless, personally or professionally, in the pursuit of what sets your soul on fire?
Almost two years ago we bought a silver soft-top, 4-door JK Jeep Wrangler Freedom Edition, appropriately named “Oscar.” For a couple of summers, we’ve enjoyed taking the top/ doors off, to locally tool around the city. When it’s humid and hot outside, there’s nothing like having windy jeep hair for a fun carefree feeling. Our entire family loves it!
And then, with a bit of well-intended peer pressure and influence from a couple of fellow-jeep-family friends, we got serious. We went from carefree and fun around town to backwoods, dirty trails, big rocks, steep inclines, and a whole lot of mud. We became “real jeepers.” Granted we’ve only been to two weekend events but we are hooked!
As much as we love our FWD vehicle, transitioning to off-roading did not just occur instantly. There was a conversion period to ensure our jeep was safe, had the right, required equipment, and was prepared for back-road versus main street only, driving. Some jeeps are doctored up to only be off-road while ours is compliant for both types of driving. During this transition process we’ve gotten new tires, added hefty metal front and rear bumpers, a 4-inch lift, attached metal side-bars, installed a winch, invested in an antennae and CB, as well as affixing other required safety tools and necessary apparatus.
Our maiden voyage weekend was a huge learning experience. The day before we hit the trails we lined up for inspection with 125 other jeeps. Our vehicle was scrutinized from top to bottom. There were rules to follow, and equipment and safety check-lists to pass. The trail guides, also inspection guides, were there for guidance and help to ensure that all involved were compliant. The goal was not about being reckless and impulsive, but rather about being prepared and having the right people on hand to make it an enjoyable and safe weekend for all involved.
After the inspection we had the option to sign up for the trails we wanted to travel on, based on jeep equipment consent and varying types of difficulty. Every trail and situation was different. Our personal goal was to be on the same trails as the other families we were there with. Every aspect about the weekend was a group and teamwork effort.
Go Time! There was a sense of anticipation and excitement in the air on that rainy dark Friday morning at 7:00 am. We lined up in between our guides, the first and last in line, to hit the trails which had been carved out the day before. Everyone aired-down their tires and adjusted their CB’s to the same station for consistent communication, and off we went!
Our initial trail started off with a bunch of boulders in a dried up creek bed. We dove right in and truly learned (all about) what our jeep was built to do. With the kids in the back seat, my husband and I took turns driving. It was fun, but also nerve-racking. Looking at the big obstacles and wondering how to maneuver over, under, and around was to say at the very least, intimidating. But the trail guides were on hand, coaching everyone through, to negotiate the hard sections.
On that first weekend the most memorable trail I encountered made me feel invigorated and completely fearful at the same time. I recall that looking down at the almost vertical drop in the trail, that then wound around the mountain base and back up to a vertical incline with a straight drop off the right side, in a foot or more of mud…made my heart drop. I had a pit in my stomach, my palms were sweaty, and yet I also felt exhilarated. I said, “Game on. Let’s do this!” And I did. I slid down, I drove back up and then right next to the vertical drop off the side of the mountain, I fish-tailed, became completely stuck in the mud and had to be winched out.
Upon completion of that obstacle, I felt a high like I’d never felt before. On that trail, the fear was always there. But rather than give in to the fear, play it safe and let intimidation win, I resisted. I realized there was this dare-devil side of me that came out that weekend. It was from trying something new that was outside my comfort zone. I was completely surprised by how something I was initially fearful of, in the end was so incredibly elating. Ultimately, the thrill won over the fear.
“Don’t limit yourself. Many people limit themselves to what they think they can do. You can go as far as your mind lets you. What you believe, remember, you can achieve.”
-Mary Kay Ash
Obstacles on the trail can be looked at as roadblocks, things to be scared of that prohibit you from moving forward. They can also be looked at as opportunities, or things that push you to be fearless, and enable progress. As there is fear on the trail, there is also fear in life. Your personal mindset can make or break you. It can make a difference in your ability to grow and develop, it can also hold you back.
In the sense of my individual experiences and how I feel, I can relate what I am doing professionally by starting my own business as comparable to off-road-jeeping. What’s the correlation? I didn’t just dive in. There was a transition and conversion period. There is constant, consistent on-going communication in all forms, with my clients, network and support system. I needed proper tools, equipment, skills and knowledge.
And while I knew that this business venture ultimately is what I wanted to be doing. I could not do it alone and have had to rely on others to help me get the job done. I didn’t know what I didn’t know, so I hired a Business Coach, a Content Brand Catalyst, and not one but two web designers, all of whom have helped to guide me, the right way. Additionally, almost every aspect about my business involves a group or team effort – my husband and family, my friends, my female sisterhood and of course, my broader network that I interact with. And when the going gets tough, through the good and bad, they are always there to help winch me out of a “muddy situation.”
There are continuous, almost daily obstacles to overcome. There is constant fear that shows itself in various forms: Fear of failure thoughts of, “am I good enough to do the job?” because it’s me out on my own representing my name and my company. Fear of public speaking because even though I’ve had to do it off/ on for years for work, and have been able to mask my aversion, it is something I’ve never fully enjoyed or embraced with confidence. There is the fear of not making enough money to keep my business going. And the list goes on…
There is also frequent exhilaration. Overcoming obstacles that were new to me. (And all of this has been new to me!) Acquiring new clients. Having people reach out because of something they’ve read on social media, my website or from a referral. Successfully booking and conducting speaking engagements and afterward having someone come up and say, “it is nice to know that I am not alone, that other women feel this way too.” It is the exhilaration after the fear that forces me to be courageous to keep pushing forward.
These are the things that get me fired up! Clients, referrals and yes, even public speaking because that is how the messages I am passionate about unfold and transpire. It’s all about empowering women both personally and professionally to move the obstacle, abandon their box and embrace their change curve. It’s spotlighting awareness about rivalry between women in the working environment, and how to dismantle it one action at a time. It’s about collaboration over competition.
How does your courage show up? Anything worth having or fighting for, will always contain an aspect of fear or the unknown. I’d like to think that I will view all of my life obstacles similarly to how I am learning to navigate barriers on the jeep trail -- with fearless determination. But in all honesty, I know that is not always true because things will always vary by situation and circumstance. I do however know, the feelings of accomplishment and achievement and the triumph of, “I can do it!” I have the knowledge personally and professionally of what it feels like to overcome big challenges and be successful. And by the way, that dare-devil side of me, she’s in there now and she’s not going away!
Are you struggling with fear, challenges or set-backs that are prohibiting you from moving forward? You are who you choose to be. I can help you with that. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.