Rooms 226-246: Try A Month Of Bravery
“According to most studies, people's number one fear is public speaking. Number two is death. Death is number two? Does that sound right? This means to the average person, if you go to a funeral, you're better off in the casket than doing the eulogy.”
Let’s face it. We’re all full of it. Excuses that is. All those tiny little reasons we can’t or won’t pursue the dreams we desperately want.
“I have no energy, time, or money. I’m too old, too young, too inexperienced. My husband doesn’t support me. My kids need me. My friends will laugh. I don’t have the right skills, talents, personality, or looks. It’s too hard.”
Too this. Too that. It’s always something, isn’t it?
And, unfortunately, with every excuse we make, we only reinforce the things we don’t think we have, which weakens us to the point where our excuses become a self-fulfilling reality.
Of course, most times these excuses are just the whines of larger issues. We’re either lazy and don’t want to do the work, or we’re sheep and don’t want to stand out and be different. Combine all the reasons and you’ll find an even larger issue. We’re afraid.
It doesn’t take a psychologist to see that fear keeps the excuses flowing. Like a giant tranquilizer, fear keeps us lazy, sedated, and comfortable. It also keeps us deluded enough to think we’re happy the way we are.
Mostly, fear prevents us from moving into other rooms. It keeps us from adventure, awareness and living the life we deserve.
As Mahatma Gandhi said, “The enemy is fear. We think it is hate; but, it is fear.”
Well, today, we fight back. No longer will we let our fears run our lives. No longer will we let our excuses limit our potential. Today, we walk boldly into rooms we never thought possible.
Rooms 226-246: Try A Month Of Bravery
“A man that flies from his fear may find that he has only taken a shortcut to meet it.”
I’m not sure what our phobias say about us. Just how someone comes to be an arachibutyrophobiac is beyond me, which, of course, is the fear of peanut butter sticking to the roof of the mouth, which is probably as unlikely as the automatonophobiac, or the fear of ventriloquist's dummies or wax statues.
I guess there is a fear for everybody.
And not just your fear of death, spiders, speaking, dentists or heights. I’m talking fear of loud noises, leprosy, string, Bolsheviks, gravity, toads, slime, bats, chins, and knees. In fact, a list of fears could literally go on forever, which is horrible news for the apeirophobiac, or those who fear infinity.
Of course, with so many fears, it’s hard to know where to begin, or which fear to face. Maybe we don’t need to know. Maybe we just need to conquer the larger fear, our fear of the unknown, or our fear of pain, sorrow, or disappointment; or fear of loneliness, ridicule, rejection or failure.
I mean that pretty much covers everything, right?
And it doesn’t matter your age, sex, or nationality, or how rich or poor you are, we all face those same fears at one time or another.
So, just how will we conquer our fears anyway? Do we need to bathe ourselves in spiders, while sitting in the dark, contemplating our own funeral? Do we need to revisit our childhood, walk across coals, spend time on a therapists couch? Well, personally, I am for anything that brings health and movement to our lives. And for each person, it’s going to be something entirely different.
But, I am going to argue that it really all comes down to one thing.
We need to learn to be brave. We need to cultivate the spirit of bravery, one small act at a time.
As Eleanor Roosevelt said in her famous quote, “You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face…You must do the thing you think you cannot do.”
And with that…welcome to our Month of Bravery.
It’s time to put on our warrior armor and spend the next 30 days doing one brave act a day. I believe it is a challenge that could very well change your life. I certainly hope it will change mine.
Truth is, like most people, I am very comfortable doing what I love to do. And while that isn’t a bad thing by itself, it is when it keeps me from facing the things I’m afraid of, the very things that could transform my life.
Now is the time to start doing the things I don’t want to do. The things that make my palms sweaty and my knees quiver. This is the month I toss my excuses in the fire and start becoming the warrior that lives beneath the chickenshit.
Hopefully, we will do it together.
Starting is as simple as making a list of all those things we want to do, but don’t. All those things that give us the slightest pause, that uneasiness in our gut. They don’t have to all be huge life and death fears. You don’t need to save the planet, your marriage and your business all at the same time. Small works just as well, especially when repeated daily.
Right now we’re just learning to be brave. We’re proving to ourselves what we’re made of. We’re gaining confidence, and getting ready to take on the world with one hand tied behind our back.
So, put a good amount of attention on your list. Don’t phone it in. Make it real. Make this your stand. Whatever sounds scary to you, write it down.
Ask that girl out on a date, make the sales call you’ve been putting off, talk to your boss about a raise, join the club you’ve always admired, strike up a conversation with someone you’ve always wanted to meet. Join a gym. Wear spandex. Say I love you. Fire someone who deserves to be fired. Rekindle a relationship. End a relationship. Go to therapy. Change your hair. Have a difficult conversation. Take the first step in your new business. Switch careers. Write from the heart. Ask for help. Learn something new. Volunteer. Start a movement. Make a difference.
And if you run out of ideas, check your New Years Resolutions. Ask yourself how many resolutions have you left untouched? And if so, why?
Bottom line, bravery comes in many shapes and forms, and it’s up to each of us to choose our own battles.
Pick your top 30. These are the real ledges of your life.
And, you know what, if you really want to be bold…go ahead and face your own Glossophobia, also known as speaking in public.
There is a reason it’s at the top of most people’s phobias. It’s every fear of failure and rejection tied into one neatly wrapped package. Conquer that one fear and you just might find how easy all the others will fall.
Truth is, I taught public speaking in high school for seven years, and to this day, speaking remains a huge fear of mine. I do it, but I don’t like it. It doesn’t help that I lose my train of thought easily, slur terribly and tend to blank out when staring down more than three people at a time.
And, yes, I can see Eleanor Roosevelt pointing down at me. And, you know what, Eleanor…I’ll do it. I’ll join Toastmasters tomorrow. In fact, this time next week, I will be standing in front of a group, hoping I’m not spitting on the front row with my poorly enunciated words.
After that, who knows…I may redefine my business, make dreaded phone calls to prospective clients, pick up a dead animal, learn to be alone, and, maybe, if I’m feeling particularly brave, I might even tackle my own Lachanophobia, or fear of vegetables. Truth is, if you knew me, you’d know I could probably go on for a good 90 days and not even make a dent in all the things that frighten me.
But, like you…I’m not trying to take them all on at once. I’m simply trying to become braver…one small act at a time.
Now it’s your turn to prove to yourself just how powerful you are. How capable. How fearless and brave.
Go ahead and conquer a fear today, then another tomorrow, and another the day after that.
Do it for 30 days and prove to yourself just how invincible you are.
Prove to yourself there is nothing you can’t accomplish.
This is your time to be brave.
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