Tag Archives: habit

How to Do Anything That Scares You

This summer a friend called and asked if my son and I wanted to join her family with some other friends on a whitewater river FUN-yaking tour.

Some people step out of their comfort zone when they give a presentation or take a business risk. For me, it happens taking any serious (and my definition of serious has an admittedly low bar) physical adventure. But, really how difficult can a river trip called, “FUN-yaking” be? Feel the fear and do it anyway, right!

So yay, I pictured a lazy river ride like this:

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And said, “We are in?!”

On the day of our fun adventure, I started to feel a little worried when we arrived at the site, and there were helmet and life vest fittings involved. But this again, makes perfect sense. They were a reputable company, right? So safety first and of course, liability issues and all. (Do I even know how to kayak?)

Then the nice lady in charge began her safety presentation…including techniques on breaking free if we got stuck on a rock (or I should say I, because you run solo on a fun-yak just you and the beautiful frickin’ river).

She mentioned that you were not to get out of your kayak (where’s the fun prefix?) under any circumstances. It was when she explained how to keep still on your back with arms and legs up when if you flipped over to avoid getting trapped between two rocks and drowning that I was convinced we were headed for this:

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And that is pretty much the picture (slight hyperbole), I carried for the bus ride to the launch site and I continued feeling panicked worried until we boarded our fun-yaks and started paddling.

As it turned out, the conditions weren’t quite a river of glass, but were obviously not even close to the Class 5 rapids I was anticipating. A good work out with some fun and easy waves. I did (like everyone) get stuck on a few rock because the water was low in spots, but I used the graceless shimmy technique I learned during the safety lesson (or got help from another fun-yaker) and was on my way. Everyone had a blast and I was all in for trying one of the whitewater rafting trips (Class 3 and 4) that they also run on the river.

My fun-yaking experience reminds me of what happens when we pursue big, meaningful work or take other life risks that take us out of our comfort zone. Going for it always seems like a great idea to start. Then when it is time to take action, fear sets in and you imagine overwhelming and insurmountable circumstances (most of the time not supported by fact). But if you take action, you find it’s almost always scariest before you start. Though you may hit obstacles, you figure it out and use what you know (or get help) to move toward your goal (of getting out of the fun-yak as quickly as possible – kidding.)

Take 5

What’s the easiest way to pursue a dream that scares you? It’s usually scariest before you start, so start taking small actions as soon as you can. 

Is there a dream you would like to pursue, but feels overwhelming? Identify one small action you can take toward it today.

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