You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You must do the thing which you think you cannot do. Eleanor Roosevelt
I have always been moved (and motivated) by this quote by Eleanor Roosevelt. And this quote was much on my mind last week when I had the opportunity to go waterskiing for the first time in over ten years! And in the salt water no less! I had learned to waterski in a lake when I was a child, then didn’t do much after I was in my twenties. I think I’ve been twice in the last 30 years. When I had mentioned early last week to a friend who owns a boat and often water ski’s , that in my 50th year, I had on my list to water ski again, he called me on Sunday (a beautiful day) and said, “this is the day-get ready”.
I was excited, but also VERY nervous and scared. While this was really something I wanted to do, all of the sudden, my stomach got a bit tight, my palms started to feel a bit sweaty, I got a very serious look on my face, according to my eight year old, and I started to think of all the things that might happen if I actually tried it. I might really hurt myself, an old knee injury might reappear, my back hadn’t been so great recently, I might get tripped up on a lobster pot. I wear contact lenses and had to take them out in case I took a big spill and that made me feel even more vulnerable.
The negative-worse-case-scenario-thinking went on and on and on…. This is how many of us react when we come face to face with our fears, even when it’s something we really want, or know is best for us. Whether it’s deciding to finally quit our corporate job and start our own business, or making that fifth sales call on a potentially big client who’s turned you down four previous times, or maybe it’s asking for help on how to become a better leader for our organization, or finally realizing in order to grow your business, you need to ask for some support and guidance to help you finally make the move.
In my experience of coaching clients for over ten years, have found that most fear comes from the fear of failure: loss of income, job, relationship, self-esteem, confidence etc. As I sat on the boat contemplating whether I was actually going to water ski, I thought about all the big, hairy audacious goals I had asked of my clients, requesting they face their fears, take action and make the huge strides in their businesses and personal lives that they wanted. My job is asking people to do the thing they fear the most…because you know you’re onto something really good when you get to people’s fears. So there I was standing on the dock, wondering if I should get in the boat, or give up my water skiing notion.
I decided to use the Greek’s “burn the boats” theory, when the Greek’s came ashore for a battle, they burned their boats upon arrival, so they would be stranded on the island and it insured their confidence in winning the battle. I left my contact lenses ashore, donned my wetsuit and life jacket and jumped in the boat where we headed out beyond the lobster pots, jumped in the water with my skis on with my kids shouting, “Mama, just say, ‘I think I can, I think I can’ and you will.” I jumped in the water and got up on the first try. It was exhilarating! We made one big loop then I motioned to take me in, where I dropped the rope. That’s when I thought of one of my other favorite quotes:
“Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage” Anais Nin
Where can you expand your life? What fears can you make friends with today, in order to gain strength, courage and confidence? Remember, you must do the thing you fear the most… If this particular post resonates with you and you would like help and support in creating a plan of action for your business or personal life, please feel free to contact me at 207.767.2634 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.