I get scared sometimes.
You know the fight-or-flight response thing? When I am scared, I freeze. Often, I stop breathing. In the most difficult circumstances, I shake uncontrollably.
I’ve done so many things that scare me anyway. From tiny things, like writing this post, the process during which I have frozen and stopped breathing a few times already, to circumstances where I have shaken uncontrollably and have had to pretend it wasn’t really happening, like when I went cliff jumping in Mexico.
I'm not entirely without caution. I know that after I finish writing this post, Gabriel is going to read it over to make sure it’s not too out there. I knew that after I jumped off the cliff, that the water would be deep enough for me to survive, because I saw other people do it first.
I didn’t write or jump because I knew it was safe, though. I did it because I didn't want to miss out on the chance to have the experience of a lifetime.
In the best of times, getting through fear is like dealing with bitter tasting medicine -- you deal with a little bit of unpleasantness if you think it’s going to be worth it in the end.
In the most difficult times, you have to go on autopilot. When your body is screaming to retreat, you'll have to push yourself into kind of an out-of-body experience. Compartmentalize the screams and summon another part of yourself to take another step forward. What matters is that you take one more step. Because if you can do it, you can take another...
And before you know it, it’s over. You’ve jumped off a cliff. You’ve walked through a wall. You’ve had the experience of a lifetime.
Being an entrepreneur is the experience of a lifetime. You will be scared, over and over again. You will have to choose your battles wisely. You will have to stand up for yourself when people are questioning everything that you do. You will have to believe in yourself more than you ever believe in your fears.
Fear is not a reason to stop. It is a reason to think.
So ask yourself: Does what I'm feeling make sense? What’s waiting at the other side if I fight through the fear? What’s at the other side if I run? Which is the path that I really want to take?
Yeah, I can be brave, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t get scared. I told you already, I’ve been scared while writing this post, which is ridiculous and we both know it. I’ve been so scared before that I've had to close my eyes to keep moving forward. I’ve been so scared that I want to cry and I can’t breathe, and I end up being too choked up to do either. It's tough.
That’s why it’s so important to know the right thing to do when fear enters the picture: Step back, analyze the situation, and take the time to figure out what’s really at stake. It might be worth the fight, and it might not. But you can’t let fear stop you before you start thinking critically.
I wouldn’t have this blog post in me if I hadn’t questioned the fear that froze me at the edge of that cliff. That was years ago. Do you think it was worth it to jump?
Gabriel and I are going to Dubai tomorrow. I always get a little scared before I travel because I am physically and psychologically sensitive. I think it will be worth it, though. How do you feel about travel really?