Do The Thing Anyway

September 7th, 2009

holding hand of god

 

“When you have fear and do the thing anyway, you are holding on to the hand of God.”
(Edwene Gaines, The Four Spiritual Laws of Prosperity)

 

 

Wouldn’t it be freeing to be completely fearless?  Never feel the fear of trying new things, taking on new challenges.  I think I’d settle for just feeling less fear.  I’m okay with feeling just enough fear to know that I’m attempting something important, but not enough to scare the you-know-what out of me.

 

In all reality, I think there are very few of us who feel no fear.  But I’m sure there are plenty of us who feel the fear and do it anyway, to paraphrase Edwene Gaines.  And what gets us to hold our breath, close our eyes, take the leap and hope for the best?  Faith.  Simple and pure.

 

on the edge

 

Even if you don’t consider yourself a faithful follower of any particular religion, I know that you have practiced holding the hand of some being greater than yourself.  Life requires it, lest we be held hostage under the covers of our bed 24/7.  Afterall, the news and the naysayers are always more than ready to remind us of the worst case scenario for any decision we are embarking upon.  What if this, that or the other calamity happens as a result of us taking the leap?

 

Do we know that when we buy our first car, it won’t be stolen or damaged?  Do we know for sure that it’s the perfectly right time to have a child and all the parenting skills we need will rise to the surface the minute we need them?  Do we know that the plane we are boarding will not crash in the ocean, the spouse we are marrying will not leave us, the new job we take will not disappoint us, and on and on and on.  Enough already!

  

It’s all too easy to let the fear stop us from playing big.  But you know that you can’t win

big if you don’t play big.  No Olympic athlete ever won the high dive competition by staying on the ground.  So how does one get to the edge of the 30-foot platform, on tippy toes (sometimes even the handstand thing…scares me just to watch them) and push off?  You got it…holding the hand of God or Spirit or Buddha or….you know what I mean…faith.

 

 fearless jump

 

There will never be a guarantee that feeling the fear and taking the leap anyway will result in the best case scenario, but for me staying stagnant and letting the fear keep me from living is my worst case scenario.  And just by working through the fear once, we have a basis for hoping for the best next time around.

 

Believe me, I wouldn’t be the person I am today if I had let all of my fears keep me from living.  I wouldn’t speak Spanish if I hadn’t taken the leap and moved to South America for two years.  I wouldn’t have my lovely teenage daughter if I had waited for just the right time to have a baby.  I wouldn’t  have my funny, loving husband if I had let my previous divorce define me as a failure at marriage.  I wouldn’t work in my current career if I had been too afraid to go back to school at age 30.  I wouldn’t enjoy my home if I had been too afraid to invest in the real estate market.  (I did invest in the dot.com stock market in 2001 and lost it all…I survived).

 

 leap of faith

 

My point is that for every risk that doesn’t pan out the way you had hoped, you can probably find evidence of many that did.  Focus on those as your source of faith-building.  For every “what if it doesn’t work out?”, there’s a “what if it does?”  If given the choice of two possible outcomes, positive or negative, why not choose to focus on the positive possibilities?

 

I invite you make a list of risks you’ve taken in the past that required you working through some fear.  Did you survive them?  Did you learn something from them?  Have they made you who you are today?  Keep this list handy and refer to it the next time you are afraid to do something your heart is calling you to do.  You don’t have to be fearless to fear less. 

 

Life is good!  Namaste.  –Lori


6 Responses to “Do The Thing Anyway”

  1. This is very inspiring stuff, Lori. I have been struggling with this (re: my job) for over a year now. Although I’m getting closer and closer to quitting, I still am hampered by the fear of failure, and the fear of the unknown. Sometimes I feel like a kid learning how to ride a bike: I still need the training wheels.

    But perhaps, someday soon, I will have enough faith to take those wheels off, and fly. Thanks for this encouraging post!

  2. Jay – Training wheels aren’t so bad. You still get to ride…just at a slower pace :-)

  3. Wow, this is a wonderful post. It really resonated with me, considering what I wrote about this week, although I was thinking about the fuel for facing fears being love. Perhaps from a certain perspective love and faith are the same thing. Thanks for sharing.

  4. Lori — This is such an affirming post! It is hard to know when fear is telling you to be cautious for a good reason or fear is holding you back.

    I’ve had so many job changes in my life and as I suffer from “fear of failure” these all been times of great uncertainty and fear for me. But, using your example and looking back, I can honestly say I don’t regret what happened. I didn’t know at the time, but I was getting closer to do something that was very fulfilling for me.

    I appreciate how this post made me reflect on this:~)

  5. Great post, as I had to face a decision not too long ago. Do I follow my heart and the unknown, or do I play it safe? I followed my heart, and it did not work out the way I wanted, but I am much happier because I did, and wouldn’t have it any other way.

  6. @ Sara – Uncertainty is kind of like the underbrush that intertwines with the path of life where there are no guarantees, isn’t it? I’ve been teaching for 20 years and I still get nervous when I have a peer observe me. While I feel comfortable in my own shoes (or classroom, to be more precise), I still fear that I could be doing it better.

    @ Urban Cowboy – I hear ya. Things usually work out the way they’re going to work out, regardless of our desires. By the way, I loved your post about Cowboy Boots.

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