A few months ago our production team went on an excursion to partake in a team building exercise. Our boss wanted us to take the challenge of doing a ropes course that is relatively new in Accra at the Legon Botanical Gardens. When we arrived and I looked up at the course, I was actually thinking it didn’t look as bad as I expected, but I knew it was going to be a challenge because I’m afraid of being at such heights harnessed in something that seems unstable. I’ll never forget my fearful walk at Kakum National Park in Ghana’s Central Region. (Click here to see)The first time I didn’t make it. The second I conquered my fear. Ha Have you ever been so afraid that you chose to just walk away? Most of us have. Fear is actually one of the biggest reasons we don’t do the things we want. You’re afraid you might fail. Afraid you won’t do well. Afraid of what others might think. Most often we are afraid to push ourselves outside of our comfort zones. But some of the most successful people in the world were afraid before they took the leap.
It’s called “a leap of faith” for a reason. You’re jumping into something even though you’re afraid because you know it’s the only way to know if what you believe is going to work.
The ropes course not only brought our team together, it also showed us how to encourage and share tips with each other on how to get through it.
1. It’s Not As Bad As You Think
Do you find yourself imagining the worst possible outcome? If you do, you’re not alone. Once I got through the ropes course, I realized it wasn’t as bad as I had thought. I was imagining falling and breaking all my bones. Imagining becoming unconscious and being rushed to the hospital. Why?
Most people do the same thing and it’s a major reason they allow fear to hold them back. We expect the worst.
How about changing your thinking and instead imagining the best outcome? The idea that you can conquer the challenge should push you right past your fear.
2. What if You Fail?
So what if you do? That’s part of the learning process. It teaches you what to do right the next time. It shows you how you can improve and do it better.
For example, when I got through the ropes course I realized I am out of shape!! People look at me physically and think I’m in great shape, but the truth is I was tired and my muscles and joints were taking a beating. I realized that if I was going to do this again, I needed to get in better shape.
That means training and exercise. This principle could be applied to anything. Doing the things necessary to beskilled and perform better the next time you approach a task.
3. Take Action
When you see yourself at the other side as a champion, you can boldly face your fear and take action.
The only way you will have any outcome is by taking the step forward. The best way to move past your fear comes in taking that first step.
Once I started the ropes course, the first step was the hardest, but once I did that the next step was necessary to keep going. When I was halfway through I had to keep going. I wasn’t giving up. I visualized myself finishing.
4. Be A Child
At one point I was stuck and afraid to go on. I thought I was going to fall. The fear of falling paralyzed me in one spot where I was swinging back and forth.
I looked down and there was a boy standing on the ground below, not even ten years old, he watched my fear and started to give me guidance. Can you imagine? A 10-year-old telling me what to do.
I saw him zoom through the course twice already, so he was clearly the best guide. I listened and kept going.
Sometimes we need to approach our fears the way we would have when we were children. As we become adults we seem to lose that childlike quality of curiosity and boldly doing things without fear.
If you can tap into yourself as a child, facing fear won’t be as difficult as it seems.