Plunging Fearlessly Into Your Future
One of my favorite scenes in “Finding Nemo” takes place in the whale’s mouth.
You remember this? Marlin’s freaking out and holding onto the whale’s tonsil for dear life as Dory blissfully swishes from end to end, encouraging him to “let go!”
Dory: “He says, ‘It’s time to let go!’ Everything’s going to be okay!”
Marlin: “How do you know? How do you know something bad isn’t going to happen?”
Dory: “I don’t!”
(Editor’s note: I’ve been home for six months with my two year old. Yes, I have “Finding Nemo” memorized. It’s not like Zoe’s letting me watch “War & Peace,” or I’d have a more intellectual reference for you.)
But the point is, no matter how bad things might have been for us in the past, sometimes we all hold on with all 20 fingers and toes to the horribleness than take a chance on the unseen future.
Facing The Fear:
“The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown.” – H. P. Lovecraft
What’s the worst thing that can happen if you leave the fear of the unknown behind and plunge into the future? Usually, the answer is “things could get worse!” Dr Ted Robbins advises to “go through the scenarios in your head. Jot down your thoughts and expectations. Really take a look at the list and see what’s unrealistic and what is likely. How can you best encourage the outcome you want?” Sometimes, simply facing your fears is enough to make them look a little small and silly in the daylight.
Taking The Plunge:
Martin Luther King – “You don’t have to see the whole staircase to take the first step.”
The rollercoaster picture above is my favorite new image–I have it on my vision board and use it to visualize the future I’m working torwards. What do you want to plunge into fearlessly? A new job? A career change? A better, more productive relationship with your sweetheart, your kiddo, your mom? Here’s some suggestions from Jeff Wise, author of Extreme Fear: The Science of Your Mind in Danger
- Get fit: a healthy cardiovasclar system helps you think more clearly and reduces stress hormones that clog your emotions.
- Think small: focus on one chunk at a time to keep from feeling overwhelmed or panic.
- Expose yourself: this one is hard, I know that. Share your Big Plunge with smart, like-minded people, accept encouragement and advice.
- Enjoy the ride: okay, today’s efforts fell short. But you made the effort. Tomorrow’s strides will be longer. But look back and enjoy the process, not just the goal.