I recently attended a business event and encountered an acquaintance that I have not spent significant time with for many years. We caught up on kids and life fairly quickly and she inquired about my business adventure. Somewhere in our talk she mentioned she wished she was wired like me….” to take chances and actually seek opportunities to be challenged and scared.” Our conversation ended for the obligatory mix and mingle duty but her words echoed in my mind. What I never had the opportunity to express is that the majority of us are not wired to chase fear but some attempt to grow this ability everyday.
I spent the majority of my 20’s and 30’s as a “lane stayer”. A planner. A perfectionist. A worrier. ..and worst of all rarely volunteered to do anything that I believed may have led me down the inevitable trail of even a modicum of failure or appearing inadequate. As you can imagine, limited some( a lot )of life opportunities and was utterly, completely exhausting. Through a series of very fortunate events, fate offered me a way to change and I (begrudgingly at times) grabbed on and took it.
Through study, choosing growth choices, lightening up old control patterns and a ton of support, guidance and patience of family and friends, I gradually changed. I adopted life practices to support my change that kept me mostly together as I journeyed through the strange new territory…. of being outrightly, gasp, human. My 20 plus year nursing brain grasping to the proven science written in front of me when things were really hard. It was what convinced me to (and keeps me) meditating. I learned my brain would and could change. Not matter your age, yours can too.
Combining mindfulness with the practice of completing intentional challenging behaviors altered my thinking habits from one of a woman who most often worried about the future and highly valued the status quo, to one who could just BE in the only real life guarantee. The Present. Petrified or not.
So in the last few years when I find myself comfortable and smooth sailing, I seek out and choose a risky scary goal. Because now I am kind of hooked on this exposure therapy for my brain thing. Sometimes I complain to my husband ”Why did I get myself into this?” I am shaking in my boots because let’s face it ,evolution has not caught up to the reality that public speaking or starting a new job is NOT the same as being chased by a Maine Black Bear.
Even if inevitable less than perfect outcome occurs (more common than not) I tried. I learned. I have not died, contrary to what my beating heart , racing thoughts , shaking knees and dry mouth has tried so valiantly to convince me. It gets easier. It will for you too. Just try. Intentionally. Try. Deep Breath. Act. Lean into Fear… or Bear.
You will be amazed what worries you can conquer.
If you feel you could use some guidance, from a Fear or Bear Hunter…I gotcha.