Living the Life of My Dreams By Letting Go of Fear

Not This Time

By Jocelyn Martin

The priest at our church has asked at least two or three times in the last 6 months how many people are still keeping up with their New Year’s resolutions.  My husband always chuckles and shakes his head as he sees my hand go up.

I’m proud of the fact that I set a goal and go for it, but don’t for a minute think that it gets easier or that I don’t have my own doubts and fears.  I do!  I just refuse to look back on my life and say, “I wish I had….”

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I came really close this past month to not seeing my New Year’s resolution through.  I had completed all the triathlons on my race schedule and had one last one to go.  I was nervous about it.  It started with a 1000meter swim and while I had completed that easily in the pool,  doing it in the ocean, well that was another story.  I hate putting my face in the ocean.  The smell of seaweed, the taste of salt water hitting my face by a roque wave.  Inhaling salt water and gasping for air.  And lets not mention the creatures that live in the ocean!  Ugh!  Nightmares!

As the date of the triathlon neared, I still hadn’t registered.  Oh, I had a list of excuses: a sore throat, sick kids, couldn’t get down there, etc.  But honestly, if I really faced facts, I was simply scared.

So what changed?  A conversation I had with my oldest changed everything.  She had just completed a 50M freestyle race for her swim meet.  During which, she had touched the wall, rather than doing a flip turn, something she had done last season and had practiced for the last six weeks.  When I asked her about it, she said she was scared she’d miss the wall or hit her head.  My response, “Don’t not do it because you’re scared.  Try!  You’ll be surprised by how much you can accomplish!”

Like a wave, my words smacked me in the head.  Duh!  How can you say that to your daughter, to your clients, and not practice the same?  Did I want to be one of those trainers who said one thing and did the other?  I remember exactly where I was standing on the pool deck when those questions flooded my thoughts.  And more importantly, I remember the reply, “You dummy!  You’re letting fear hold you back.  Go sign up.  Go try.  You’ll surprise yourself.  And do you really want to give up this close to your goal.  You’re better than that.  Sure it might be hard, but that’s the point.  Everytime you overcome your own fears you get stronger leaving behind fewer things fear will hold you back from.  Now go do this!”

I signed up for the race that week and was surprised by how easy and enjoyable the swim and triathlon was last week.  Why had I been so afraid?  Why had I almost let my fears hold me back?  I actually laughed to myself during the swim as I was enjoying myself so much and I was doing it!

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So that’s my wish.  To my daughters, to my clients, to my family, to my friends…..our fears are there.  They’re real and they can hold us back if we let them.  But the choice is ours.  Do we want to look back at a life of possibility or a life of adventure?  Do we want to talk about all the things we “could” have done or all the things we did?  Do we want to tell our children what to do or give them an example, letting them know we know how they feel?

Fear is a very real emotion.  But courage, joy, excitement and achievement are so much more empowering!  So go for it!  Set those goals, those New Years resolutions.  You may not know how you’ll achieve them, but I promise you the support is out there.  You’ll find a way.  Reach for it!  Go for it!  Your best life is yours to live!

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