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5 Reasons to Do The Thing That Scares You Most

Are you looking for reasons to do the thing that scares you most?

Last week, I willingly put myself at the top of Mt. Katahdin, one of the highest mountains in the eastern US, with an elevation of 5267 feet. As I stood there on top of this pile of rocks and looked across at the mile long traverse called the Knife’s Edge that I was about to cross I thought to myself “There is no way I can do this.”

But I had to. There was no turning back. I had just slogged 4 miles up over 5 foot boulders and there was no way I was going back down those things.

So I took it one step at a time and managed to make it across in one piece.

How did I feel at the other side? Incredible!

Doing things that scare us can be daunting and, because we usually have a choice to turn back, we often do. But after doing something that scared me, something I had no choice but to do,  I realized that doing it changed my life in many ways.

And that is what I want to share with you today. How to change your life.

#1 – Do it to have some fun.

You know how you feel at the top of a roller coaster? You are strapped in and you have been slowly rising to the crest of the rails and there you sit for a moment. Anticipating. And scared as *%&$. And then you are off.

You soar down, over and around the rails, screaming and scared and oh so very exhilarated. Your adrenaline is pumping and your face is smiling. You feel very much alive.

And having fun!

I have a client who had always ridden behind her husband on their jet ski at the river. The prospect of driving it scared her and she was perfectly willing to be a passenger. After her divorce she decided to try things that had always scared her and that included driving the jet ski on her own. So she did.

And? You guessed it. She loved it. Her kids have to fight her for it every time they visit.

#2 – Do it to challenge your assumptions.

I never assumed that I couldn’t climb that mountain, which is why I put myself up there, but my client did assume that she couldn’t drive a jet ski. After she proved to herself that she could in fact drive it she started to question what other assumptions she had made about her life that were false.

My client had always questioned her ability to run her own business so she had never tried and had always worked for other people. At this point in her life she just didn’t want to do that anymore and wanted to go out on her own.

Because she started challenging her own assumptions she challenged the one that she couldn’t work for herself. Together we created and implemented a step-by-step plan to get her out of her office and into the world. Within a year she was running a health and wellness business out of her home and she was living the life of her dreams.

#3 – Do it to prove to yourself that you can do anything.

One of the things that happens to us over time, as we age and experience disappointment and regret, is that we lose the belief in ourselves that we can actually do things, big things or small. Because we have failed before we believe that we will always fail.

Doing something that scares you will prove this to not be true.

I have a client who wanted to move out of her dark, cramped apartment but she truly believed that she would NEVER be able to do so. She hired me to help her in this endeavor and, while she worked diligently to achieve that goal, we still had the conversation a few times a week about how she couldn’t pull it off. That it would actually kill her.

Fuess what? It didn’t actually kill her. She now has a new apartment which she purchased on her own that she loves. Accomplishing her goal allowed her to start believing in herself again.

Last weekend she was invited to spend the weekend with old high school friends who hadn’t seen each other in 20 years. As they each told the stories of their life my client froze up, as she always does in such situations, because she was ashamed of the story of her life.

And then, because she believed in herself for once, she unfroze and told these women her story. And it was wonderful. They listened and accepted her and loved her even more for doing so.

Wow!

#4 – Do it to conquer fear.

I have a client who read Jaws under her bed-covers with a flashlight at the age of 8. And then at 16 she saw the movie. Because of this my client lived with a debilitating fear of the water. She couldn’t go in the sea, a lake, a pond or sometimes even a pool out of fear of what might be in there that would nibble at her toes.

Living with this fear had had a big effect on her life. She and her family had traveled the world and she had missed out on many adventures because she had avoided the water. Her family had swum with dolphins in Mexico, kayaked with whales in Washington, snorkeled with sharks in Thailand and she had missed out on all of it.

One Christmas, while visiting the Caribbean, my client watched as her family ventured out on yet another snorkeling adventure without her. She would sit in the boat and take pictures. Again.

“Wait,” she thought. “Not this time.” And without thinking too hard about it she donned the snorkel gear and accompanied her children into the water. They stuck by her side for a few minutes but then she shooed them off because she was entranced by what she was seeing under the sea. Fishes! Beautiful fishes! And they weren’t biting her toes or menacing her in any way. How about that?

My client returned back home a changed woman. She had conquered THE biggest fear of her life. She set out to conquer others and she did and still does.

My client is always telling me that knowing she can conquer her fear has given her a freedom she never thought she would have in her life. How great is that?

#5 – Do it to change your life.

Okay, so you have had some fun, challenged your assumptions, reminded yourself that you can do anything and conquered your fears. What’s next? Do you think you are just going to back to your old way of life? One built on fear, indecision and insecurity.

Of course you aren’t. You are going to take your newfound skills and self-awareness and go out and change your stars.

Because my client decided to take the step to move out of her apartment her life has changed in so many ways. She had lived in fear so she never put herself out there to have fun. Now she plays in an orchestra, goes to church and has started to date. Because she assumed that she was unlovable she cut herself off from friends and family. Now she knows that she is very lovable and she is letting them all back in again. Because she proved to herself that she could actually do it when she set her mind to moving she has set her mind to the fact that she wants to be an accountant and will pursue that goal at all costs.

Did I mention that my client is 68 years old? She decided that she wasn’t going to live in her dark apartment anymore, set her mind to a change and ultimately changed her life.

If she can do it you can too!

Eleanor Roosevelt said “You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face…Do the thing that you think you cannot do.”

Do it today. Think of one thing that you think you can not do and get determined to do it. Figure out what you need to do to do it. Set a goal for when you will get it done. Tell someone you are going to do it. And then do it. Don’t TRY to do it. Do it.

It will change your life.

You can do it! I know you can.

Looking for other reasons to do the thing that scares you most? Contact me and I can help.

 

5 Things to Ask Yourself if You Aren’t Happy- Even If You Don’t See the Point

Being unhappy is horrible. It can take over your life and suck all that is good and joyful out of it. None of us want to be unhappy but many of us are.

One thing many of us don’t ask ourselves is why we are unhappy. We have a vague understanding that our lives are not what we hoped they would be but we don’t know specifically why.

In an effort to help you identify what specifically is making you unhappy I have five questions for you. Answer them in terms of your own life and you will get the answers you are looking for.

Here is my latest: 5 Things to Ask Yourself if You Aren’t Happy- Even If You Don’t See the Point.

#1 – Are you living in integrity?

All of us having internal guiding principles that are important to us, things like the importance of trust or honesty or loyalty. These guiding principles light our path to living our best life but unfortunately they can get lost as life happens.

Do you know what your guiding principles are and are your living them?

I have a client who was having an affair with a married man. He made her deliriously happy, or so she told herself. But still she didn’t feel good about her life and she didn’t know why.

I asked her what her guiding principles were – what was most important to her in a relationship?

After some thought and discussion she realized that the truth was of paramount importance to her. And that nothing about her relationship with the married man was based on truth.

“Are you able to live with that?” I asked. “And be happy?”

The answer was no and she soon moved on. On into a relationship that was based on truth and trust and she is happy.

#2 – Is your relationship making your heart sing?

Our romantic relationships are very important, more important than many of us recognize.

In this modern world we are told that we should be able to take care of ourselves and that to rely on another to bring us some happiness is a sign of weakness.

But this just simply is not true.

Happy committed relationships provide much that is essential to human survival: commitment, communication, touch, sharing, sex, support, laughter, joy, sex. When we have those things our lives are fuller, we are satisfied, we are loved. Other things can bring us down but the foundation of a good relationship help us when we founder.

Being in a relationship isn’t necessary for happiness but being in a relationship that is toxic puts you on the surest path to being unhappy.

I have a client whose husband was always one of two things: absent or drunk. She wasn’t sure which was worse – his not being in the house or being drunk when he was. What she did know was that it was making her miserable. She was always hoping that things would change but they never did. She was alone in her marriage.

And the rest of her life? It foundered. Her parenting suffered, she stopped eating well and exercising and gained 20 pounds, her work was neglected and her crabbiness made her friends stay away.

What did she do? After much deliberation and overcoming lots of fear, she asked him to stay absent and she is fighting her way back to herself, on the path to living the life of her dreams.

#3 – Do you make a difference in the world?

I know you are going to say that you just don’t have time to volunteer. How could I possibly ask you to do that?

I am not going to ask you to do that. Although if it appeals you should try it. Volunteering makes the world go round.

What I mean by making a difference is asking you how you interact with others in the world. Did you smile at the checkout person at the grocery store? Do you hold doors for other people? Do you refrain from giving the man who cut you off in his BMW the finger? Do you pick up trash that you see in the street?

All of these things contribute to the world in a small way and doing them will make your life a better place as well. The act of smiling at someone will actually make you and the person you smiled at happier. Holding doors for people makes them feel noticed and you made it happen. Not giving someone the finger will allow you not to feel the pain of remorse in the middle of the night. And picking up that trash will literally make the world a more beautiful place.

So make a difference in the world every day. It will make you happier. I promise.

Want to be happy? Let me help!

#4 – Do you feel healthy and strong?

You know when you go out on a long dock and it’s old and creaky and with each step you wonder if you are going to end up in the water? If you aren’t healthy and strong, like a good dock, you could find yourself drowning before you know it.

Taking care of yourself is the key to a foundation from which happiness can grow. Eat well, but don’t deprive yourself. Exercise, but only so it makes you feel good. Do one thing that makes you happy every day, like a massage or lunch with a friend. Find a life coach, to get the support that you need.

If you feel healthy and strong you will be able to take on whatever life throws at you.

Wouldn’t that feel great?

#5 – Do you challenge yourself?

I know that I have my routines. I get up, walk my dog, do some yoga, work all day, walk my dog again, do errands, have dinner, take a bath and go to bed. Pretty much every day.

As a life coach I know that while routines are good for keeping us on track it is essential to challenge ourselves. Challenging yourself will keep your brain going strong, keep you physically confident and get that adrenaline rushing.

What do I mean by being challenged? It can be anything.

When I got divorced I promised myself that I would start doing all of the things that scared me. I learned how to ride a jet ski (which was awesome), I conquered my fear of driving in the snow (which was convenient), I took up crossword puzzles (which has made me way smarter) and I can now use power tools. Even a drill.

It’s so hard to imagine now not being able to do those things. Doing them has given me so much more confidence in myself – not only that I can do them but that I challenged myself to overcome my fears and prevailed.

And did I mention that I was way smarter? That makes me happy.

So there you go. 5 Things to Ask Yourself if You Aren’t Happy.

Unhappiness to so many of us is just the status quo. We assume that this is the way life is and we just push through it. But it doesn’t have to be this way. Happiness IS possible.

Are you making choices that are feeling good? Are you feeling loved and supported in your relationship? Did you make someone smile today? Is your foundation strong? Did you do something recently that got your adrenaline pumping?

If not, choose one and make it happen.

Happiness is yours for the taking. Today.


Need more questions to help you find happiness?

Contact me here and I can help!