It’s a phrase I recall learning early in my childhood. ” Do one thing every day that scares you”. Those words of Eleanor Roosevelt, for whatever reason, sunk in and took hold. I am not sure why, but if I would have to guess, maybe I recognized the value of challenging myself on a daily basis.
Even though my resolution for this year is too eat healthy. But I am going to also try to live by the above quote. Do I think I will be able to live by this rule every day of 2017? If I am going to be honest, HELL NO!!! But I am going to try to apply it to my life as often as possible.
We all now that fear comes in many forms. Spiders, heights, and death can cause hearts to race faster and faces to cringe, but there are more subtle fears that can inspire with just as much power. For me, these include rejection, commitment, speaking up, meeting new people, uncertainty of the future. Some of the things that I do on a regular basis don’t induce a palpable fear response in my body quite, the same way that they do for others, but other things, like confrontation, can cause an all out panic attack in me.
Fear is a great motivator for day-to-day actions. Consider some of the things you avoid on a daily basis… parallel parking, phone calls, mental math, telling your boss that you deserve a raise. It’s easy to claim you simply don’t have the energy to do such things. Or that you simple are not capable. But I’d argue that behind your aversion is fear. It could be fear of failure or fear of success, fear of the unknown. And maybe you’re not ready to break those habits, and maybe you never will be.
But if a small part of you wants to do all of those little things without thinking twice, give it a shot. The purpose of this exercise is to transform yourself. To conquer those small fears, and therefore increasing your control and empowerment. It’s a means to ward of stagnation in your habits, to push your own limits of comfort and security. By living this type of life, we will impose fewer self-imposed limits.
In doing one thing every day that scares me, I am not looking to illicit terror, sweats, or a state of panic. What I aim to do is to conquer a small challenges. And in doing so gain a fractional amount of self-confidence and satisfaction.
So what on earth am I planning to do? Well I am glad you asked. Here’s an example. I find that when I’m in public places, I see strangers, whom I admire certain qualities. They may have great humor, grace, wit, physical attractiveness or the intelligence. A comment such as, “you’re hilarious!” is easy for me. However, telling them honest that, “I’m drawn to your personality and I’d like to be friends with you” is, for me, a whole different ball game. When I do muster up the pugnacity to do it, I know it will give me a deep thrill. A little high. Maybe they look at me like I just sprouted a third ear, but it’s not their receptiveness that matters – it’s the way I feel after doing something that I’d normally shy away from. It feels great.
Oftentimes the source of fear is obscured, and the biggest barrier in overcoming it is acknowledging that maybe our perceived threats are larger in our minds. Now hear me out. What do you really have to lose by requesting a promotion you feel you deserve? If anything, any boss worth their stuff will respect your gumption even if they can’t grant your request. Doing one thing every day that scares you is not about the outcome, it’s about the process.
I’ve realized that this mantra does not have to be interpreted literally. It was an idea floating around in my mind for many years before I tried to make a habit of it. But training your mind to consider things that you normally balk at is a great first step.
Change a tire on your car, so when you really need to, you’ll know how. Ride the elevator. Get up at the bar and do karaoke! (There’s always someone worse than you). Pitch a crazy idea. Wear those ridiculous pink tiger leggings with gold chains to Zumba class. Be brave. Have courage. Let these tiny accomplishments build up your reserves for when you face the big guns.