I’ll start off with a bit of a confession, I’m a bit of a wimp. That might sound weird from someone who has ziplined, played underwater hockey, tried the luge, let wolves play with their hair, went zorbing down a hill…..and the list of random adventures goes on and on….. but I definitely wasn’t always that way. In fact, I was pretty scared of everything and definitely not known for being adventurous.
Some of you may have read my story about having an older sibling with cerebral palsy, who was bound to a wheel chair and non verbal. I think I took on life a bit timidly because my brother was so fragile. I didn’t have someone constantly stretching me out of my comfort zone or harassing me to be braver. I’m even embarrassed to admit that I was scared to go down the big twisty slide on the playground in kindergarten…. So sad.
So how did I get from there to here?
That has been a process and a journey… A long lasting friendship with a neighbor who was the polar opposite of me who also made me go on roller coasters in 8th grade, friends of our family who took me rappelling down hundred foot cliffs and into caves as a middle and high schooler -who gave me those first tastes of a combination of adventure with both safety and crazy, the experience of moving away for college, moving away for jobs to new cities and rebuilding and forming new friendships, watching my mom take her final dying breathes, losing jobs and rebuilding finances, and taking a leap of faith on the idea to start a website…
Speaking of that, my “Aha moment” was on my way to a fencing class (yes, like the Olympic sport), I was invited by another adventurous friend to join her to try something new. On my way to the class, I said a little prayer asking God what “my thing” was. I had felt a little lost with job transitions and not really knowing where I fit. That’s when I had the “Aha moment” to pursue my passion of adventure, travel, and curiosity. What started as a way to finance my families fun for free, has grown to something beyond what I could have ever hoped or dreamed in that car ride that day.
I’ve found that each time that I do something out of my comfort zone, I’ve grown a little braver for the next thing.
3-7 second of bravery- that’s all you need for most adventures.
The most challenging part is saying yes to whatever it is that your scared self wants to say no to.
There is also a process with adventure
Before the adventure, there is anticipation, worry, excitement, and worse case scenarios racing through your mind
During the adventure, there is a sense of momentum. Once the action starts, the bravery inches in if you allow it to. Sometimes all you have is inches to hold onto, other times, the momentum transitions you into someone else, a braver and bolder you.
After the adventure, you tend to look at the experience a few different ways. You’re relieved that it’s over, you’re mad at yourself for how you blew the scenarios out of proportion, or you’re high on life because you just crushed something that really intimidated and scared you.
This pattern is now part of my life rhythm. Each opportunity to face my fears and intimidations, leaves me bolder and braver next time. I now seek it out and I’m ok with trying something before I feel like I’m going to perfect it.
I’ve come to realize that when you wait for perfection to try something, you put your life on hold. Too scared to make a mistake or feel the weight of the embarrassment. We all fail, miss the mark, and sometimes you just need to get over yourself and be ok with looking stupid, and even embrace it.
I was reflecting on how those patterns of facing fears positioned me for one of my biggest opportunities to date. I had the opportunity to work with a brand that involved 19 interviews via satellite with news stations and radio all over the country during a few hour window. This was my first time doing anything like this and I was soooo nervous, seriously, even talking about it to my family and close friends gave my stomach the jitters, but I also knew that my other opportunities at our local news station had help prepped me for this moment and all of my previous adventures have been stepping stones to my next adventure.
When I was asked to do my first ever tv appearance, I wanted to meet the public relations rep for lunch first so that she could confirm if she really thought that I had what it took to do it. Shout out to Andi Ferguson for taking a chance on me! I couldn’t sleep the night before because I was so nervous and during the segment one of the products fell over on the table and spilled all over the floor, but you know what? We just kept moving along, everything was ok and I discovered that I can do hard things even when things don’t go as planned.
On the other side of my biggest adventures I come out braver. My shirt might be slightly stained with sweat rings from my arms that were tucked in so tightly, but that’s ok because I survived and even thrived a little once I warmed up to it.
So how does this apply to you?
I want to encourage you to test the waters for some areas that you’ve been waiting to swim in.
That dream job, that class, that conversation that needs to be said, that destination, that bucket list adventure… I challenge you to create space to carve out time to pursue whatever it is that fuels you and gives you passion and purpose.
That’s how I look and now face adventure…as a challenge.
Adventure doesn’t have to be extreme, but there does have to be a risk.
Sometimes that comes in the form of our pride.
Also, you have to be willing to stop playing it safe ALL the time.
There is nothing wrong with boundaries and security, but sometimes we can get stuck there and allow the comfort of the nest to hinder us from our greatest potential to soar.
My easiest experiences in life were not what built my character, it was the challenges and obstacles that I had to overcome that left their mark on me and deepened my soul.
How many recesses did I miss out on the fun of that big twisty slide before my kindergarten teacher offered/pushed/went down the slide with me?
I missed out on so much by caring too much about the wrong things.
Caring about what the wrong people thought, who didn’t think that much of me anyway.
I’ve seen and experienced first hand what regular rhythms of adventures have instilled in my kids. They are so much braver than I was at their age and they also have an attitude of limitless possibilities.
One of my greatest joys is when I have the opportunity to share an adventure with someone else, especially when it’s a challenging because I get to experience all of those stages of adventure along side them.
I would define adventure as choosing to take a brave step into the unknown that is out of your comfort zone.
It has changed my life for the better and opened doors and brought opportunities that have made me a braver and bolder person.
I invite you to join me by facing your fears and living your dreams too.