Most of my life I played it safe. I didn’t raise my hand in class as a kid unless I knew for sure I knew the answer so I wouldn’t get embarrassed if I was wrong. I only tried out for sports and activities that I was somewhat good at, I only socialized with people that I was already comfortable around.

I thought this served me well at the time, but looking back, I now realize that it kept me small. It kept me stagnant. I missed out on opportunities to learn, grow, and even have fun, but I let fear and doubt get in the way. When I had children, I noticed that I was passing this same shy and fearful trait to them, and they were starting to say NO to activities that I knew would expand their horizons.

In light of this realization, I made a conscious decision 2 years ago to look fear and doubt in the face and say YES to activities that scared me or that I wanted to avoid. YES, to dancing in public when I lacked rhythm. Yes to roller coaster rides that give me anxiety. Yes to boat rides, ski trips and meeting up with new people that I was uncomfortable around.

What this really means is that I am allowing myself to feel negative emotions along the way. Sitting in this discomfort of doing something new or something that I didn’t want to do.  The embarrassment if I failed in front of people. The anxiety of doing scary things. This provided several opportunities to manage my mind. 

Recently, in Alaska, we went along with a very generous offer to go fishing with a family and I found myself in a panic state when the boat was rocking heavily. We were out in a remote area over an hour from shore, and most of my family was already struggling with seasickness. I felt completely out of control covered in fish guts, nausea, and a pounding headache, and I just wanted to go home. 

I took some Lamaze type deep breaths, went inside the boat, and coached myself to find a calm state of mind and to embrace all the upset. I allowed myself to feel the anxiety and to feel out of control and be there for the others that were struggling even more.

Eventually, after a mostly unsuccessful outing as the halibut weren’t biting, we turned the boat around and found sea otters waving at us in the ocean, puffin birds flying nearby on a cove, and scenery that brought me to tears. This was worth the negative emotion that preceded it.

Working through your fear and self-doubt is something you get better at the more you do it. The more you embrace it and you come out on the other side bruised but still intact, the more your confidence grows and world expands.

When you keep avoiding and playing it safe like I use to do, your world becomes smaller and you don’t grow. You stay the same swirling in the same pool of stagnation. What fun is that?

Choose the discomfort of growth over the discomfort of stagnation and I promise you will have some amazing experiences along the way. Half of the experience will be spent in upset, but the other half will be amazing and so expansive. 

If you are ready to confront to choose growth over stagnation, please schedule a consultation call: https://mindyourstrengthcoaching.as.me/

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