How difficult is it to overcome fear? I remember the first time I jumped off a three-meter diving board. I was five, and my parents had just joined a swim club. When it came to swimming, I was a natural. It was a cinch for me to dive off the side of the pool and the one-meter board, but the three-meter board was a different story. Suffice it to say that the thought of jumping off scared me out of my mind. Since then I’ve had many opportunities to overcome fear.
Overcome fear and live life fully.
One day, after being goaded by the pool bully, I decided to take the plunge and overcome fear. With determination, I climbed up the steps and slowly made my way to the end of the board. I stood there for what seemed like forever, looking down into the deep end of the pool frozen with fear. Soon, everyone was watching and shouting encouragement. Jump! You can do it! Go on!
I remained frozen in place, kids in line behind me growing impatient. Come on, Jan, you can do it. Just close your eyes and go…or we’re going to push you off! The threat of being pushed was the motivation I needed. I closed my eyes, took a deep breath, and jumped into the void, ultimately surfacing to smiling faces and the applause of the head lifeguard.
That jump marked my first major childhood accomplishment–along with the knowledge that it was really possible to overcome debilitating fear. After that, I joined the dive team and won many a ribbon at summer swim meets.
I realize that there have been times throughout my life when fear has stopped me from asking for what I want, saying what’s on my mind, or doing something that was potentially dangerous. Now that I’m of a certain age, much of the fear has dissipated. It’s mostly due to a what’s-the-worst-that-could-happen attitude, coupled with the underlying belief that Mick Jagger was right. Most of us get what we need.
Take a moment to do some soul searching to see what it is that you really need. More hugs? Some adventure? Romance? A vacation? Laughter? Time with your best friend? A good book? Once you figure out what it is, consider taking the plunge and going after it.
Do whatever it takes to get moving in the direction that just might fulfill that need. You truly have nothing to lose, and it beats sitting around and waiting for something to happen. You have the tools within you to facilitate change, so why not use them? All is takes is some serious determination, a deep breath, and the willingness to jump.
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