What’s your biggest fear? What’s holding you back from living life to the fullest?
From aged 5/6, I had a debilitating fear of drowning. The sight of swimming togs and deep water brought a raised heartbeat and sense of unholy panic.
Aged 14, my family moved to a coastal town. The exposure to the fear increased immeasurably. Summer days with my buddies (‘water babies’ all) ended with diving into the sea off the pier. I looked on in total avoidance from the safety of the pier.
The fear presented itself on holidays abroad too. The sight of deep-ended swimming pools would raise the internal panic alarm.
Then one summer Sunday in 2006, aged 24, I tackled the fear head on.
My football team decided on a swim off the pier after training. It was a particularly warm morning. I thought to myself, ‘ah for f*ck sake’ (excuse the expletive, it’s a literal recall of the thought).
See I was a captain of the football team that year, for one. There was another factor than ran much deeper. From aged 5/6 as well as a fear of drowning, I had a dream of being captain of a team and lifting a trophy in front of them, friend, family and fans.
The captaincy and the dream meant that morning, I jumped. I jumped with the greatest sense of fear and terror possessing my body that you could imagine.
And I emerged up the ladder of the pier wall along with everyone else.
I’ve written about this experience before however I feel I missed the biggest point of the experience until now. The true learning only struck me when delivering a session in Cologne this week on overcoming personal fears/blocks.
I was compelled to jump that morning not to conquer my fear. I was compelled to jump to follow a dream.
The real learning from that experience is that, if you have a goal that inspires and motivates you enough, it can be the catalyst to help you overcome any fears.
How can we draw on this experience to inspire ourselves? Answer these three questions (I’ve included the answers I would give if I was starting the journey above out again)?
- Where do you want to get to?
I want to lead a football team to win a title and to lift a trophy aloft on their behalf.
- What is motivating you to do this?
I’ve dreamed about this as a kid. I’ve played the moment out hundreds of times in my back garden.
- How are you going to make it happen?
I am going to work hard and do my best to overcome any fears and obstacles along the way.
May I ask you to do one thing? Commit to one action this week relating to these three questions. It might be to reflect on them for yourself. To pass them on to somebody.
The action will very possibly be a rewarding one.
It could be a life-changing one.
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