Fear is the biggest thief we’ll ever encounter in our lifetime.
It robs us of our happiness, dreams and most fulfilling life possible.
The real problem is that we let it.
We don’t have to choose fear. We get to be courageous. We get to experience life at it’s highest possibility.
But only if we choose.
I recall a time I spend an entire day on a ropes course with some teammates of mine.
I thought I knew what the day and overall experience would be like. I thought it would be a breeze. After all, I’m an Eagle Scout so I’m no stranger to the woods and outdoor activities like this.
I had no idea how this day would end up changing my life forever.
Fast forward to the last obstacle of the day, the pamper pole. To complete this you had to climb up a 30-foot telephone pole, stand at the top and jump through the air to grab a trapeze.
Sounds pretty exciting right?
Well, it was if you did it in the day time. Unfortunately, my team took longer than expected to get through the other exercises. Now, it was pitch black outside. All we had for light was the flashlights on our phones and the moon.
And being the impatient gawd that I am, I was furious because I now had to climb this gigantic pole in the dark.
I mean it was so dark I could barely see my hand in front of my face.
I kept asking myself, “How am I suppose to climb something I can’t see?”
Every time I asked I got more anxious. One the surface I looked cooler than the other side of the pillow. But on the inside, I grew worried about how this was going to turn out.
I was one of the leaders on the team. I had to complete this obstacle, not just for myself, but for my team.
After what felt like an eternity, the instructor, Steve, called me. It was show time. My entire team was watching and counting on me.
I had my safety gear checked, acknowledged the challenge to my peers and got in position to climb the pole.
I climbed the pole with ease. I grew up climbing trees in my project growing up, that part was easy.
After about 5 seconds top, I reached the final rung.
I can hear the cheers from below, “You can do it Dewane! You got this!”
And I got to the top and placed my hand on the platform that I was supposed to stand on.
Fear consumed me.
All the negative self-talk started.
“How are you supposed to get up here if you can’t see? And this plate is shaking? Nah, they’re buggin! I’m not doing this!”
And stayed there, hunched over 30-feet in the air battling with fear.
I knew I could do it. But deep down inside, there was a part of me that was looking at all the evidence I could find for why I couldn’t.
I started straightening my posture so I could take a deep breathe and find the courage to make a move.
Then I heard Steve call out to me from below.
“Dewane, listen to me. You got this. Look up, step up. That’s it. Look up, step up. You got this.”
And in that moment, something clicked.
As if I came to my senses and realized who I was. Everything came in proper perspective.
Am I really up here nervous about standing on the top of a pole? After all I’ve endured?
And in one swift motion, I looked up at the moon and stood up.
“I did it. I got it.”
I could hear my team erupt into applause as they continued to cheer me on.
Again I heard Steve, “Ok, now turn your head. Look over your right shoulder and keep turning until you’re facing the trapeze.”
Before I knew it I was facing the trapeze that was now swinging back and forth.
“Alright now, jump out and grab the trapeze.”
Steve shouted as he tried to coach me but I was already in the air.
As soon as I grabbed it, my team cheered as if I just hit a game-winning buzzer beater.
I screamed victoriously the entire way down. When I got to the ground my teammates all ran to me and embraced me with hugs and encouraging words.
“That was amazing!”
“You did so great! You looked like a professional!”
I thanked them and quickly walked off into the wood where I could have a moment of privacy.
I needed a moment to gather myself.
And as I reflect on what I had just done, my eyes began to water and I became emotional.
“I got it.”
It wasn’t about the climbing the pole for me. It was about taking that the next step even though I couldn’t see what it looked like.
In the face of darkness, I chose to operate by faith.
I chose to use my senses and trust my intuition. I chose to move forward even though I couldn’t see what was ahead of me.
That day, I learn the lesson of letting fear go.