False Evidence Appearing Real. In the photo above, I was on a 35-day trip to celebrate my 35th birthday in Nafplio, Greece. The place of interest is Palamidi Castle. An old fortress that was built over three centuries ago.
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.
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 it out yet, I’m afraid of heights. As far as I can remember, my phobia of heights has been with me. Heights or not, I was determined to make the most of my birthday vacay and create fond memories.
I embarked upon the journey across town walking down narrow streets. Discovering picturesque squares at every turn. Easily, I could have changed my mind. Instead, I chose to motivate myself with self-talk. I gave myself confidence and permission to face my fears (and 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. Gradually, the confidence from the self-talk kicked in.
I began my journey and came to a stopping point. Frozen and couldn’t go anymore. Suddenly, 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:
- As a part of his physical regimen, he walks up and down the steps.
- He didn’t mind escorting me to the top and down.
- He vacations in Nafplio for a month every year.
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 false evidence appearing real.
Three Quotes Come To Mind
1) The great motivational speaker Les Brown said F.E.A.R. is
“False Evidence Appearing Real.”Les Brown
2) The Nike slogan
“Just Do It”
A scene from the Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade movie illustrates faith perfectly.
In this particular scene, Indiana Jones faces a giant chasm. He could have accepted defeat and turned back. Thankfully, he chose to take a leap of faith. Immediately, an invisible bridge (money/idea/resource) appeared.
3) Franklin D. Roosevelt said it best:
“The only thing you have to fear is fear itself”Franklin D. Roosevelt
Five Years Later Overcoming F.E.A.R.
I’m still afraid of heights but in the words of Susan Jeffers, I feel the fear and do it anyway. Since conquering the Palamidi Castle, I’ve done some scary things (to me anyway). As I think over my life, especially since the global pandemic, I’ve been playing it too safe. I’ve become TOO comfortable.
It felt like 2020 was all about survival. How to make it out of 2020 alive? I was not living my life’s sermon which is to T.H.R.I.V.E. in spite of challenging times. Which leads to questions of self-reflection. Have I been living in fear subconsciously? What am I afraid of now? Failure? Success?
A Return To Love
Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people will not feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It is not just in some of us; it is in everyone and as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give others permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.
The Fear of Success
I think Marianne Williamson has a point. Similar to my fear of heights, I possibly have a fear going of higher in life. Who am I NOT to be “brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous (especially as I approach forty)? I pledge to myself to no longer fear tapping into my greatness and strengths. I’m sure this fear of success stems from so many experiences in my life that I have yet to process. Until then, I want to adhere to some rules that will liberate me from the fear of success.
My Rules For Success
- Don’t Always Choose The Path of Least Resistance. Daniel said it best, I’m lazy. My two favorite words are automation and delegation. My favorite question: Is there an app for that? Technology has made our lives so much easier. I personally prefer a life of leisure but there is a time and place for everything. My lofty goals are not only going to require more of my leisure time but more effort as well. This is easier said than done which leads me to my next rule.
- Possess Personal Integrity. Stephen Covey, the author of the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, defines personal integrity as the ability to make and keep commitments to ourselves. It’s a common practice especially for women to prioritize our loved ones, jobs, and communities over our wellness, ambitions, and development. I’m getting better at this especially as it pertains to my physical and mental well-being. Last but not least,
- Build My Inner Confidence. People that know me may find this shocking. My sister says that I’m secure insecure. But I want to unapologetically learn to love every fiber of my being – physically, emotionally, and mentally. I want to show up every day as the authentic me. I know I’m a piece of work (Daniel can attest to that) but I want to unveil the masterpiece within. Marianne quoted Michelangelo saying “Every block of stone has a statue inside it and it is the task of the sculptor to discover it.” I’m committed to finding Chalanda Michelle daily.
What Do You Fear?
Fear will prevent you from reaching your highest, truest, fullest expression of yourself. Two ways to overcome your fear is to admit what your are afraid of and intentionally (and somewhat aggressively) carry out a plan to tackle your fear. I would love to hear from you. Chime in the comments below.