I Admit It, Fear is Still Scary…

On February 7th, 2022 an email arrived in my inbox from the NY Times titled, “I Admit It, I’m In Love with Fear” – it excited me and freaked me out. The NY Times was writing about FEAR! Ahhh! I wanted to read it and somehow I couldn’t bring myself to do it. Now I’m here writing, 1.5 months later, and I still haven’t read it. Not only did I not read it, but I also avoided writing a blog entry on my Facing Fear blog for exactly the same amount of time. What the fuck happened?

Allow me to explore, and as you are my witness I will have also read that NY Times article by the end of writing this. I believe the trajectory of my thoughts went something like this…

  • Oh shit! I LOVE that the NY Times is writing about fear.
  • I’ve gotta read this!
  • Did I miss the boat on becoming part of a larger conversation?
  • Why am I not writing about fear for the NY Times?
  • Who did write about fear for the NY Times?
  • Am I a failure for not being published in the NY Times?

Yeah, something like that. I had a lot of FEAR come up around not being exactly where I thought I should be and then I froze and avoided tapping into the conversation from exactly where I am. Thing is, I’m still wildly curious about what the article had to say… gimme a metaphorical five minutes while I go check out that article real quick. Thoughts to follow…

Well, what do you know? It was actually a series of articles based on three dozen interviews the NY Times did with Olympians competing in the Beijing Olympics this winter. I read a few of them and watched some of the excerpted interviews – and I HIGHLY recommend checking them out when you get a moment if you haven’t already. It was incredibly interesting to learn how these extreme athletes engage with fear. Freeskier Eileen Gu for example says,

 “Fear” is really an umbrella term for three distinct sensations: excitement, uncertainty, and pressure… Instead of ignoring fear, we build unique relationships with it by developing a profound sense of self-awareness and making deliberate risk assessments.”

Then there’s Millie Knight a Paralympic skier who has lost 95% of her sight – read: she’s skiing at 70 miles per hour with only 5% of her sight! Holy shit. It was incredible to read her story. Funny thing is, last weekend I went skiing for the very first time in my life. And only reading about Millie’s experience today, I was able to more fully appreciate how scary it is that she skis with only 5% of her sight, knowing how terrified I was doing it with most of my sight fully intact! The NY Times article has an interactive visual to show you what it’s like for Millie visually when she’s skiing for reference – and GULP she is VERY VERY BRAVE.

Swipe to check out the video below for footage of me on the slopes for the first time ever.

I’m going to break down my fear experience in relation to this NY Times article using freeskier Eileen Gu’s description of fear in the article…

  • First I got excited reading the article headline in my inbox, “I Admit It, I’m In Love With Fear”.
  • Then I felt uncertain how I’d feel after reading the article and whether or not I was in the place I should be in life.
  • Finally, I felt pressure to be someplace I’m not – creating an invisible external competitor when I was actually probably just visualizing where I want to go in the future.
  • As a result of avoiding reading the article and writing in my blog, then reflecting on it, I’ve developed a greater sense of self-awareness that I can apply to future such situations.
  • Next time, I can do a risk assessment and remember that by the end of this fear cycle I felt inspired and motivated to continue on my journey with facing fear.

In conclusion, it’s cool that I experienced fear, how I reacted to it is completely fine, and now that I’ve moved through the experience I feel more confident in myself. Let’s gooooo!

It’s March 2022 – and officially Spring now – have you pushed through fear recently this year? Pop a comment down below and let me know.

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