Wednesday, March 14, 2012


Fear.  Most people talk about it as if it's a bad thing.  I don't quite agree.  Sure, being SO afraid of something that you don't do it is a problem.  But fear itself, I think, is a great thing. 

A few years ago, I was climbing and rappelling on a rock wall in West Virginia.  Before we started, the instructor looked around and asked who was afraid.  Then he asked who wasn't afraid.  He said "you guys are the ones I'm worried about.  You should be scared."  It basically summed up my feelings.  There is nothing wrong with being afraid, and in most cases, it is healthy to be afraid.  It means you're thinking through the risks and the consequences.  Fear is good.  But only if you don't let that fear win. 

If you compare a list of the most memorable, life changing, happy moments in my life, almost all of them will also fall into the list of the scariest times.  Climbing Mt. Rainier?  Terrifying.  Committing to run twelve half marathons when you haven't even run one?  Oh yeah, I was scared.  Hitting 137 mph in a racecar?  Scary leading up to it, awesome during.  Getting to the starting line of my first half marathon, and then eventually my first full marathon just 8 or so months later?  My heart was racing even before I started running! 

But those events all have something huge in common.  They shaped me into the person I am today, and I don't regret a single one of them.  In fact, I know I'm much stronger and much happier because of all those experiences.  When I was really struggling cognitively after my concussion, my fear was so great that it prevented me from healing.  That's the kind of fear I try to avoid, and I hope next time something scary happens I learn to accept the fear without letting it take over the situation. 

This fall, I will be heading off to business school to get my MBA.  I have been accepted into a few programs and am still trying to decide what the best option for me is next year.  Was I terrified when I applied, and am I scared of all the changes that I will face in the next few months?  Absolutely.  But there isn't a second where I think about not going because I'm scared.  Scary situations often change your life for the better.

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