You know what makes me angry, people who don’t curb their dogs. Believe you me, I don’t have anything against dogs or their owners. Dogs are wonderful companions. Many a pooch has passed through my life at one time or another. In fact, at one point we had 4 of them at home, all running around and causing havoc. No, what gets me mad is dog poop.
Yes, you got it, dog poop. And not just dog poop, but dog poop that is in the middle of the sidewalk. You know the kind, dog poop that you have to dance around or jump over in order to get to the curb without stepping into it. I get even angrier if I’m not looking down and step right into a pile of dog poop. Oh yes that has happened to me. Why don’t people just curb their dogs as the sign says, and — because it is the law.
Unrealistic fear, like dog poop, gets me real angry. That’s why I wrote the book Kick Fear to the Curb: 5 Action Steps for a Courageous You. Fear used to get in my way of doing the things I wanted to do and you know what, that made me angry, so angry that I decided to do something about it.
In her book, Anger: The Misunderstood Emotion, Carol Tavris explains that fear and anger aren’t that different. She says that “any event that is unfamiliar, intrusive and compelling – and that potentially requires you to respond – will stimulate the production of adrenaline, and, to a varying extent, noradrenalin as well.” What differs, she informs us, is each individual’s reaction and behavior.
I don’t know about you, but stepping in a pile of dog poop is very intrusive and so is living a life filled with unrealistic fear. Poop and unrealistic fear need to be curbed, out of your way of moving forward.
Why did I choose the curb as the place where unrealistic fear should eventually end up? The curb is an edge built along the street to form a gutter. It’s a raised edge that is meant to confine or strengthen the sidewalk. The gutter is recessed underneath the curb.
Anything that gets to the curb will eventually end up in the gutter.
There are so many of us that allow fear to be the center of attention in our life experiences. Every time you’re ready to do something, be it great or small, here comes unrealistic fear. First, it triggers your memory to search for a similar, long ago experience. Then, it forces you to dwell on the bad feelings that took place with that situation. Next, it uses those same emotions to put doubt and fear in your mind. Before you know it you are hesitant, reluctant to take that chance of feeling that way again. But, this should not be how you react.
Just like bypassing that dog poop, with unrealistic fear you have to take action. Do everything possible not to allow it to throw you off your path. Move around it, jump over it, dance if you must, just don’t let it stop you from moving forward. For me, I put unrealistic fear where it belongs — below, not above; underneath, not on top.
You should be the one looking down and gloating at fear, not the other way around.
So, if you are ready for a change and unrealistic fear is blocking your way, kick fear now and keep on stepping right into the life you always dreamed of living.
“We can aid each other in the independent visions God has given us, but we each as individuals have our own mountain to climb, our own journeys, and our own accountability to God.”
Tonia Renee Lee, Live Inspired, Not Bound!
Well it’s that time of year again. The end of the old year and the start of a new one. Resolutions, goals, changes, risks, moves, plans, and the list goes on. In other words, this is the time of the year that we look back at what we have done, how far we have come, and use what we see to look ahead and move forward. Yes, this is a good time. There is a lot of excitement, much celebration and a great deal of chatter. 2013 has gone and 2014 is here.
How are your bucket lists going? Thanks to Dana Sitar you should all be on your way to creating some great ones, especially those of you who are busy blogging, writing a book, or tweeting your hearts out. Many of you have come real far in your journey of kicking unrealistic fear from your lives and I am really excited about that. By writing down your goals, dreams, aspirations, or bucket lists, you have something to focus on when unrealistic fear tries to stop you from doing all those things you know that you can do.
I extremely excited for my friend the Fly Away American. If you haven’t stopped by her blog please do. Now that’s a lady who has kicked fear, moved to more than one new country, and is having fun sharing her journey with us. Go Jessica! I can’t wait to hear about your journeys in 2014.
Mustard Seed Budget continues to keep me grounded as does my friend over at the Better Man Projects. Courage begins from within and whether it is starting a new ministry, business, or project, doing it with little or nothing is not always easy. The key is to continue on and believe in yourself. With patience, determination, and some staying power you will succeed.
As for those stumbling blocks that come to distract us from our journey, they have to be dealt with. The past few months have been rough for me. I was stressed to the max, overloaded, and bursting at the seams. I am the first to admit I was tempted to throw in the towel, but that thought did not stick around for long. I stopped, rested, and reassessed. The stumbling block is now a small hurdle that I will get over.
So, I am in for the penny and in for the pound. A new year is ahead and I am ready to take whatever 2014 brings. What about you? Are you ready for 2014? I hope you will stick around as together, we KICK FEAR TO THE CURB, NOW!
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“I have spent my whole life scared. Frightened of things that could happen, might happen, might not happen. Fifty years I spent like that. Finding myself awake at 3 in the morning. But you know what? Ever since my diagnosis, I sleep just fine. And I came to realize it’s that fear that’s the worst of it. That’s the real enemy. So get up. Get out in the real world. And you kick that bastard as hard as you can right in the teeth.” – Walter White, Breaking Bad
September and the first part of October has found me at that anticlimactic stage where I have finished a project, but the overwhelming feeling of joy and satisfaction at having completed something significant, to me at least, just hasn’t arrived. The years of research and writing, proofing and editing, honing and fine-tuning has ended. I don’t know how many hands it has gone through, nor the amount of eyes that have reviewed and scrutinized, constructively criticized and painstakingly commented. It just feels like a lot. I’ve cut and omitted, put down and picked up, wrote and re-wrote, taken out and put back in. Finally, with much coaxing and persuading, I realized it was time to let my baby go.
Writing my first book, Kick Fear to the Curb: 5 Action Steps for a Courageous You, was no easy task. Nevertheless, it was a goal I set and I was not going to stop until I had accomplished it. It was a labor of love from me to my audience. It was a topic that needed to be addressed because too many of us have allowed unrealistic fear to stop us from living life — a full, rich, successful life.
In a world that is filled with so much fear, doubt, and uncertainty about the future, it is easy to become discouraged. Yet, we need courage to live this life. Furthermore, that courage has to be built up and constantly maintained. This is why I wrote the book, to encourage you to take action, even if only small steps. Fear should not be hovering over your life, holding you back from stepping into your desired future. It’s time to put unrealistic fear right where it belongs, under your feet.
During the time of writing the book that will get you to Kick Fear Now, I learned a new language, traveled to exotic places, met new people, developed friendships, climbed several mountains, earned a Masters degree in Emergency Management and more than anything else, learned how to harness the power I have within me to keep unrealistic fear where it rightly belongs. In other words, I found courage to be me.
Now, my mission is to get this book into your hands so that you can find the courage to be you, the vibrant, fearless, courageous you. If I can encourage you to stop being discouraged and allow your courage to propel you into the unknown then my mission will be accomplished.
I want you to Kick Fear and I will help you to do it – NOW.
What started out as a bucket list item turned out to be another learning experience on this journey of self-discovery. I thought I was going to hike up a mountain for 4 days and arrive at my goal tired with muscles hurting, but exhilarated at knowing that I had “done it!” This was my plan. Alas, as many of you know, even the best laid plan has a way of changing course on you.
Lesson Learned: Preparation is the best tool when trying to accomplish any goal, but despite the amount of preparation and training you do sometimes your plan, or plans, will change.
It will be difficult, but there comes a time when you realize Plan A is not working, so it is better to move on to Plan B. On my hike up the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, Peru, altitude sickness got the better of me and my carefully made plans were slowly falling away. Here, in a nutshell, is what happened.
The first day and a half of climbing was fine. We moved at a steady pace up the first section past Piskakucho and when we reached camp at Wayllabamba some 2980 meters above sea level the altitude was almost bearable. I say almost, because when I arrived at the camp I immediately proceeded to vomit up everything I had eaten that day. When nothing else would come up I stood up straight only to find my head spinning like a whirlpool. I did not realize it yet, but I was experiencing my first bout of altitude sickness. I felt that after I had some hot tea and a good night’s sleep all that would be over.
Lesson Learned: Always be Prepared for Any Outcome
I woke up the next morning feeling less than 40%, but decided that I would be alright. A cup of tea, some quinoa porridge, and I could press on. My stomach was still queasy. My eyes were bloodshot, but I was okay. I was ready to take whatever day two had to give me. Big mistake!
Things did go well, for a while that is. I did move at a slower pace than most. The hike got steeper and my breathing became more labored, still on I went. My lungs felt as if it was trying to break free of my chest. My heart was racing fast and furious. The thud, thudding grew louder in my ears with each agonizing step that I took. All I kept asking myself was, “What is going on?” “Why do I feel this way?”
Lesson Learned: Regardless of how many people are in the group or on the team, you are still responsible for your own actions.
Our guide, Vlad, hung back with me. Patiently, he coaxed and cajoled, trying to make me feel good. Nevertheless, I could see in his face that he knew I was struggling. His years of taking groups up and down the Inca Trail allowed him to assess the situation very quickly. The altitude was taking its toll on me and I would not be able to tackle the next leg of the journey. It was far too steep and the air would get much thinner.
Lesson Learned: There is more than one way to accomplish any endeavor you aspire to attain. Your real challenge is to be flexible and open to what might happen along the way.
It was an agonizing time but I had to make a choice. I could continue on, moving slower and in more pain, or I could turn around, somewhat defeated, and go back down. The hike down would also be slow and painful, but the pain would be to my ego, not my heart and lungs.
I sat down on a big stone and suddenly the tears began to pour. Tears for the pain I felt in my chest and the fact that I was finding it so hard to breathe. Tears of grief because I knew I had to make a decision there and then whether to labor on or turn back. Tears of relief because I knew that once the choice was made it would be the right choice.
Lesson Learned: You do not have any idea how small and insignificant you are in this great big world until you stand facing a mountain or are surrounded by a range of mountains.
As I walked down the mountain with just the guide and porter accompanying me, I had a deeper revelation of what my purpose in life is. The journey was not about succeeding. Instead it was a journey of inspiration, motivation and exchange. I was able to spend time with people I had never met before who touched my life in such a special way. I was allowed to hear some of the dreams, desires and aspirations of several of them, as well as get to know them on a more personal level. All because half way up the mountain my plans changed.
Lesson Learned: Fear stems through everything that we do.
If we allow unrealistic fear to remain long after the perceived danger has passed, then we are allowing something that was only a short-term challenge stop us from moving forward in our lives.
Lesson Learned: It’s not about me, it’s about you.
My purpose is to give practical help to people who want to overcome the unrealistic fear or fears that stop them from accomplishing the goals and dreams that will lead to a successful future. If you are one of those people who want to Kick Fear Now, then you’ve arrived at the right place.
I know that most of you would not even think about doing such a thing as climbing a mountain. Nevertheless, you can step out of your comfort zone by doing one thing that you have never done before. Even better, do one thing that you have always wanted to do but unrealistic fear has prevented you from doing it.
This is what I did in the early part of July. Wanting to step out of my comfort zone, I undertook the exciting venture of hiking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu in Peru. According to the itinerary supplied by G Adventures, the tour group I went with, the 4-day hike is “physically challenging but worthwhile.” It was also “within the ability of most reasonably fit.”
Well, I like to class myself as physically fit, plus I enjoy hiking up and down hills and mountains. So off I ventured, knowing that I was quite fit and able to endure to the very end. Boy was I wrong.
Climbing or, in my case, hiking a mountain is a challenge. Your expectations at the beginning of the journey are often immense. The adrenaline is flowing and you feel you can conquer anything. It is as you continue to ascent up, and the way gets steeper, that you realize how small and insignificant you are in comparison to the big, beautiful mountain you think you can conquer.
You learn a lot when you climb a mountain. You learn even more if you are unable to finish and have to come down defeated. That’s right I did not finish the 4-day hike. In fact, due to a number of things, including altitude sickness, I came back down on the second day. Needless to say I was not too thrilled, but I had accomplished an extraordinary goal and it not only lifted my confidence and boosted my self-esteem, but it let me know that change is possible if you give it a chance.
So, I am back and I’m here to let you know that you can eliminate unrealistic fear from your life. You can Kick Fear Now by taking one action step after another. That’s what I have been trying to do myself and it is what I am encouraging each one of you to do for yourself, even if you only accomplish one small action at a time. Yes, there will be setbacks along the way but it does not mean you give up. Instead, you just find another way to complete your goal.
One of the things I learned from my climb up the Inca Trail is that you can’t go up a mountain and not come down without a revelation. For many people it is a spiritual revelation, for others, a physical or mental revelation. The fact is the journey is yours. When you begin, only you know what you want to accomplish. Your experience is yours alone. Your revelation will open your eyes to the person you really are capable of being.
Removing unrealistic fear from your life is much like hiking a mountain. Conquering it begins with taking the first step. So find your mountain today, whatever your unrealistic fear is, and walk out of your comfort zone. You may be in for a big surprise.