October challenge: Do one thing that scares you

I am fond of saying,

It’s often the things that scare us most that matter most.

Whether it’s starting a new relationship or leaving an old one, changing your job or exploring a completely new career path, speaking what is truly on your mind to the people who need to hear it most, or simply taking that one small step outside your comfort zone, we as humans fear change, and that fear often stops us from growing in ways that would (in hindsight) absolutely astound us.

This fear is a stealthy protection mechanism, designed to shield us from hurt, pain, vulnerability, rejection, failure, etc.  But it’s heavy, this fear, and the longer we sit under it, the more crushing it becomes.

I’ve learned, over time, that the anxieties associated with doing something important — apprehensive questions such as “Can I handle it?” “Will I survive financially?” “Will my friends still like me afterwards?” “What if I fail?” — and my own imagined answers — are usually much worse than the act of doing the thing itself.  Better yet, acting on a long-held but often-dismissed dream or desire leaves me feeling lighter, lifted, energized and more empowered about my life direction than ever before.

And so I challenge you, in October, to do one thing that truly scares you.  Small or large, you decide, but swallow your fear and step forward.

As the naturalist John Burroughs said,

Leap, and the net will appear.

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