Fear Junkie – The Morning Wride

Waterfront Park in the Intercoastal waterway in Palm Coast, Florida.

Our wride today felt great. After Ivy being gone for a week at summer camp, I found I missed her terribly. Something about our father-daughter daily bike wride fills a need within me. I took the pics for this post on the wride, yet most of my attention today was on a particular topic – fear.

Spoiler Alert! If you’re a member of the local Toastmasters Club, reading any further will give away most, if not all, of my speech on Wednesday night. Ok, so I’ll have a couple surprises I can’t put here on my blog, but I will be reciting one of my poems…

Fear. For some of us, fear is a motivating factor in our lives. Fear keeps us from apathy and complacency. For years, overcoming fear kept me moving forward. Fear often coursed through challenges set in front of me.

The question arises, at least in my mind, of what amount of fear becomes too much? How long can a person use fear as motivation before they become overwhelmed? How much joy and anticipation gets stolen by the intensity of fear?

These days, I find fear more my enemy than motivator. I feel apathy nipping at my heels and complacency a safe place to hide. Shouldn’t fifty-three years be enough time spent riding the fear wave?

Let’s get down to specifics here, because there are many types of fears, I’m writing about the internal, self-limiting fears. Fear owns a legitimate place in our lives. Finding yourself two feet away from a hungry, fourteen foot alligator SHOULD instill a bit of fear into you.

One of my most recent fears came last week when I agreed to teach and choreograph a ballroom dance routine for a charity event August 3rd in Flagler Beach. I had mentioned in a conversation that I wanted to get back to dancing. I did not realize the person I spoke with was heading up a recruiting committee for this “Dancing With the Stars” Flagler Beach gig.

I took private ballroom dance lessons for three years. That was over five years ago. Heck, more like seven years ago. I have not ballroom danced for at least three years. I have five days to come up with a routine, teach someone enough Triple Swing for us to look good, and then get up in front of 500 people and dance.

I’m telling you, this is way outside my comfort zone. Yet, in the past five years, I’ve been very involved with Toastmasters and my fear of getting in front of an audience has diminished. I do love to dance. I do know enough to at least have us looking competent.

Back to the fear and the meat of this post. At this stage of my life, I no longer have the inclination or time for all this internal fear. The questions of whether I can pull this off. The uncertainty of whether I will freeze like I did at a piano recital fifteen years ago (what a fear moment realized!).

I desire to anticipate the competition. I desire to enjoy the process of getting this routine down. I desire to look forward to the event instead of listing it up there among all the other fear driven tasks I have hanging over my head.

I wonder at how my life became this fear monster. I take on a new project and the next thing I know, I’m fearing whether I will come through or not. Even though I’ve never NOT come through on a project, fear still drives me. Somewhere along the way, I allowed joy and anticipation to be replaced by fear of not performing at someone else’s level of satisfaction.

I’m sure this is something embedded within me over decades of practice. At this stage in my life I want fear gone. I want to experience positivity. This motivation from a negative position has worn me out. I find I have little tolerance for naysayers and nit pickers and people with a general, overall critical outlook on life.

I realize you cannot throw the baby out with the bathwater. There are legitimate circumstances for fear, and critique, and detail oriented action. I want more joy in my life.

I also do not totally ascribe to constantly challenging your fears in order to overcome them. I’ve been doing this most my life and I’ve fallen into quick ‘fear’ patterns. I desire to eliminate fear before it grows and consumes me. I can see this endeavor may take time and a ton of effort.

Reciting my poem Wednesday night will be one step out of this fear-driven life of mine. I love this poem. I wrote it sitting under a tree in Raleigh, North Carolina in April of 1982 at three in the morning with a nasty storm on the way. I fear reciting my poetry. I have not been able to attempt an open mic event. The fear engulfs me.

My task these next two days, is to look forward to my speech with positive anticipation. I desire to revel in the moment, to present myself, my poetry, and my views on fear, and to do all this without fear eating at me. The same goes for the dance routine. The same goes for a presentation I must give on Friday.

The same goes for marketing and promoting my book Go Write and You Won’t Go Wrong! Write Your Book in 30 Days. The same goes for marketing the webinar I’ve set up. The same goes for just about everything I want in life.

Photo taken from the I95 bridge in Palm Coast. My house is about three blocks behind the blue water tower…

I’ve read and heard a lot about how everything you want is just outside your comfort zone. I’ve heard and understand that one of the keys to a progressively successful life is to get comfortable being uncomfortable. I heard a quote this past weekend that said, “The brave may well die, but the cautious never truly live.” That resonates with me.

I’ve come up with a little ‘internal jingle’ I’m going to repeat to myself as I work through overcoming fear and introducing anticipation and joy back into my life. It goes like this: “I can or I can’t, I will or I won’t, but I’ll have fun and get it done.” The trick will be to believe…

Categories: The Morning Wride | Tags: , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

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5 thoughts on “Fear Junkie – The Morning Wride

  1. Hi, Mike. The fear may engulf you, but your’re doing it anyway. Bravo.

    I try to remember to ask myself if my fear is rational or not. “What’s the worst thing that could happen if I fail?”

    Best wishes for your poem recital.

  2. mspossibilities

    Loved reading the blog.

    “Even though I’ve never NOT come through on a project, fear still drives me. Somewhere along the way, I allowed joy and anticipation to be replaced by fear of not performing at someone else’s level of satisfaction”.

    You have the evidence that you do come through. If you’ve done once, you can do it again. I make up that being clear on the fear itself gives it less power and makes more room for the excitement and anticipation to show up!

    • Hi mspossibilities! By instituting an “awareness” of the fear, my view of this insanely busy week has shifted to a more positive state. I wish I could say I don’t have fear over my speech on Wednesday and the presentation on Friday, but I do not have such a sense of dread as I normally would. This position is still not acceptable to me. I’m going to have confidence in my ability to put together these short speeches within 24 hours like I normally do. Like you said, I’ve done it far more than once, I will do it again. I can, I can’t, I will, I won’t, but I’ll have fun and get it done.

  3. Natalie

    Hi Mike , This is a topic near and dear to my inner self. One of your paragraphs encapulates it for me
    ” wonder at how my life became this fear monster. I take on a new project and the next thing I know, I’m fearing whether I will come through or not. Even though I’ve never NOT come through on a project, fear still drives me. Somewhere along the way, I allowed joy and anticipation to be replaced by fear of not performing at someone else’s level of satisfaction”

    Fear is one of my words that has a secret life only cropping up when I don’t need it most. I’m working on it as you and many,others. I’m determined to now allow fear to render me powerless in the face of me.

    You’re doing – that’s how it gets done. One day you wake up and realize fear has taken a a back seat until it’s needed to save my life.

    • Hi Natalie! Yeah, I get that “cropping up when I don’t need it most.” Fear really ticks me off. There is so much more I would accomplish and attempt if not for fear. I know all that crap about “False Evidence Appearing Real”. I think those ‘coolish’ sayings were made up by someone who knows no fear. I don’t fear much external to me.

      Yes, I would fear someone pointing a gun at me (I’ve experienced that one). But that fear is warranted and real and short-lived. Once the danger passes, the fear goes away. The things I seem to fear hold no mortal danger that I see. This irks me. One day, I will not allow this to happen. The problem is, the fear creeps up on me when I’m not aware. Then it’s a battle to be rid of it.

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