Facing Your Fears

Recently, on a Friday afternoon, I had an experience which challenged my fears and comfort level.  I went out sailing in 20-30 knots of wind, with 6 – 8 foot swells, in a very, very narrow boat only 41 feet long.  I have five experienced crew with me.  And I was nervous.

Believe you me, it is an intimidating experience when a little sailboat is planing at over 20 knots with gusts and crazy waves.  You don’t have a lot of opportunity to think things through or to hesitate – a five degree wrong move and….WIPEOUT!  In the cold water and sloppy big waves, that could mean “man overboard” with the boat temporarily out of control. (Watch the experience.)

I am learning to skipper a boat under these conditions, where you have to run on “feel” and not so much on thinking things through.  I have lots to learn and practice, but whoo hoo!  What a ride!

In doing this, I faced rational fear and was out of my comfort zone.  It took 48 hours for me to come down from that exhilaration.  It changes you.  I feel proud of myself; I know I’m getting better and better.  Facing fears and limitations, while scary, leads to such acceleration in joy of life and a growing self-confidence, that it is more than worth the scary moments.

As I keep nagging at you folks, things are scary until they become familiar.  Practice and forcing yourself to face the experience time and again gives you familiarity which gives you confidence, and a natural, free, and legal “high.”