Last weekend, I went away to northern Virginia. My 2 and ½ hour ride led to me to a place in which I encountered a high ropes course. I had done a course like this before, but this one felt ominous. Still, I felt confident on the ground that I would be able to do it. Once I was up there, I started to feel unsure. It didn’t look safe.
My instructor fell to show us that no matter what happened the harnesses would hold us up. As the line began to move, I let other people go in front of me to deliberate my decision. When I was at the front of the line, I got strapped in, but I was still debating it. I even went so far as to start the course but as soon as my feet landed on the platform, it started shaking, and that’s when I turned around.
I have no shame, and I believe it’s perfectly okay to walk away from something that isn’t right for you. However, my uncertainty about the high ropes course kept me from exploring what could have been an exciting adventure. We do this all the time. We stay home instead of going out to meet people. We pick a path we’re familiar with and people we’re familiar with to stay comfortable.
Why do we do this?
We encounter fear in a number of ways – when it comes to our futures, when it comes to our decisions. I have put off so many decisions because I’ve been afraid of making the wrong choice. This period of anxiety and deliberation and intense pressure I put on myself was harmful. I still had to make these decisions. I still had to face these fears. Delaying them only prolonged my pain.
The same goes for us for whom fear keeps in our comfort zones. The longer you stay somewhere not growing, the easier it is to feel trapped and yet unable to do anything about being trapped because fear has carved out this painful place called the comfort zone. It’s just nice enough to stay even though you know you could have a better chance leaving and broadening your horizons.
Part of this is me just wishing I had done the ropes course.
I don’t want to be the person that always runs away when the ground is shaky and I’m uncertain of what will happen. I want to be brave. I want to follow through.
The other part is all the reminder that fear holds us back.
With all the decisions I had to make, each one turned out just fine. My life didn’t fall apart in a way that I couldn’t piece back together. We spend so much of our time focusing on the fear that we forget to move in love. When we center in on the things that bring us joy and move toward them despite our fear, we are creating a life that will flourish.
Whether you are stuck on a decision or you run when things are hard, you are missing out on the peace of knowing you’ve chosen the right thing and you miss the chance of discovering how bold you can be and most importantly, how far you can go. If I have another chance at a ropes course, I hope that I can leap into the uncertainty. And see what I’m made of.
Signing off, Gigi
What is uncertain in your life? How can you move forward in the face of fear?
Tell me in the comments below.