Last summer, I took my daughter on a cruise to Italy and Greece. A highlight of our trip was a visit to the stunning, famed Santorini. As we approached the island, I was awestruck. The island is spectacular, almost magical.
It was truly breathtaking. I was mesmerized by the beauty… until I started to focus on the high, steep cliffs. My fear of heights overwhelmed me as I realized those tiny, picturesque towns we wanted to explore were on top of those cliffs.
As I contemplated my options, I tried to quell the feeling of dread that was overcoming me. My daughter stared at me knowingly, grabbed my hand and suggested that we could stay on the ship and not visit the island. She said it wouldn’t be a big deal not to see it up close.
Her words shook me out of my thoughts. What was I doing? How could I possibly be thinking about sitting on the ship while this awesome island was waiting for us to explore? Was I really going to let those cliffs stand in the way of me and my daughter experiencing the beauty that was in front of us?
I looked her in the eye and said – NO, I’m not afraid. And, with that, we tendered ashore and headed toward the cable car to climb those steep cliffs. Although I was shaking, I turned my attention to our beautiful destination and just kept walking.
And just like that, in that moment, I stepped over and through one of my fears. And, it felt pretty great.
But how often do we actually do that?
I think all too often we sit on the sidelines, we let fear stop us. We get blocked by our insecurities and they loom so large that we can’t see the beauty that is just ahead.
Once upon a time, I was labeled a “Fun, Fearless Female,” by a national magazine. It was nice and I enjoyed the mention. But, back then, I didn’t think of myself as being fearless. Fun yes, but fearless no. In my mind, I was just someone who liked to jump in and take chances. It seemed normal and natural.
As we get older, I think we can lose that. We don’t ask for a raise… because we’re afraid the answer will be no. We don’t speak up in meetings… because we’re afraid our ideas will be disregarded. We don’t go for the promotion or the dream job… because we’re afraid we won’t get it.
We stop reaching for the great and settle for good enough… because we’re afraid of the bad.
Of course, it’s good to have a healthy sense of trepidation sometimes. I’m not suggesting we should take foolish risks. I just think it’s important to keep things in perspective. When left unchecked, our fears creep up on us, little by little, over time, until they overwhelm us and block out the beauty that is right in front of us. And that’s a shame, because there’s plenty of beauty in front of us, just waiting for us to explore.
Since that trip to Greece, I’ve been doing my very best to step over and through my fears. I’m keeping a keen eye on what’s in front of me and my plan is to focus on the beauty that lies ahead.