When a resolute young fellow steps up to the great bully, the world, and takes him boldly by the beard, he is often surprised to find it comes off in his hand, and that it was only tied on to scare away the timid adventurers.
Ralph Waldo Emerson
I’d like to go back in time and give Ralph a big ole high-five for that one…
I am compelled to write this blog because of an amazing experience I had on Saturday afternoon. Let’s jump right in. In the past several weeks since announcing my goal of completing the Oakland to Miami flight I have been experiencing bouts of fear. Fear that the planning was too much for me to handle, fear of unknown variables about the flight, fear that some puzzle piece would go missing and I would be left with an uncompleted goal. This wasn’t the kind of fear that kept me up at night or stopped my in my tracks, this was the kind of fear that was just strong enough to dull my usual panache-y ways and keep my mind from focusing on what was really calling me to complete such a grand adventure. This fear was a pesky itch that I just couldn’t scratch.
Saturday morning came around and I headed out to Aurora for our 9 Cares Colorado Shares food drive. I was dumbfounded by how many viewers who came to drop off donations had been reading the blog! Smiling faces of strangers were walking up to me and cheering me on, asking detailed questions about the route, the plane, and also asking the wonderful question, “What’s next?”. It dawned on me that while I am firmly grounded in the whys of this trip I still had some wishy-washy answers when it came to the hows. Days, times, fuel, expenses, weather… obviously important questions that I had been procrastinating on when it came to planning my trip. I was giving vague, meaningless answers and moving along to the romantic side of the flight. I felt stupid. It struck me that this could be the fear that was rolling around in my head and my heart! If I followed though, wrote out a detailed plan, made commitments and mapped out the week, this would make it REAL. The problem with REAL is that it is scary, it is edgy and it pushes you to be transparent and vulnerable. REAL means you are in action. REAL is not sitting on the couch. REAL is getting out and flying the plane.
It is all fun and games to have a grand dream, then run around telling people that you are going to do big things… it is a whole other thing to actually get out there and DO IT. I realized yesterday it was time to face my fears about the trip by taking a realistic look at the hows. How EXACTLY am I going to pull this off? What questions do I need to find answers to in order to clear my mind and focus on the wonderful experience I am going through? It was time to WRITE IT DOWN.
My flight instructor John was in Denver this weekend, so I asked him to meet me at the downtown Tattered Cover Bookstore. I told him I wanted to map out the KOAK-KMIA trip in full detail… airports, fuel burn, costs, even pop up variables and how we would work around unforeseeable changes in the trip. We walked upstairs to the map section, grabbed two beautiful, huge Atlases, a brand new thick blank journal, and why not… a huge map of the world, just in case. If you have never been to Tattered Cover downtown, you have to check it out. This gorgeous old building just screams inspiration. The old brick walls are practically dripping with juicy prose, just think of how many tales have passed in and out of that bookstore! Back to flight planning… we sat down in a wooden booth and took a realistic look at the trip. John used his iPad for airport information and I had the pleasure of making the first pen mark in an untouched, blank journal. That is a feeling that I cherish…
Before I knew it, we had a clear plan! The feeling of fear that I had been carrying around for the last several weeks was floating away. I suddenly felt courageous, organized, powerful. It may seem like an obvious step, but through procrastination I had let such a simple factor take on a life of it’s own. I was avoiding pinning down dates and distances, etc. because without those, it is just a possibility. There is no need to be afraid of backing out of the trip; there is nothing to fear when you clearly map out your goals.
I shared this exciting news with my Mom… her encouragement let me know I was absolutely on the right track.
Sometimes the simplest conclusions have the biggest impact. My goals are real and there will be lots of details along the way that need to be faced, head on. Avoiding the fear does not make it go away, in fact, it turns little tasks into dragons. Yesterday I faced my fear and today I feel calm, focused, at ease knowing that my goals are entirely 100% attainable.
Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy.