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Why I keep doing the sh*t that scares me

Fat Mum Slim /

Last year I was set to fly in a tiny plane, and I was freaking out. I have never been a great flyer, but I’ve taught myself to put on my big girl pants and get over it. But small planes? One propeller? There was no getting over that, big girl pants or not.

I had stressed myself out so much that I was physically ill. I had spent days telling myself, ‘You’ve got this. You’re going to be fine’ while resisting the fear. It’s a constant mental struggle, which results in physical pain too.

And then I gave in. I surrendered. I think I even said it out loud, flopping onto my bed, “Screw it fear, you win. I’m done.”

I was done. I told myself that once the small plane adventure was done, I was no longer fighting the fear and doing it anyway. I was tired of the struggle. I planned to just stay in my comfort zone forever more. I just needed to get through the small plane escapade first.

For me, the divide between my comfort zone and other side of fear is huge. A friend recently said to me, “You’re the most challenge-accepting person I know.”

I mean, I’m not climbing mountains and jumping out of planes, but I do constantly find myself in these positions where I’m working myself up to do something that scares me. One of the worst would have been presenting to a room full of people for an hour. Who does that by choice? Who travels alone to a whole other country for a week, when they’re the same person who cried on the first night of school camp because they missed their home or feels tortured leaving their children for a night or even two?

The things that scare me, wouldn’t scare other people. This is the beauty of people. We’re all different. We all have different fears, dreams, personality traits and more. The things that worry me, wouldn’t worry my siblings. The things that don’t worry me, would worry other people. We’re all unique. But I don’t need to tell you that.

I am an anxious person. We all have an underlying level of anxiety {well, I’m told this}, some more than others. I’m not anxious enough for it to be completely debilitating all the time, but enough for it to be challenging. It’s there, often.

I got on that plane, and I was scared, of course. But from up in that plane, I could see the most beautiful things; the clouds as we flew slowly by them, the horizon, and the land from above. Most of the fear was around thinking about the flight and all the ‘what-ifs’ but being up in that plane was oddly calm and beautiful. Landing and stepping out onto the land beneath us was joyous. Joyous because I’d survived, but also because I’d survived through the fear, once again.

I told fear to wait a minute, because I wasn’t done. I wasn’t surrendering and staying in my comfort zone. I realised, as I do each time that I tackle my fears, that the reward is beautiful. The good stuff is on the other side of fear, and it would be a crime to never feel that feeling again. That feeling is growth. The reason I keep doing the stuff that scares me is simple. I do it because it allows me to grow, to experience beautiful things and become a better person… and that’s much better than any comfort zone.

So I think I’ll just keep doing the shit that scares me, so that I can experience the good stuff; joy and pride.

What scares you? Do you do that stuff that scares you?