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Breaking Free from Fear

What is invisible and stops us from pursuing our dreams? Fear. Fear is one of those sneaky forces that infiltrates our dreams and keeps us from living our best life. I could talk for hours about fear, rational versus irrational and how it kept our ancestors from being eaten by wild animals so there is an evolutionary advantage, blah blah blah. We don't need that same level of fear in our lives today. Rational fear of real danger may keep us alive, but irrational fear keeps us from living.

Let me share a personal example how fear almost kept me from experiencing something super fun. I learned how to drive a manual transmission vehicle shortly after I got my license. It was a skill my mom wanted me to have. Starting the car, properly using the clutch - (DON'T BE A CLUTCH RIDER!) stopping on an incline without rolling backwards into the car behind you, when to shift gears up, down, etc. I learned on this 1978 Mazda Coup. Yes, it was a lovely lemon yellow. I didn't drive it regularly but did drive a few cars that were manual transmission over the years including a Ford Ranger truck that we sold right before Blaise was born.

Years and years later, my husband picked out my dream car for my 40th birthday. A 2017 Ford Mustang Convertible, California Special with many more bells and whistles than a 1978 Mazda - oh and it was a 6 speed manual transmission - ZOINKS!

And that is when it happened. Fear crept into my mind and I thought, 'What if I can't drive it?' It had been over 10 years since I had driven a stick shift and I almost rejected the gift because I was afraid.

Afraid of stalling out. Afraid of rolling backward while stopped on a hill. Afraid of looking like an idiot (the car is cool enough to offset the look of idiocy). Afraid of something but can't quite put my finger on it. Afraid of being afraid.

Now, if you are a fan of stick shifts you are likely laughing hysterically because today's stick shifts are waaaayyyy easier to drive than a stick from the 70s. So, yes. I drove it no problem and it now sits in my garage. I absolutely love it. It's fun to drive. We go out on drives as a family with the top down on beautiful days and have a great time. It's a fun memory of my birthday surprise and possibility for new adventures including a Route 66 road trip that has been on my bucket list for a while.

Fear stops so many people from living. Don't let this be you. Here is a trick to keep fear from sabotaging your dreams.

  1. Acknowledge that fear exists when it sneaks up on you

  2. Think about what you are losing if you give in to fear - can you live with that outcome? Remember, if nothing changes, nothing changes.

  3. Think about what you gain by acting in spite of fear - this is pay value. How great are you going to feel when you obliterate fear and uncover more possibility than you imagined?

  4. Take a deep breath and summon a few seconds of courage to take a step closer to your dream - I like to tell myself '1,2,3 - JUMP!' and then act quickly before I overthink.

Sometimes we have to do things scared. Think of it as a steroid for your soul. You act in spite of fear and keep acting and getting results, you will get stronger every day. If you give in, you could miss some of the best things life has to offer like the exhilarating experience of down shifting on a curve.

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