The Other Side of Fear
I clearly remember learning to ride a bike.
My brother, who is seven years older than me, was kind enough to take the time to teach me.
He helped me push his worn out bike to the top of our long, gravel driveway. Once there he held the back of the seat to steady the wobbly death trap that I hadn’t learned to balance yet. I clinched the handle bars with both hands and set each foot on its respective pedal before peering straight ahead at what was clearly the equivalent of Evil Kanevil’s most daring jump. I yanked my hat down to my eyebrows to keep it from flying off at the upcoming death defying speeds and nodded to Johnny, as if he was opening the gate for a professional bull rider. Off I went, straight down the hill, swerving back and forth but maintaining balance. My speed was climbing quickly when I realized Johnny had forgotten to share one important aspect of bike riding: stopping. Of course, looking back I should’ve been able to figure that one out but I didn’t.
At the bottom of our driveway was our garage. There were two garage doors separated by a single one foot wide post in the middle. Both garage doors were pulled up and wide open, not that it mattered. I managed to direct all of my focus on that one foot middle section of the garage. This became my brake … at full speed. No skid marks for me.
Johnny, fearing a full-fledged beating from my mom, hurried down the driveway, scooped me up off the ground, and assured me that I was injury free. Embarrassed that I found a way to hit the only one foot area of our garage available, I did my best to pretend that nothing about the fall hurt. My brother was eager to show me that I was ok and urged me to give it another try.
I declined. I was ok, but I tapped out that day.
Why Should We Care?
As I grew up, one of my favorite things to do was to ride bikes with my friends. We would race, jump mulch piles, and see how fast we could ride down any hill we could find. Riding a bike was the source of many great memories in my childhood. Memories that I would’ve never experienced had I not been willing to check out the other side of fear.
I mean, a baby is afraid to try walking at first, but at no point in the falling process does she decide walking isn’t for her. She doesn’t know the other, safe option - stick with crawling.
Fear needs to be confronted. Excellence requires it.
Overcoming our fears is foundational to the pursuit of excellence.
It is our sole access to what might be.
Will you go for it?
That’s the question that your fear is constantly begging you to answer. Fear will provide excuses and help you rationalize all the reasons you can’t, shouldn’t, or won’t but you are the one that gets to answer the question - not fear.
The mere fact that so many others have been in similar situations, facing similar fears, and chosen to go for it is proof that it’s possible. Choosing to give in to those fears only limits our options and our potential.
REAL TALK - Action Steps
Those that consistently stare fear in the face and choose to continue moving forward have a common mindset and philosophy on life. Here are a few keys to help you become more willing to continue seeking the other side of fear.
The other side of fear is where all the good stuff is. It requires more of us, but provides more also. Choosing to travel through our fear not only propel us for future challenges, it also empowers those we lead to take the same risks.
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I'm a teacher, coach, and parent seeking excellence while defining success on my own terms.