The smile on my face nor the word “happy” on my shirt indicated my true feelings prior to taking this photo. If I’m honest with myself (and you), I was frightened. My fear did not seem like false evidence appearing real in the present moment.
I was in Nafplio, Greece. A city I visited while on a 35-day trip to celebrate my 35th birthday. The place of interest is the Palamidi Castle. An old fortress that was built over three centuries ago.
The fortress sits on the top of a high hill. It provides spectacular views of the town and surrounding area. To obtain this highly coveted view of the town, it’s “rumored” that one must climb 999 stairs to the top.
Facing My Fear
If you haven’t figured out yet, I’m afraid of heights. My phobia of heights has been with me as far as I can remember and it still rears its ugly head every now and then. Heights or not, I was determined to make the most of my birthday vacay and create fond memories.
I embarked upon the journey cross town walking down narrow streets. Discovering picturesque squares at every turn. Easily, I could have changed my mind. Instead, I motivated myself with self-talk. Yes, I was talking to myself. I was giving myself confidence and permission to not only face my fears but to conquer my fears.
I made it to step numero uno or νούμερο ένα in Greek. Terrified looking at the top of the hill where the fortress towered over the small city. I paced back and forth at the entrance. Then I decided to take step number one, then step number two, then step number three then a few more steps.
I came to a stopping point. Frozen and couldn’t go anymore, an angel appeared. I don’t remember his name or what he looked like or where he’s from. I do remember bits and pieces of our conversation:
- He had walked up and down the steps several times before I arrived as a part of his physical regimen.
- He would be delighted to escort me to the top and down.
- Every year he vacations in Nafplio for a month or so.
- (Side Note: Filed that thought in the back of my mind, every year vacation for a month somewhere, check.)
I’m sure you know the ending to my story. I made it to the top of the Palamidi Castle and it was very rewarding and not as frightening as it appeared. The fear was indeed false evidence appearing real.
Three Quotes Come To Mind
1) Taken from the great motivational speaker Les Brown, F.E.A.R. is
“False Evidence Appearing Real.”Les Brown
I had nothing to fear. There are far scarier things in this world than climbing 999 stairs. The feeling of accomplishment that comes afterward far exceeds the initial feeling of fear.
2) The Nike slogan
“Just Do It”
In biblical terms, “Walk by Faith and Not by Sight” (2 Corinthians 5:7). Countless biblical analogies can support this thesis.
I’ll keep it simple and refer to a scene from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade movie.
In this particular scene, Indiana Jones faces a giant chasm. He could have accepted defeat and turned back. Instead, he took the first step and an invisible bridge (money/idea/venture/romance/resource) appeared.
You can replace the word “bridge” with anything you fear.
3) Franklin D. Roosevelt said it best:
“The only thing you have to fear is fear itself”Franklin D. Roosevelt
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