The Parthenon

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Let Me Be Frank: On Fear

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Recently I was given the opportunity to do something kind of outrageous: rappel 17 stories down Huntington’s West Virginia Building. It was the second year the United Way of the River Cities sponsored this unique fundraiser, and they asked if I would be willing to go over the edge.

I said yes immediately, but then felt significantly anxious about the whole ordeal for the next couple of days. I laid in bed the night before, trying to figure out an excuse to get out of it. I couldn’t seem to find one that worked for me.

I showed up, regardless, still figuring my way out, but then somehow, I ended up in an elevator going up and up and up, and later found myself in a harness and a helmet. I was going to do it. I walked up to the rooftop and stepped up to the edge, hands trembling and legs quaking. I was terrified, and I was never not terrified. There was never a moment where I felt good about doing it. But I did it.

I have never really been that cool, adventurous and courageous person, although I’ve always wanted to be. I’m the thinker, the processor, and, well, the worrier. But I can’t stand the idea of watching everybody else do cool things just because my head can come up with a million ways something can go wrong.  I don’t ever want to miss out on something potentially great because of my own fear.

I’ve seen this quote floating around online, and the whole time I walked up to that edge, I recited it to myself: do it scared.

“Don’t wait until you’re not scared to do the thing you want to do. You do it scared.”

If we spend our whole lives waiting for courage, for affirmation, for assurance–we may just spend our whole lives waiting. I don’t want my fear and anxieties to keep me on the sidelines.

So, while it may be uncomfortable, while it may feel impossible and when it may be scary: I want to choose living fully every time. I want to choose wobbly knees and sweaty palms, because it’s in these moments where we learn more completely who we are. It’s ok to be scared, but it’s not ok to take a back seat in your own life. Do it scared.

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