To move forward in life, you need to face fears big and small.
Fear is a natural, powerful, and primitive human emotion, and it involves a universal biochemical response and a high individual emotional response. Fear alerts us to the presence of danger or the threat of harm, whether that danger is physical or psychological.
Over the years, I have made friends with fear. Do we get along? Not all the time, but we learn to work together.
Fear comes in many forms for me. Not many know that I am incredibly uncomfortable going out, especially in large gatherings (before Covid was even a thing); standing in front of a camera or people to talk riddles my fear. Being in love scares me, going for a swim, standing on a platform lifting a kettlebell, even success scares me. The funny thing is I don't fear failure; I own it and my mistakes.
I hide my fears so well sometimes that when people find out, they are shocked as they see me as this strong, confident human being, not realising the strength it takes to face my fears every day.
Karate taught me how to hide my fears. When you fight, your opponent can sense your fear and eat you alive in the ring. In my days of competing karate and boxing, competitors would say I intimidated them. The look I get on my face is of sheer internal terror, not the determination and calmness that they believe it to be.
So why did I decide to make friends with fear?
I was fortunate that a life event made me face fears head-on to start living and not just exist on this earth. I say fortunate because this experience changed the course of my life.
The power pole experience!
My souls worst nightmare
Those that have done it know just how confronting this is.
You climb a 10m power pole to a small platform where you have to pull yourself up. Once you are up there, that thing will shake along with the nerves running through your veins. The tough part! Trust and jump out to catch the bar hanging just out of your reach, it's not that far away, but when you look at it, you convince yourself it is way too far to catch.
After two pegs, I was ready to tap out yelling, get me the f*** down, crying uncontrollably. Something that happened at that moment changed my world forever. I can't explain what made me get up that pole, but I remember a calmness that came over me. It was like fear was on my side, talking me up. When I jumped, the scream that came out of me was blood-curdling; something left me. I was instantly lighter, as though the weight of the world had just left my body. Everyone stood in shock at what they had just witnessed, no one could explain, but they all knew that moment was powerful.
All I knew was whatever happened. I wanted more of that. That liberation after confronting and conquering fear is intoxicating. Has that fear of heights and letting go gone? No, it is still there, but it doesn't end there like any goal or achievement. You need to respect fear and continually work at it because fear will come back with a vengeance when you least expect it.
The Flow factor
Trapeze is a fantastic apparatus for learning about yourself and dealing with your fears, just like the power pole but on a larger scale. It certainly brings you into the now where nothing else matters.
Every time I go, I find more pieces of the puzzle connecting with fear. It has been two years since I've been able to trapeze, and boy, did I need it! My mental state has challenged me over the past three months, not finding my way out; not even kettlebells have been able to clear out the cobwebs.
I realised on going back just how powerful flow is in everything I do, and nothing else matters in those moments of flow; you are always in the now, you become weightless to the world around you. That skinny ladder to platform constantly challenges me, but I know there is a lesson to be had every time I climb it.
If you think of anything else from what you need to do up there, the flow doesn't happen, and the outcome becomes harder to achieve; you end up fighting the whole way against resistance.
Two hours with fear cleared my head to the point of pure Happiness; fear and I were mates again. Having the courage to face a fear gives you Freedom, and the chains of hopelessness no longer bind you.
My purpose in life is to help people find ways to face their fears to be their own Brave. To do that, you have to meet your fears and show others that you are vulnerable, just like everyone else.
In the year of the Tiger, it is the perfect time to work on fears. Tiger symbolises strength, exorcising evils, and braveness.
What fear will you be brave to face?
Life tells us we can't,
We tell ourselves we can't.
Believe in yourself.
Be your own #BRAVE
This is where you will find
Courage, Freedom, Happiness
Be the Change
Be your own Brave