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How to confront something you're scared of

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How to confront something you're scared of

Penny Younger

I’m currently on the ferry on the way home from work, and I’m going past the Sydney harbour bridge; it’s 6pm and verging on sunset.

There are so many groups of people up on the harbour bridge doing the harbour bridge climb, almost more than I’ve seen on a sunny day.

This has got me thinking. These people are blatantly up there to see the sunset, which is spectacular tonight by the way.

Why, though? Other than the amazing colours and the photos, I feel like sunsets draw us in. As do sunrises (if you're game enough).

Why?

These things bring a sense of natural order.

They are a certainty.

They are something we can trust and rely on to always be constant and stable.

The cycles of nature are something we can put our trust into.

The sun comes up, the sun goes down.

The tide comes in, and it goes out.

There is a new moon, and then a full moon.

The natural rhythms of our earth give us a sense of stability to come back to.

I’m currently reading the Desire Map by Danielle La Porte, and in it, she talks about something similar. She talks about trust, and building it within yourself; learning to trust what is true, and leaning into that for stability and as courage, when we are out of our comfort zone.

I recently did my first paid motivational speaking gig, and I felt very pulled to not prepare a speech; instead, to just get clear on the few points I wanted to convey and trust that the right words and stories would tie my message together.

I felt very at peace with this approach, until the morning of my talk.

On that morning, I tried to act calm, but on the inside I was in a bit of a panic.

And the thing about lying to yourself, is that you are fully aware of the truth.

I was trying to distract myself with house work, pretending I wasn’t nervous, all the while I’m feeling my heart in a little flatter and my tummy in a knot.

“What if I have a mind blank? What if I look like an actual idiot, in front of 150 people?”

So I took Danielle’s advice from the chapter I was reading, and I got a little real.

I sat in front of the mirror, and had an honest pep talk with myself about trusting in my own abilities based on things I know to be true.

This is how it went:

“I trust that the sun will rise tomorrow. I trust a full moon will happen this month. I trust that the tide will come in. I trust that the stars in the sky will be there tonight.”

I trusted these things, so I went a little further.

“I trust in my partner’s love for me. I trust in my ability to connect with people. I trust I’ve been brought to this audience for a reason.”

I felt a little more at ease. So I got honest with myself, looking into my own eyes in the mirror.

“I’m nervous. I’m scared my mind will go blank. I’m scared of getting on stage and having none of the people pay attention to me. I’m scared my stories won’t tie together. I’m scared I’ll ramble and make no sense.”

Already, I’m feeling more open, because I’m no longer trying to suppress my crap. I’m breathing into it, and looking at it face to face.

“I’m scared, but I know I’m ready. I’m born to do this. Every time I’ve ever been put on the spot with a friend who is upset, I’ve opened my heart and the right words have come out. I trust the same will happen in my talk, just like I trust the sun to rise tomorrow. How? Because I’m gifted. Connecting with people and communicating are my gifts and I’m going to go out there with my heart open and I’m going to be amazing.”

All of a sudden, I wasn’t scared as much as I was trusting, and I got fired up to just get on with it.

When you find yourself in a moment of doubt, or anxiety or fear about moving ahead with something, be real with yourself about it.

If it’s hard to trust in your abilities, then start by expressing your trust for things you are certain about.

Declare what you know to be true, and work your way inward from there.

Then, go further.

Be honest about how much of a wreck you feel inside but dammit you’re going to put one foot in front of the other anyway.

Why?

Because you were born to do this.

You were born to be brave, and to stand out and to grit your teeth, then take that leap of faith.

We all get nervous and unsure of ourselves. But let’s make those things our friend.

Let’s look those feelings in the eye, grab their hand’s, and then step out into our light with them alongside us.