In college, I took on a challenge for a short while to do at least one things every day that scared me. The goal was to challenge the box of my comfort zone, and to experience life more fully than I had been so far. I learned that doing “something that scared me” didn’t mean that I had to do something dangerous or stupid, like climb the side of a tower. Fear doesn’t exist only at its most extreme level. Often, the scary task I took on was as simple as asking someone a question, or admitting that I do not know something people think I know or expect me to know.
One day, it was trying out a longboard. I have tried skateboarding on my own several times. Each time has been more advanced than the previous, but each time has ended in a very painful fall…, leaving me quite uninterested in the sport for at least a couple years. However, I have always wanted to learn to be comfortable with skateboarding. One day on campus, I was walking across one of the courtyards, and found myself watching someone longboard, and chatting with a couple people. The longboard guy offered for me to try it out. I was about to decline the offer, until I noticed that the reason was because I am afraid. And so, I told him about my current daily goal, that I was terrified of the longboard and why (also something that was scary to express, because being afraid of a skateboard is not something I am exactly proud of declaring), and then I asked if he could help with that fear.
His response was perfect. He was sweet and kind, and totally understanding. His attitude alone eased most of my fear. He gave me wonderful tips and advice for how to do the longboard, and even held onto me for a bit, so I could get the feel for it, before going at it alone. It was fabulous. Both the feelings of going beyond my fear and that of riding the longboard were spectacular, and I was incredibly grateful for the experience.
And I wouldn’t have had that experience if I hadn’t consciously taken on doing at least one thing every day that scared me. I haven’t been doing it daily anymore, but I make a real effort to notice when fear is stopping me in my daily life activities. Sometimes, I still do not succeed in doing that thing that scared me. Oftentimes, however, I find myself pulling through, and it almost always turns out wonderfully.
Today was one of those times, where I did something that really scared me, and which embarrassed me just a bit that I was scared of it. But I did it, and it turned out wonderfully… and it might get even better with time, too. Today’s was a good one. A really good one. 🙂
As my German teacher later quoted to us constantly, “Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.” (Neale Donald Walsch, I believe) It truly does. It truly does. 🙂