It Might Take A Little Courage But…
“Everything You Have Ever Wanted Is Sitting Just The Other Side Of Fear” - George Addair.
A few years ago, when I was still living in South Africa my wife and I went on a walking safari in the Timbavati Nature Reserve adjacent to the Kruger National Park.
Now this is big 5 country so we had an armed guide with us, ‘just in case’.
Early one morning, not long after a beautiful dawn had broken, we were out on the trail in an area where the guide knew there was a cantankerous old buffalo bull.
I was following closely behind the guide, keen to see any action, with my wife a few paces behind.
As we walked I started to pick up a bovine scent and whispered to the guide that I could smell something. He whispered that we were near where the old bull tended to hang out so we had better be quiet and keep alert.
It wasn’t too much longer before there was a loud cracking of branches and the old bull made a mock charge from about 50 yards away. He only came a few yards then looked at us with malice and suddenly wheeled off into the bush.
My heart was pounding but I was filled with a strange feeling of fear and excitement. We stayed put for a while before the guide whispered that it had gone and started walking again.
The fear had sharpened all my senses and it wasn’t long before I saw a darker shadow in the bushes not too far away. I whispered urgently to the guide: “I can see it” I said. “Where?” was the reply.
“Right ahead.” I said.
We had stopped now and the guide peered into the shadows of the bush but said “No, it’s OK, there’s nothing there.” and started to take a pace forward right toward the old bull.
I whispered as loudly as I dared “I can see it! It’s right th…” when suddenly there was a loud rendering as the bush exploded and a black mountain of angry, quivering flesh erupted outward… straight toward us.
It was the old bull and he looked serious this time.
The guard dropped to the ground bringing up his .458, I dropped likewise whilst my wife was off like Usain Bolt - nothing was going to stop her. There were a couple of other people with our party behind her but they were felled like skittles at the bowling alley as my wife charged through. The poor guys had no idea what hit them or what was going on.
As the guide was getting ready to try and shoot the old bull to save us, for some reason, call it fear, the guide and I both started shouting in unison. We yelled as loudly as we could, at the buffalo. (The written word cannot do justice to the level of sound we produced in that moment.)
The bull was flummoxed; not only had an olympic sprinter disappeared into the distance, leaving only dust behind, but his two prime targets had similarly vanished, to be replaced by this incredible wall of noise. Some kind of magic was going on and he was having none of it…
He stopped dead in his tracks and, showing a remarkable agility for such a mountain, turned on a dime and charged the other way. He left behind scored earth, a cloud of dust and some very nervous people.
We listened to the crashing of the bush as the bull made his getaway, for a minute or two, then gingerly got to our feet and backed away. We collected the others on our way and found my wife on the finish line of her gold medal dash. Then, as we started to consider our near miss, started chattering together like a group of nervous monkeys for a while, relieved to have escaped.
My senses were in hyperdrive, everything was enhanced, my sense of smell, hearing and eyesight were incredible. I had so much adrenalin rushing through my veins that I could spot an ant moving at 50 paces. What an experience…
It didn’t really sink in at the time, but afterwards, with a little reflection, I picked up the lesson that was so poignantly driven home in that moment of fear:
When you face your fears it is amazing the confidence & courage you get.
Let that sink in for a moment…
Because fear is one of the main factors holding people back from achieving their goals. Oh, it might be disguised in some way but if you look deeply enough you’ll find fear in the backdrop.
It could be fear of change, fear of making a mistake and looking a fool, fear of failure or even fear of success…
So take a moment and ask yourself a few questions.
Have you ever thought about what is holding you back or what it is that is preventing you from being the super confident or successful person that, deep down, you yearn to be?
How about that project you keep meaning to get started with but, somehow, just never seem to get going?
If you were to spend a little time thinking about it I am sure you would find that fear is at the root of your procrastination.
Be honest with yourself, and then just go ahead and get started with whatever you want to do. Don’t think about the ‘ifs’ and the ‘buts’, just get going. Take the smallest step you can immediately and soon your fear will turn into excitement as you realise what you can achieve because…
As George Addair so wisely said: “Everything you have ever wanted is sitting just the other side of fear.”
And, if you need a little help along the way, feel free to drop me a line. Sometimes, even the most challenging fears are easier to overcome with a ‘partner’ onboard.
Good luck, and don’t let fear put you off achieving your New Year’s resolutions!