‘Do Something Everyday That Scares You’
It’s one of my favourite sayings, and for a lot of my life was a mantra my anxiety helped me achieve every single day. Now that I’m older, and finding ways to cope with my anxiety, my ‘nervousness’ about almost any social event is subsiding somewhat.
That’s not to say that there aren’t a ton of things that still really scare me, like putting myself out there on the blog/instagram, pushing for goals that seem out of reach, rats… you know, the normal stuff. I’ve also developed a huge fear of driving (which you’ve probably seen on the blog or in my vlogs already) which goes in waves, or my nervousness over surfing.
I’ve had a couple of surfing lessons, most of which ended disastrously;
- In Morrocco my surfboard flung out from under me into the head of a local boy (who in my defence was swimming far too close to us), cutting his head, needing hospital treatment, which I was coerced into paying for.
- In Peru where our instructors spoke zero English and the waves were really choppy, we got hit by them over and over again, as well as hitting my head on the bottom as we were churned over, and the only advice I got – ‘tranquilo’. NO ME GUSTA.
- In Sri Lanka where I fell over and hit my head on about the third wave and decided I didn’t want to try anymore.
So when the itinerary came through from our recent trip to Jersey and the first activity was surfing, I immediately emailed the PRs and said ‘er I don’t love surfing and get really freaked out, but I’ll give it a go’. I hoped they would say not to worry, I could try something else, but they didn’t… so on Saturday morning, straight from our flight, we donned some wetsuits and hit the beach.
After spending some time on the beach teaching us the proper technique to ‘pop up’ on the board, we entered the water. It was apparently pretty rough for beginners, but still much calmer than anything I’d attempted to surf in before. I spent the first few minutes, OK half an hour, shrieking and trying to jump over the waves instead of attempt to ride them, but slowly my confidence grew and I was able to at least get on the board and propel myself towards the shore.
As the time passed, I pushed myself to get into a kneeling, then squatting/standing position and although I never fully stood whilst I was on the wave, I did at least get into an upright position. And I felt amazing. I’d built up surfing into such a big deal, but by breaking it down and starting right at the beginning with some excellent instruction from the Jersey Surf School as part of the Roxy Surf event I was able to conquer that fear. I wonder if in the past the places I’ve had ‘lessons’ from were so desperate to take us out that we ended up in conditions that weren’t the best for beginners.
Doing something that scares us pushes us out of our comfort zone, it forces us to address the reasons why we’re scared in the first place. In fact, studies show that when we attempt activities that scare us we become more productive, prepared for new and unexpected changes, helps us push our boundaries and make it easier to harness your creativity.
However it’s important to give yourself the best possible chance of succeeding, and conquering that fear. Choose a reputable company if you’re attempting something dangerous or that requires specific skills/equipment. Ask the advice of others, prepare yourself in the best way possible so that you can achieve your ‘scary thing’. Believe in yourself and have the confidence to take the first step.
With running, the idea of signing up for a marathon or half marathon, or ultra, might scare the pants out of you, but it’s only by doing it, by paying your money and signing on the dotted line that you’ll find out whether or not you can do it. You’ll discover whether you have the drive and determination to get you to the start and more importantly finish line.
But you’ll never know if you don’t try… and that prospect is far scarier, don’t you think?
What’s the last thing you did that scared the pants off you? What have you been wanting to do for some time, but have been too nervous to do it?