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Facing Fear, New Year

In a time of upheaval and concern for how the world may be changing, my New Year’s resolution was to do something that scares me in some way every day. I’m not a hugely fearful person, but I certainly have my blocks. As a coach I ask my clients to face fears and make the changes they want to make. This is a stand for myself and for them that I do the same - not just in principle, in general, but every single day.

What I’m experiencing, bit by vital, sparkling bit, is what I learn every day in coaching – that fear has little grounding in reality. So far I’ve had experiences, interactions and conversations that have not only been fine, despite my apprehension, but positively, enjoyably excellent. Research shows this, we're bad at anticipating how we'll feel in the future. For things that scare me, my imagination makes monsters of the negatives and often fails to notice the positives altogether. Happily, action brings them to a dancing, shining prominence.

On New Year’s day, howling wind and cloud-scudded skies made the prospect of swimming in the Irish Sea off the coast of Wales somewhat daunting. A fear of cold since childhood was a serious obstacle to my determination to do it. The presence of friends helped a lot – as it has on many of my subsequent challenges.

In reality it was glorious. Cold, yes, but invigorating, glorious, playful, ridiculous cold. In the end I skinny dipped, streaking naked out of the water and across the beach, buoyed up for the new year by adrenaline and a definite sense of achievement. We dressed, laughed, took photographs (clothed) and began the steep, muddy ascent back to the car and the cottage for tea in front of the roaring fire. Day one, and it was good. Frivolous, ridiculous, superb good.

What's fear stopping you doing?

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