You know those ubiquitous Lululemon bags? I’m sure you’ve seen them – they’re full of motivational sayings and tidbits on what you should do to stay in good shape both physically and mentally. The phrase “do one thing every day that scares you” has always stood out to me from that sea of uplifting messages. I think it’s because at first it’s easy to dismiss this idea as a crazy one. Why would I want to do something that makes me feel afraid and uncomfortable? That certainly doesn’t sound like it would be good for my well-being.
And yet, when I ponder it again, I realize that some of the most amazing things I’ve done in my life have scared the crap out of me. I remember crying on the phone to Zevi as I waited in the Toronto airport for my flight to Iceland eight years ago, terrified that I would spend six weeks feeling incredibly homesick. I wiped my tears away and got on that plane, and had a completely life-changing and heart-expanding experience. I could barely breathe as I got on the phone with Craig Norris to guest host on CBC Radio 3, and came away feeling an even stronger connection to an amazing community. A very tiny part of my subconscious hoped that something would happen to derail our trip to South America so that I wouldn’t have to face the terrifying decision to quit my job and come back to uncertainty, but those three months enriched my life and my relationship with Zevi in a way that makes them impossible to regret.
Fear doesn’t just rear it’s head when it comes time to take a huge leap. It’s there every day – that little voice that says that maybe I shouldn’t put myself out there or try something new. It’s that little voice that tells me that it would be easier to just stay home, to stay within the confines of my comfort zone. I find myself pushing past that voice all the time, and I know I’m so much better for it.
When I feel that clutching in my heart that whispers at me to hold back, I give it a nod and a smile, because I know that it means that I’m doing something right. I’m doing something that will expand my horizons and ultimately leaving me feeling alive. Fear is a tough adversary, and it’s beaten me on more than one occasion, but if history is any indication it’s is also a good friend.