Facing your fears can lead to some wonderful and unexpected outcomes, and it is definitely a muscle I advise you to flex as often as you are prompted to.
Doing something scary is not always fun. In fact, sometimes it’s downright terrifying. Who remembers the first day of starting a new school? Who can recall the first day of a new job? How about the first date with your longtime crush? We have all walked through these moments in our life and have come out on the other side, right? Well, what happens when we are done with school, we’ve been working at our job for a decade and we either married that same crush or someone else? Life can get pretty comfortable. It’s exactly when we get a little too cozy in our recliners that it’s time to start doing something every day that scares us.
“But I like my comfortable life!” I hear you say. Hey friends, I’m with you, I like comfort too. That’s why I don’t own a pair of stilettos, I refuse to do CrossFit (I honestly just really dislike it), and I have never had a job where I have to travel for work. All of those things just sound way outside my level of comfort (or desire, for that matter). Believe me, I love being comfortable. But comfortable can get stagnant. And stagnation can lead to a dis-ease in our lives. Stirring up the waters within is not only good for each and every one of us: it’s necessary for our human growth and development. Why is it necessary? Well, I’m so glad you asked:
1. Facing Your Fear Builds Character
Remember reading about all of the heroes in our history books? Did any of them become heroes by doing what was comfortable? By sitting back and watching life pass them by? No way! They were courageous and they stepped WAY out of their comfort zones to do life-changing things. And doing so built tremendous character. We should always strive to have thick-as-nails character because it’s when character is built that powerful change can occur. And in many cases, it can be change that has a positive ripple effect on many.
2. Facing Your Fear Flexes Your Inner Strength Muscle
Doing something scary is like going to the internal boxing studio and working out like Sylvester Stallone in Rocky. When we take on an intimidating challenge in life, we are showing others (and ourselves) that we have strength that comes from something more than muscle and fascia. And let’s face it, life is not always a walk in the park, so why not be prepared for those troubling times by exercising our inner strength often. It would be like knowing you are about to cycle across Europe but have never learned how to ride. We need to be prepared for whatever life gives us.
3. Facing Your Fear Gives You Faith
For me, doing something that gives me butterflies in my belly strengthens my faith. But you may be wondering, “What is faith anyway?” Faith is defined as, “Complete trust or confidence in someone or something.” Couldn’t we all use a little faith in this day and age? With all the unknowns that are happening right before our eyes, might you sleep better at night knowing that there is a greater event at play? Knowing that someone or something already knows the ending? I also have my faith strengthened when I walk through my fear because on the other side of that fear, I feel completely supported. I may not feel that immediately, but soon after, I feel like I am swinging in the hammock of my life with deeply-rooted trees on either side holding me up and keeping me from falling.
4. Facing Your Fear Forces You to Grow
Walking through something scary reminds me of a baby chick as it’s about to hatch. If you’ve ever witnessed this, it is pretty remarkable to watch such a weak and feeble creature break through a thick, hard shell. That’s what happens when we do things that scare us. We cannot help but grow and evolve from stepping out of our comfortable lifestyles and into the unknown. I find that it’s often in the unknown that we grow the most.
5. Facing Your Fear Opens Doors For New Opportunities
The more we practice being uncomfortable in life (instead of kicking back in the La-Z-Boy), the more we see potential in many areas of our lives. When we learn a new skill set or go after a job that we don’t think we are qualified for or sign up for a race we never thought we’d finish, we see that our life is full of opportunity. How good does it feel when you cross the finish line of a race you didn’t think you could complete? I remember when I ran my first half marathon and after my feet stepped across that finish line, my first thought was, “What else can I do? If I can achieve this, what’s next?” It’s a powerful way to break out of the limiting beliefs we have about what we are capable of and what we can achieve.
6. Facing Your Fear Makes the Impossible Possible
Piggybacking on the point above, oftentimes doing something that terrifies us makes impossible situations seem not only possible, but achievable. And the wonderfully addicting outcome of that is once we know we are capable of great things, we start opening our eyes to even bigger, farther reaching goals, aspirations and dreams. Why not? If we could do one thing that freaked us out, how many more possibilities are out there if we keep walking through the doors of fear and the unknown?
7. Facing Your Fear Deepens Your Relationships
Relationships, just like our lives, can become stagnant if we get too comfortable. I’m not saying that we need to be creating chaos in experiences with loved ones, but I am saying that we need to do scary things in our relationships in order for them to continue growing deeper, more meaningful and let’s face it, more honest. I have had to walk through some very scary and uncomfortable times with some of my most precious relationships. I didn’t know how the conversations and interactions would go and where our relationship would end up on the other side of those times. But looking back, it was the only way to grow and deepen those relationships. It was the only way to right the wrongs of dishonesty, betrayal and hurt. It wasn’t easy and it definitely was not fun, but on the other side of those scary and unknown times are always growth and meaning. Always.
I encourage you to think about what might be holding you back in your life because of the fear of doing something that scares you. You are on the brink of major change and transformation. It is waiting on the other side of the door of fear. I say, it’s time to open it and see how your life changes for the better.