Last week I wrote a little something to my mom, because she’s awesome. This week, I wanted to talk about living fearlessly and when I thought about where I got my fearless beliefs from, I realized they all come from my dad.
My dad is a fearless adventurer to his very core. I’ve known the guy for twenty-three years and he still tells stories I’ve never heard before. He’s definitely not the type to get bogged down by hesitation and self-doubt.
He’s the reason I feel comfortable dangling my feet off the edge of a rockface and the voice in my head when I want to back out of something just because it’s challenging.
These are some of the lessons he taught me.
The worst thing they can say is “No”
This is a phrase I’ve heard my dad say a million times. Whether it was before a big audition or applying for a job that was a bit of a reach for me, he always included this line is his pep talk.
Failure sucks, especially when it’s something that you really want. While you should plan to succeed and believe that you’ll do well, it’s good to know that the biggest blow of failure is just going to a teensy-weensy “No.” If you bomb an interview, a group of thugs will not show up at your house and paint You Suck on your windows. You’ll just get an email that says, “Thank you for your time, but we have gone with another candidate.”
And really, what’s so scary about an email?
Why are You Afraid?
Another thing my dad always made me do growing up was think through my fears. I used to be terrified to go into my bathroom in the middle of the night if the lights were off. I would hold it all night long just so I wouldn’t have to go into the dark bathroom.
When my dad asked me what I was so afraid of, I said, “I don’t know, a dead body or something.”
To which he laughed and said, “So, someone is going to kill a person somewhere else in the world, find our house, come in the middle of the night, and put a body in our bathroom?”
I wasn’t so afraid of the going in there at night after that.
It’s normal to feel afraid of things, but what happens if you take the time to think about why they scare you? Why won’t you ask that girl out and what are you so certain will go wrong when you give that presentation? Chances are, half of your fears aren’t really rooted in something as practical as you think.
You Can Always Come Back Home
My dad has lived everywhere. I feel like any place I bring up in conversation, he says, “Oh yeah, I lived there for a year.” He has adventured blindly. Going to new places without a plan, just to see what might be there. He tells me all the time that I should see what’s out there and take chances because even if you fail miserably and lose everything you have, you can always just go back home.
Stepping away from stability or your friends and family may seem terrifying, but if your being called to something new, you shouldn’t ignore it just because it might not work out. There’s less shame in a failed adventure than to never adventure at all.
Don’t let fear keep you bored
My dad has had a life. He’s done so many things that he’s wanted to do and seen so many places that he’s wanted to see. He can tell you how wonderful the people in the Bahama’s are or tell you about catching fresh salmon while living in the woods working as a logger.
He could have worn a button shirt and sat in an office for the last 40 years (which would have been hell for him), but he chose not to. Not because the path he chose was easier or safer, but because he didn’t want to live and die bored.
You can’t let fear keep you unhappy. If there’s something you want to do or try to change, then make it happen. Don’t ever let fear be the only thing standing between you and what you want because it’s just a feeling. It only controls you if you let it.