What scares you?
How does that fear shape and impact your life?
What would your life be like if that fear did not play a role?
They say that at the end of life the biggest regrets are not what a person chose to do but rather what a person never did. The un-seized opportunities.
Can I tell you a personal story? Promise you won’t tell?
It was a dream of mine to complete yoga teacher training. Different people have different reasons that the yoga teacher training journey scares them. Often it has to do with speaking in front of a room full of people. Not me, that did not scare me. I am actually quite comfortable with public speaking. My biggest fear? Inversions. Going upside down. More specifically handstands.
I have had nightmares about handstands on more than one occasion. The nightmares actually began when I started yoga, I had dreams that I had to tell my yoga teacher that I could not, and would not do a handstand. I had a long list of reasons for this as well. What I considered legitimate physical reasons to fear doing handstands.
Well, thank goodness going to yoga classes I could easily get out of doing any sort of handstand. But I knew if I started on the journey of yoga teacher training I would have a much harder time avoiding this one. Often in teacher trainings there is a weekend full of inversions. My training was no different.
I had a choice. I could opt out with my list of seemingly legitimate reasons or I could face the thing I feared the most. HAND STANDS. Not only did I choose to face my overwhelming fear and do a handstand that day. But I went on to do a handstand everyday for the last month of my yoga teacher training.
What a scary, exhilarating, and rewarding experience to everyday choose to do the thing that scared me the most. And if I could do the thing that scared me the most, what else was I capable of? The options seemed endless.
What is that thing for you? What is it that scares you the most? What would happen if every single day you pushed yourself a little bit further outside of your comfort zone? Maybe its talking to someone new. Maybe its applying to that new job. Or sharing your thoughts even when it runs contrary to the popular opinion.
The more I did handstands the less they scared me. Not only is this my personal experience, it is what the research tells us. When we do things slightly outside of our comfort zone, our comfort zone expands, and then we do something slightly outside of our comfort zone and it expands again. So what is that next step for you? Not something that is so far out of your comfort zone that it paralyzes you but rather something just uncomfortable enough that you will be forced to grow.
P.S. Full disclosure – as I write this I am taking a step back in time and listening to Dashboard Confessionals song “The Place you have come to fear the most” Because that just seemed fitting :)
Theresa Leskowat MS LPC is a Licensed Professional Counselor in Charlotte, NC. She specializes in helping individuals face their fears and manage anxiety.