I hate the feeling of falling. The gentle decent of a Ferris wheel is a one. Jumping off a bridge with friends into the rushing water of the river below is an eight. Falling out of an airplane at 14,000 feet is a ten. I have done all three. Why???
Well, the Ferris wheel example is mild and I love the experience with my daughter. Her smiles, laughter and constant conversation as we share the experience are magical. But the other two…well, I guess when the moment arrives I know that I will regret passing up the opportunity if I don’t go through with the feat.
Looking back at the bridge jump and the skydiving experiences gives me the feeling of success, accomplishment, and pride. I love these feelings! Perhaps the possibility of the opposite feelings (regret, disappointment, or wishing for a “do-over”) is highly motivating too.
So how do I overcome my fear? Well, I set up the experience and then walk toward it. One. Step. At. A. Time. There is no self-deception such as “You can back out if you want.” Instead, I almost naively relabel the feeling of fear as excitement and the gnawing “what-if” of worry as the “why-not” of adventure.
Once THE FALL occurs, I pass through and end up on the other side. Even when I was skydiving, that falling feeling came, I screamed a long “NOOOOOOOOOOO” and then there was this gorgeous feeling of flying. In the end, I can see a planned “fall” for what it is…just a short (yet tough) blip in my journey. When I overcome my fear, I can look back on the experience as a sweet memory that puts a smile on my face from the empowering sense of achievement.