Everybody is lusting after something.

For me, it’s adventure, and a change. A change in my routine, a change in my surroundings. Just change. I feel like I want to break free and live differently for a while. There are so many things I want to do, new things I want to try, new career possibilities to consider and new directions to explore.

I can’t count the amount of times I’ve advised loved ones to ‘get out there! Do the things you want to do!’ and yet, when I am faced with the same challenges, the same possibilities, the same dilemmas – I find myself shrinking away from them, thinking ‘it would be so nice if…’ and then not doing anything about it.

It’s sobering to discover that fear is the only thing holding me back.

Feel the Fear

Recently, after a Saturday night trip to the pub and during the car journey home, my friend, who shall not be named, mused out loud about changing his life and doing something completely new and different, possibly in a far off place. ‘Do it! You should do it!’ I urged enthusiastically. His reply was ‘it’s easier said than done though isn’t it?’

‘What’s holding you back?’ I asked him. ‘Is it fear?’. ‘Yes’ he said. I began to think out loud alongside him. ‘You’re not married, you have no children…’ He picked up my train of thought. ‘…I have no mortgage, I have money…’ ‘So it’s fear then.’ Fear was the thing holding him back. And I wanted to pull over, shove him out of the car and tell him to go, run, see the world and experience everything in it. Now, before it’s too late. Before we’re old and regret it. Then I noticed the presence of the word ‘we’re’ inside my thought pattern and realised this: I am in the same boat. And fear is holding me back.

The truth is that I’m free, free as the wind to go where I choose and do the things I want. This may not always be the case. I should do it now, before the moment passes and these ideas become just a distant memory. And I don’t do it, and I’m scared to do it. Fear of change, fear of the unknown can be crippling, but who knows why? It should be so easy. And so, dear reader, I ask you to join me in musing this, as you drink your tea and read this from your desk or your sofa or wherever you happen to be.

Muse over the hold fear has over us, when it really has no business being a factor in our decision making at all. And when you’re done musing (and because this is a rather deep and depressing topic) get up and do something completely different to shake yourself up a bit. Do a dance in the living room. Sing loudly in the centre of your office. Go get another cup of tea and get on with the day. But before all of that, sit with me here, now, and think about all the things that could be possible if only we didn’t let fear play a part in our lives.

In the Zone…or Not

In 2009, I lost my job. Right at the start of the recession. And it was frightening. That was REAL fear, and it pushed me to take action. I was brave in the face of my fear and I went and tried as many new things as I could squeeze into my days and nights. Then I went and got myself a brand new career that pushed and challenged and excited me. I wouldn’t have done these things if I had stayed where I was. I fell out of my comfort zone and in order to break my fall, I had to kick fear in the face. Then laugh at it.

Voluntarily walking out of your comfort zone is harder, in the same way that voluntarily leaving the warmth of your house on a cold winters day is hard. If you can possibly stay where you are, it’s easier to do so. Easy often wins. You don’t know what’s out there and isn’t it preferable to stay inside, where it’s cosy?

But now, as I find myself in a tight yet familiar rut, I think I should layer up and get out there. What I said to my friend in the car that night was ‘you should go and do all the things you want to do’. What I said to myself, in a voice so quiet that even I could barely hear it was ‘you should listen to yourself. You should listen, and take your own advice’.

You can stop musing on this in a second. Get ready to get up and shake yourself out and go on with your day. But first, get all up in my face and shout ‘Do all the things you want to do!’ I’ll try and listen. At the very least, walking out of my comfort zone will give me a story to write to you about.

Stay tuned.

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