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  • Writer's pictureJeff G

Embracing Fear: Finding Joy and Courage in Overcoming Adversity

Updated: Jun 12

A series of diving boards

"Take the leap..."

It's scary standing on a precipice.

I am choosing to create a new reality for myself. I want more control and agency over my life in a professional sense. I'm starting my own business.

And to be completely honest; right about now I'm terrified.

The sensations I'm feeling remind me of the first time I stood on a high dive. Hyper-aware of the way the sunlight dappled off the water so far below; how tiny the people looked; how my wet trunks clung to my legs like I clung to the guide rails; how the wind seemed stronger up here, like it was threatening to push me right off if I were to step onto the board.

Or to the first time I went through the Haunted Mansion at Disneyland. In previous visits I didn’t even need to get into the line to feel certain that I didn't want to go on the ride. I just stared at that ominous building through the iron gates as I watched people walk - foolishly, I thought - to all the horrible dooms my mind could conjure.

Or staring wide-eyed at a roller coaster with a loop-de-loop. What if something went wrong? What if I fell out? What if the car came off the tracks?

I think the thing that scared me most about these circumstances was that there was a tangible point of no return. At a certain point, there was no going back. Can’t change your mind in midair and decide “you know? I’d rather not finish this dive after all.”

A no diving sign at a pool

I’ve always been a cautious individual by nature. I’d even say borderline risk averse. I also had a big imagination as a child, and in the face of the unknown my mind often went into overdrive to convince me that there was imminent danger.

So, best to choose the safe choice. Even as an adult, the risks I take are often deliberate and only after I’d carefully assessed the situation.

That tendency makes undertaking ventures like starting my own business so daunting, and in the pit of my stomach there is the uncomfortable sensation that comes with peering into the veil of the unknown.

What if I don’t make any money? What if no one is interested in my story? What if I have nothing of value to offer? What happens if I lose everything in pursuit of my goals?

But there’s something that also correlates all of these events throughout my life together.

It’s that eventually, I did jump off that high dive. I did go on the Haunted Mansion. And I went on the roller coaster with the loop-de-loop. And you know what I discovered?

The worst possible outcomes didn’t happen. I was intact on the other side.

And more than that…

It was fun!

A boy in a pool

The exhilaration of the plunge first through air, then water.

My grandfather laughing at the first big scare in the Haunted Mansion, imbuing me with the courage to face what else was to come.

The lurch in my stomach and the G-forces acting on my body as we defied

physics and rode the wind.

And those experiences laid the groundwork for me to continue to take risks and to take steps towards my own development. I love the thrill of drops. I'm super into scary stuff now. And the crazier the coaster; the better. I became hooked on the satisfaction of overcoming a challenge, and that emboldened me to try new things.

Those memories are like a shining beacon that I’m holding like a lantern as I begin to navigate this next challenge of starting my own business and realizing my dreams. And damn it all if I don’t come out on the other side of this having had some fun along the way.

Here we go.

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