“The scariest moment is just before you start.” –Stephen King
As a person who lives with a lot of fear, I can certainly attest to the validity of this statement. So much of what we are scared of is the anticipation of what might happen or the uncertainty of what to expect. The what-ifs of life can keep us stuck in the familiar, the known. It’s not until we challenge our fear, that we are able to move through and past it. I’m not saying that this is a good time to overcome our fear of bears. That seems like a pretty valid fear. I am saying that our fears of trying something new, like going back to school or applying for that promotion, can seem really scary all the way up until we take that first step.
I’ve spent a lot of years wanting to complete my education. Life circumstances interrupted that process more than 20 years ago. But, every time I thought about returning to school, or even taking a class, all the what-ifs would bubble up. It’s been so long. What if it’s too hard? What if I’m too old? What if I can’t do it? Just over a year ago, with my son’s insistence and financial support, I enrolled in school. It has been challenging and at times frustrating, but also enjoyable and enriching. Bit by bit, the fear and uncertainty are subsiding. Well, the school-related fears anyway.
So, the next time we’re considering something new and the what-ifs start swirling, maybe we can add one more what-if to the mix: What if it’s awesome? And then, just start.
Judi Holder is the Program Director for RI International’s San Diego programs and has been with the company for almost 20 years. She is the author of the Wellness and Empowerment in Life and Living (WELL) 4th edition and the co-author of Creating Healthy Habits, a five-session program to help people develop the skills and tools for healthy lifestyle choices. Judi has shared about her own personal recovery experience with service providers throughout the country.