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Face Your Fear

Death once wrote a letter to a distant country about his intention of coming to take ten specific but undisclosed people on a particular date. On receiving the letter, the country was thrown into commotion and everybody became terrified. The anxiety gives a lot of people high blood pressure that thousands lost their life before death arrival. On his arrival, he was queried that he only wrote to take ten people but has taken thousands before his appointed date. Shock by that remark, death exclaimed, I didn’t take them! Fear does. Moreover, my decision to take ten people was just a false alarm. I never intended to take anybody. I was only coming for a courtesy visit. Moral of the story: Many of life failures always start with the fear of not wanting to fail. Even one of the wealthiest man (Job) in the bible once remarked “The things I fear most has come upon me.”

The common meaning often given to fear is False Evidence Appearing Real” or “FantasizedExperience Appearing Real.” Mark Twain once said “I have lived a long life and had many troubles, most of which never happened.”  As you move forward in your journey from where you are to where you want to be, you are going to have to confront fear. Fear is natural. Jeff Arch who wrote the screenplay of sleepless in Seattle once said, “I think one of the secrets to my success is that I’m willing to be terrified, and I think a lot of people are not willing to be scared to death. And that’s why they don’t achieve the big dream.

There are those who wait endlessly, passionately, zealously for opportunities to come to them, they keep looking forward to the day their dream job would come, they are afraid of going after their dream, their purpose, their passion because they are afraid to fail. They are uncertain about the outcome, they are afraid to be rejected or ridiculed. Les Brown once said that so many people’s life is just defined by this single sentence “They raise a family, they make a living and then they die.”

The best thing that could happen to so many people is to be disappointed. Stop the negative assumptions and go after your dream. The universe has enough, to give you anything you demand, that is if only you dare to go get it.

Soichiro Honda was interviewed for a job as an engineer at Toyota Motor Corporation, but was turned down. Honda was jobless and desperate. Out of desperation, and disappointment Honda took a risk and created Honda Company in 1948. The company grew afterward to become an empire, now in great competition with Toyota. In the journey of success we all need that moment of desperation and disappointments to ask ourselves “Then what next?”

Brian Acton and Jan Koum the founders of Whatsapp were also once rejected at Facebook and Twitter for a job, their moment of disappointment and desperation led to the writing of the Whatsapp program, only few years afterward their program was bought by Facebook for almost $16billion. Bill Gate failed in his first business before founding Microsoft. No business or endeavours magically succeeds overnight.  The story of Aron Ralston should motivate anyone in facing their fear. As highlighted by Wiki;

On April 26, 2003, Aron Ralston was hiking through Blue John Canyon, in eastern Wayne County, Utah, just south of the Horseshoe Canyon unit of Canyonlands National Park. While he was descending a slot canyon, a suspended boulder, which became dislodged while he was climbing down from it in the canyon, crushed his right hand against the canyon wall. Ralston had not informed anyone of his hiking plans, so no one would have been searching for him.

Assuming that he would die, he spent five days slowly sipping his small amount of remaining water, approximately 350 ml (12 imp fl oz) and slowly eating his small amount of food, two burritos, while trying to extricate his arm. His efforts were futile as he could not free his arm from the 800 lb (360 kg) chockstone. After three days of trying to lift and break the boulder, the dehydrated and delirious Ralston prepared to amputate his trapped right arm at a point on the mid-forearm, in order to escape. He experimented with tourniquets and made some exploratory superficial cuts to his forearm in the first few days. On the fourth day he realized that in order to free his arm he would have to cut through the bones in it, but the tools he had available were insufficient to do so.

When he ran out of food and water on the fifth day, he was forced to drink his own unrine. He carved his name, date of birth and presumed date of death into the sandstone canyon wall, and videotaped his last goodbyes to his family. He did not expect to survive the night. After waking at dawn the following day (Thursday, May 1) he had an epiphany that he could break his radius and ulna bones using torque against his trapped arm. He did so, then performed the amputation, which took about one hour with his multi-tool, which included a dull two-inch knife. He never named the manufacturer of the tool he used, other than to say it was not a Leatherman but “what you’d get if you bought a $15 flashlight and got a free multi use tool”.

After freeing himself, Ralston still had to get back to his truck. He climbed out of the slot canyon in which he had been trapped, rappelled down a 65-foot (20 m) sheer wall one-handed, then hiked out of the canyon in the hot midday sun. He was 8 miles (13 km) from his vehicle, and had no phone. However, while hiking out of the canyon, he encountered a family on vacation from the Netherlands, Eric and Monique Meijer and their son Andy, who gave him Oreos and water and then hurried to alert the authorities. Ralston had feared he would bleed to death; he lost 40 pounds (18 kg), including 25% of his blood volume. The rescuers searching for Ralston, alerted by his family that he was missing, had narrowed the search down to Canyonlands and flew by in their helicopter. He was rescued six hours after amputating his arm.

Ralston has said that if he had amputated his arm earlier, he would have bled to death before being found, while if he had not done it he would have been found dead in the slot canyon days later. He believed he was looking forward to the amputation and the freedom it would give.

Later, his severed hand and forearm were retrieved from under the boulder by park authorities. According to television presenter Tom Brokaw, it took 13 men, a winch and a hydraulic jack to move the boulder so that Ralston’s arm could be removed. His arm was then cremated and the ashes given to Ralston. He returned to the accident scene with Tom Brokaw and a camera crew six months later on his 28th birthday to film a Dateline NBC special about the accident and to scatter the ashes of his arm where he said they belong.

You cannot play it safe and expect to be successful. Pain is temporal, but if you quit it will last forever. Don’t let comfort steal your dream, don’t let a high paying job steal your dream either, provided that is not your dream. Google, Microsoft, AOL, Viacom, MySpace and Yahoo proposed buying Facebook when the social network was still at the building stage, because they could see ahead of time the potential of what it could become. But all to no avail.  If you don’t realize your potentials and greatness that lies in you, whosoever sees it for you might buy you cheap.

In his book, “The School of Money” Olumide Emmanuel describes the man with the golden handcuff as this; he is the highest paid employee, but he’s still an employee. Though he won the rat race yet he’s still a rat. He lived the whole of his life on paid job but he never found his own purpose of living. He died an employee and he never had the time to give his own vision a consideration. He’s handcuffed but no big deal, it’s a golden cuff.

Distractions are there to determine how bad you want something. Eric Thomas once said “If you really want to succeed as bad as you want to breathe, then you will truly be successful.” It is easy to complain about the bad economy, the high rate of unemployment, corrupt political leaders and recession. It is easy to point fingers, to make excuses as to why you are not doing something. The truth is, if you cannot change the direction of the wind adjust yourself. Paul Hogan once said .The secret to my success is that I bit off more than I could chew and chewed more as fast as I could. It is all up to you.

Most of our fears are self imposed and self created. Imagination of negative outcomes, we frighten ourselves by fantasizing negative outcomes to any activity we might pursue or experience. So the question is how can we overcome fear? Make a list of the things you are afraid to do and write next to it why you are afraid to do them. Take a look at your reasons carefully. You will discover all of them are just your own assumptions.

Ask yourself, what is the worst that could happen if I do this? Try and focus on the sensation, relief, self-confidence and joy that would come afterward facingwhat you are afraid to do. Remind yourself that “it is those very things that you are most afraid to do that provide the greatest liberation and growth for you”. John F. Kennedy once said “Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly.” Face the fear and do it anyway.

Adèle McLay
Adèle McLay is a high performance coach and business growth coach. She helps people to achieve the success they desire in their businesses, work and lives. Adèle is also an entrepreneur, inspiring professional speaker and teacher, as well as an author.


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