As far as overcoming fears is concerned, I know what I’m talking about. When I was young I had tons of them and there are some I still retain all these years later. One of my biggest fears was of swimming in the ocean and drowning. As I explained in my personal story “Chicken of the Sea”, I almost drowned when I was young while swimming at Atlantic City, NJ. For years after moving to Long Island I refused to go into the ocean and thus I earned the moniker chicken of the sea from my friends.
It wasn’t until I was a Junior in High School that my friends finally convinced me to try surfing. While I only rode the board in a prone position that day it changed everything for me. The sport gave me a sense of courage and self esteem I hadn’t thought possible. But boy did I miss a lot of fun before that time because of giving into my fears.
To this day, I still have self doubts about my abilities and constantly am faced with trying to overcome my fears. Even though I am a certified ski and snowboard professional instructor, whenever I travel to a new mountain I get myself all psyched out about being able to handle the black diamond slopes.
And even though I am a professional surfing instructor and former competitive surfer I still get psyched out whenever a huge swell is in the water or I travel to a new surf spot. I remember the first time I surfed in Hawaii I nearly freaked out after catching my first wave and looking down and seeing all of the coral and sea urchins below me that looked like they were inches below the bottom due to the crystal clear water.
Fortunately I have always had the intestinal fortitude to overcome those fears and take on the challenge. I have honestly never (as yet) backed down from any swell, mountain or trail and have surfed at venues throughout the US and Hawaii. I have also attempted rails and pro level jumps and rode through woods on my snowboard.
Fortunately I have this innate ability to not let my fears get the best of me but boy have I wasted a lot of energy fretting over it in advance.
It seems to me that tackling new and challenging things is actually very liberating and rewarding. When I lost my job in industry I was devastated and wondered what I would do next and how I would survive financially but in actuality it freed me to write and work on my art, surf more and do volunteer activities and somehow through it all we have survived and I am happier than ever.
There is so much I would never have experienced if I had given into my fears so don’t let yours get the better of you and keep you from having fun and learning new things.
Thanks for checking in. Aloha, Paul