As I watch my six year old son from a distance, I see the fear on his little face. I know how it holds him back from experiencing some of life’s joys and that real sense of achievement you only really get when you overcome something difficult. He is on the outside looking in, assessing the risk, wanting to be on the inside but never having the courage. His fear can be crippling, it turns into panic and usually a refusal to take part. There is no way of getting through to him by this stage. He is scared, scared of being hurt, and he is not willing to take the risk. I tell him to be brave, have courage, and give it a go. My advice falls on deaf ears, he has already made his decision…..
I realise like many, I am not so good at taking my own advice and my fears extend much further than just a mere fear of being hurt physically. I think my biggest fears are of failure and rejection. We all want to succeed and feel accepted and our fears can hold us back from reaching our full potential and experiencing the real highs of happiness.
As a child I was brave and although I felt fear, I kept those feelings to myself, I hated to appear weak. Being scared never stopped me, I just pushed those feelings to the side and carried on. Gradually, in my early teens, my bravery disappeared. It seeped out of me without my knowledge, like a slow puncture that one day becomes a flat tyre seemingly out of nowhere. With my bravery went my confidence, my confidence in my own ability and the bravery to try things that scared me and challenged me.
I am now 38 and I want to be brave again, I want to have the confidence I once had, I want to feel like I am enough, capable of anything. Every time you step out of your comfort zone you are pushing yourself to be brave. Recently I have been brave and am still here to tell the tale. I put myself on the line, put myself in the face of rejection and failure and was happy with the outcome, in fact I feel lighter and a feeling I had carried around in the pit of my stomach for years seems to have vanished. I will admit I was scared, I felt sick and anxious but I did it anyway, I was brave.
Franklin D. Roosevelt famously said ‘the only thing we have to fear is fear itself’ so my challenge to you is to go out and do something brave, it can be small or life changing or something in between. Go for that job you’ve always wanted, talk to that person you have admired from afar, dye your hair pink, apologise because you are brave enough to admit you were wrong, do something that takes you out of your comfort zone. What’s the worse that can happen? You may fail, you may look silly, you might even get rejected but you will survive and guess what, you might just succeed and wouldn’t that be amazing.