Courage is never to let your actions be influenced by your fears!
I am not sure that even my closest friends know this about me, but I have actually lived my entire life fearful of a variety of things...mostly about things that I cannot control. My fears are not based on any actual experiences with scary incidents, and at times this can be very frustrating. When I was a child, if my mom was even five minutes late coming home I was sure she had gotten into an accident and that I was going to be an orphan. I am paralyzingly afraid of the dark, afraid of change, afraid of failure, afraid of gaining my weight back, afraid of what people think of me, and the list goes on and on.
During Ironman training I was afraid of drowning on the swim, afraid of falling off my bike, and afraid that after all that hard work I would not make it across the finish line before the cutoff. And while I truly experience all these fears and more, what I think makes me proud is that I try to never let these fears stop me from setting new challenges for myself.
For example, I worked for many years as a primary grade teacher at the same elementary school, and I was afraid of leaving this position. I was afraid I wasn't good enough, and I was afraid of meeting new people--what if they didn't like me the way the teachers at my school did? It is because of these exact fears that I forced myself to apply for a position as a new teacher support provider, and I have been so happy that I left my little comfort zone to try something different.
So today when I chose to hike the Mount Woodson Trail in Poway to celebrate my friend Jeremiah's birthday, I knew that the top of the hike would lead us to Potato Chip Rock, which juts out over the landscape below. And I never once even allowed myself to think that I could get away without stepping out onto this rock for a picture. Once out on the rock, I began to feel those familiar swimming feelings of dizziness, but I refused to let that stop me from getting a photo of my accomplishment. I wasn't quite brave enough to go to the very edge, but maybe that will be my next challenge.
We all have fears, but it is important that we not allow those fears to dictate what we will and will not do. Work through those fears and, like me, you will feel strong, successful, and very, very proud of all you were able to accomplish!