Sometimes the fear won’t go away, so you’ll have to do it afraid

This photo of the Harakiri Run was taken in Mayrhofen, Austria in 2016

In 2016 we went skiing in Mayrhofen (Austria) with a group of friends. Although I have been skiing since I was six years old my skiing skills were finally put to a serious test: the Harakiri Run. With a grade of up to 78 percent, you can get shivers by just looking at the slope. For those of you who might not know it yet, Hara-kiri is a Japanese suicide ritual reserved for the samurai class. The name already creates a good anticipation of how it feels to go down this slope ;-)

In order to not ruin our holiday, if we were to fall or break down various body parts on day one, we saved the Harakiri Run for our last day. As the days were passing I knew we were coming closer to our challenge.

In preparation and anticipation, we watched some videos on YouTube and read a few statistics of how many people have gotten panic attacks, broken body parts or even died on the slope. I definitely wouldn’t recommend this to you as motivation!

Finally, it was the last day of our holiday. In the morning while I was browsing through meaningless stuff on Facebook I accidentally came across the following image:

Source: Google images

What a great insight.

By postponing doing something or waiting until you are ready for it, you might never get to achieve your goals and dreams.

This quote has definitely influenced my life since. Not only did I successfully go down the Harakiri Run that day but I have also used it as a motivation in many other occasions.

Whether it is the fear of heights, deep water, insects, bugs, quitting a toxic job, moving to another country, getting married, having a baby or simply expressing our ideas I bet many of us have experienced the paralyzing feeling that stands in the way of achieving our dreams.

Throughout the years, I have developed my own recipe for overcoming fear. I know I have a very modest life experience but who knows, it might work for you, too.

#1 Recognize fear

Jaggi Vasudev, often referred to as Sadhguru, is an Indian yogi and a spiritual leader who describes the basis of fear as an unrealistic perception of life. Fear is all in our minds, it’s an imagination and not a reality. We are worrying about something that has not happened yet and might not happen at all.

My way of recognizing fear is to watch out for thoughts such as:

What if I fail?
What if I get hurt?
What if I get rejected?
What will other people think?

The moment you find yourself doubting or restraining to act, just focus on your thoughts. As soon as you realize it is fear that is holding you back, you can at least decide to do something about it.

#2 Act within 5 seconds

If you haven’t watched it yet, I strongly recommend you the TEDxSF talk of Mel Robbins on “How to stop screwing yourself over”. It is definitely one of my favorites.

Mel basically warns us that “if you get an impulse to do something and not marry with the idea with an action within 5 seconds, you will pull the emergency brake and kill the idea.”

I don’t know about you but I can totally relate to Mel’s insight. I have had various moments in my life when I have really wanted to speak up or do something that wouldn’t have been typical for me, but I haven’t. Well, I can tell you for sure that I still remember these few moments and I regret the fact that I haven’t acted when I have had the chance to do so. As we cannot change the past, I have at least learned my lesson and I do my best not to miss any future opportunities.

So, next time you get an impulse or an idea, no matter how far out of your comfort zone you need to get, act upon it within 5 seconds!

#3 Transform fear into excitement

The unknown will always be scary and even frightening. When you engage in a new challenge there will always be fear. Instead of focusing on the fear and all the negative consequences your imagination can possibly come up with, transform your fear into excitement. Envision the end result:

Imagine how it will feel to have accomplished your goal
Feel the satisfaction and fulfillment of overcoming your fear

Believe me, I was full of fear when I hit the ‘Publish’ button with my first article. Well, you wouldn’t be reading this one if “my desire to succeed was not greater than my fear of failure” (a quote by Bill Cosby).

How about you?

What are you afraid of?
Why are you so afraid of it?
What is the worst thing that can happen?
Would you have regrets if you don’t do it?

Remember that whatever recipe you follow sometimes the fear won’t go away and you’ll simply have to do it afraid!

On a final note I would like to leave you with the following quote by Mark Twain:

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did.
So, throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails.
Explore. Dream. Discover.”
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