Jumping into Fear

I jumped out of a perfectly good airplane once.  A tandem dive that had been on my bucket list for years.  A few days before my 51st birthday I was able to jump, thanks to my birthday present from Steve.

Was this scary? Hell yeah!  Up at 10,000 feet, taking a step out on the wing of that puddle jumper, looking down, my heart was racing, and nothing was in my control at that point.  As I watched the video later, the instructor I was tethered to, said jump to the videographer and away we jumped.

Sometimes you just gotta jump.

You would think tandem jumping would be the scariest thing I ever did.  You would be wrong.  Yes, I was afraid that the parachute would not open and I would plummet to the earth at 250 miles at hour.  But this tandem jump was not put on display for all to see, until it was over. 

The fear begins when you put yourself out there for the whole world to see

In the June Book Club chat, I talked about starting my podcast, and how that produced fear for me.  What would others think of me spewing my thoughts out into the world?  And just who was I to do a podcast?  Would anyone listen?  Would I fail miserably?

That was real fear – putting myself out there for the whole world to witness my brilliant success or my dismal failure.

The tandem jump was scary yes, but often the most fear producing are the things we put out into the world that people could openly judge.

Your book

Your paintings

Your blog

Your podcast

Your new business

Three ways to move past your fear

Surround yourself with those who want to see you succeed. I was able to produce my podcast a year ago doing two things.  First was I surrounded myself with encouraging people on the same path – a podcast mastermind group. 

Jump.  I jumped.  I produced my first episode and let it loose into the world. 

Create for you and you only.  My podcast is one of my greatest pleasures in life now.  I know the business gurus are gonna’ say, create your content for your audience.  Find out what they want.  But I am my audience. I am over 50, looking to redesign and create a life I love.  And much to my surprise, I have people who listen and say they LOVE the podcast.   Are you your audience? What would you create for you?

What is keeping you from jumping?

For many years I told myself things would change

Photo is of me playing what little I remember of The Entertainer, by Scott Joplin, on a piano in Ft. Collins. CO

I would be happy, stop drinking all the time, get rid of the toxic people in my life, save more money, quit whining, be happy and go about creating a life I loved. It wasn’t until a cold dreadful day in December of 2011, when I found myself at a precarious point at a train track, that I made a bold and rather drastic decision.

Up until then I was stuck in self-improvement purgatory. Living this shitty life, yet always consuming self-help books and videos, with nothing ever changing.

I found solace from my pain in the words of self-improvement books and “gurus”. For a brief time the words provided me with a rush of inspiration, that my life really would be okay. However, inspiration is fleeting and once I closed the books I was back to grumbling about my life.

I didn’t need inspiration. I needed a good kick in the ass.

My life was the fault of everyone around me. If only someone had not done this, or said that. For decades I blamed my parents for my life.

Here is the truth — I really didn’t want my life to change. Perhaps on the surface I did but in order for my life to change, I had to take full responsibly for my actions and my decisions. That meant work and I had become jaded and lazy about my life.

I let the constant consumption of self-improvement become my escape from reality.

Begin. With the humility of someone who’s not sure, and the excitement of someone who knows that it’s possible. ~ Seth Godin

When I ran off to Colorado for the eight months, I had very little. I had a car, which I still had car payments. I had no job out there, I had about $1,000 to my name and I knew two people.

What I did have, was the decision I had made to finally do something about my life.

I was fed up with myself.

I knew I was killing myself with my drinking

I feared I would one day give into this profound sadness and end my life

Yet, many feel the way I do and still will not move forward. Why is that?

There are many articles out there that address this question but here is my opinion. We are comfortable where we are, regardless of how much we complain. There is a certain level of faith in this day-to-day. The complaining even is a comfort, because we feel better after we spew, although short lived. Letting go of the comfortable can be a very scary thing. It is a known quantity for us. Changing the way we operate, no matter how dysfunctional, is like being dropped into a foreign land where we do not know the culture or speak the language.

And sometimes the wanting to want to change is enough.

Coming into our 50’s is the best time to make changes, and it may be the hardest. As we shed many of the old ideas and notions, kids leaving home, perhaps getting out of a marriage that doesn’t suit us anymore; we also have many decades old entrenched habits and patterns.

So, the best advice I can give you, from someone who has been there, and made significant changes — Start small, start where you are, start with imperfect plans, but just start.

Are you acting old?

Just because you are over 50 doesn’t mean you need to act old or be old.

Sure, we may have some limitations — I am positive I will not run out in the front yard and do a back handspring like I was 14 again — but that does not give us a reason to sit around and act old.

How are you acting old?

Not taking an active role in your life. Are you looking out the window at the world and thinking “I sure wish I could, but I can’t…”

You are still caring around all those inaccurate thoughts and beliefs about yourself. That big fucking albatross around your neck — creating even heavier inertia. For the love of a happy life — let them go!

Believing the generations behind you have nothing to offer you

Believing you have nothing to offer the generations behind you

Telling yourself….”Well I tried that once”

Thinking the world operates on the same set of rules it did 40 years ago

Not learning new skills

Being fearful of new technology and advances in today’s world

Over glorifying the good old days

We don’t have as many years ahead of us as we do behind us. So why waste the precious time you have left “acting old”. Start embracing all the world has to offer. Share your uniqueness and light with others. Try out Tik Tok.

You have so much to offer and so much life to live!