The Good Side of Fear
Yesterday, something exciting happened. My boyfriend and I got a brand new Jeep Rubicon, AKA our dream “Adventure Mobile.”
We had the itch for a sporty car for a while and talked about how fun it would be to take advantage of the beautiful outdoor scenery and endless trails that Colorado has to offer, in a vehicle that we weren’t afraid to get dirty.
No sooner than we pulled off the lot in our car did we have our first adventure planned.
The next day, we packed up lunch, grabbed our dogs, and hopped in the Jeep for an off roading adventure.
I had never been off roading before so we picked a trail that was rated as “beginner” located near Boulder, Colorado.
As soon as we hit the trailhead, I noticed there was still lots of snow on the ground and we were heading up a mountain with a steep drop off on one side (my side).
The cliff didn’t bother me at first, because the views were incredible. The air was clean and crisp and we were surrounded by the fresh scent of pine trees.
At first, the trail was pretty flat and simple with a few rocky bumps here and there. But as we continued, we started to notice more difficult terrain up ahead.
My boyfriend was at the wheel and I on the passenger side as we started into an icy and bumpy banked turn that had the car so tilted to the right that I felt like we were going to tip over!
As soon as the car started to tilt, I felt my body go from a relaxed and excited state to a full on panic mode.
Suddenly, I questioned everything and all I could think about was what would happen if we rolled down the cliff!
(inner me) What are we doing here? We don’t have any experience with this! Will we survive? I thought this was a beginner trail! I can’t do this. We are going to roll!
I wanted to get out of the car to escape and even asked my boyfriend to let me out in the middle of the turn so I could walk it. He laughed and reassured me that everything was fine. “The wheels still had great traction.”
Meanwhile, I had a death grip on the handle in front of me and my heart was beating out of my chest.
In that moment, I felt so powerless against the unknown and had zero control over the vehicle. I just had to let go and trust that we were going to be OK.
After 30 seconds or so, we rolled over the last bump and the car started to level back out on the trail smoothly. I couldn’t believe it! I was so relieved as my boyfriend and I cheered.
Getting through this experience reminded me of a quote that I read online once,
“Everything you want is on the other side of fear.”
I love this quote because I believe there is so much truth to it in life.
Think of what you’ve accomplished from playing it safe. Now think about what you’ve accomplished or overcome by doing something where you weren’t sure of the outcome.
The decisions I’m most proud of and that led to my greatest successes in life were always a bit scary to make, as there was never certainty that the outcomes would be favorable.
Moving away from my family and across the country for college
Taking out loans to go to graduate school
Quitting my stable job to pursue a health coaching career
Fear is a primitive human emotion and survival mechanism that occurs when we sense danger. When we confront a perceived threat, our body’s react physically with the “Fight-or-Flight response.”
While this built in evolutionary mechanism can be crucial to keep us safe, oftentimes it can be misleading when we have a similar response to non life-threatening situations.
Fear of change, for example, can elicit a Fight-or-Flight response. We all know however, that change can be a very, very positive thing!
Sometimes, life demands us to be courageous enough to confront fears that hold us back from experiencing new growth and life experiences.
If we allow ourselves to lean into our fears and approach them with curiosity and awareness, we may be able to determine if facing our fears is worth the risk.
The takeaway here is that sometimes it’s GOOD to embrace what we fear.