Fear as Fuel

By Michele Porterfield

A few weekends ago we took our kids skiing for the day. In a few years they can ski unsupervised, but for now taking them skiing means we are right behind them.

I haven’t skied in years myself, so to be honest it was not a day I was particularly looking forward to.

While I did not personally make it off the bunny hill other than once all day, the kids made great progress on much bigger slopes with my husband and had a real blast.

You never know in life when you will hear something or read something that teaches you (or gently reminds you) of those “life lessons”, but I got my gentle reminder at the slopes that day.   In between using all of my effort to keep watch over the kids and make sure I did not completely embarrass myself or break any bones, I overheard a conversation between a mother her daughter who was about 7 – a very brief exchange but one that stuck with me throughout the day.

As they approached the end of the slope and were working their way to the lift for another run, the daughter complained to her mom “I don’t want to ski anymore mom, I feel scared?” – to which the mother quickly and confidently replied “c’mon Kassie let’s go, FEAR IS HOW YOU LEARN!”.   Kassie mumbled something I couldn’t quite make out, but in that moment I was struck by what was said and reminded about how simple yet impactful her words felt. FEAR IS HOW YOU LEARN.

I figured if she was right (which I already knew but did not feel like admitting in that very moment) I better upgrade from the bunny hill filled with mostly little ones to prove to myself that skiing FOR REAL is not as scary as it seems from afar. I ultimately managed to make it down just fine and did it a few more times on my own so that I could proudly tell my kids and husband about my big accomplishment.

For the next few days I kept thinking of this total stranger’s words and how they apply to other parts of both my own life and the lives of my clients.   When is the last time I was afraid?   What am I afraid of and why? Am I living in my comfort zone? What’s the worst that could happen? What’s the best thing that could happen? The list goes on.

So….when is the last time you were afraid in your life or in your work, and what are you missing out on learning as a result?” Just something to think about on your car ride home today.

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