The photo above is a shot of me reading an emotional post about the death of my father for about 150 people at the Dad 2.0 Summit in Houston last year. It took all of my strength not to cry while doing it and I’m proud that I not only got through it, but that I even got up there and did it in the first place. Doing the things that scare me has kind of become the motto of my life these days and the rewards for doing that have been endless.
Throughout my school years, and I’m talking ALL of them, I was the shy kid who didn’t do anything that would draw attention to himself. I would purposefully take a failing grade on assignments where we had to present in front of the class, because my anxiety was so high that I would get sick just thinking about standing up there in front of everybody. In my Grade 11 music recital, I pretended to play my trumpet because I was afraid that I would be the one to blow it for everybody. I played fastball and hockey, I had my small group of friends and that was it. I thought I was happy.
When my father passed away, I went through a terrible bout of anxiety that basically robbed me of a year of my life. Towards the end of that time, I took a long hard look at my life and decided that I wasn’t living it to the fullest. My unhappiness had nothing to do with my wife or newborn child, though, it was all about me and the lack of effort I was putting into this one, short opportunity we get to spend on this earth. I made a decision to stop feeling sorry for myself and to make the most of the time I had left on this earth.
I’m no doctor but I can tell you that since the day I made that decision, my anxiety has ‘almost’ disappeared and I have never been happier. Instead of shying away from the things that would normally scare me into submission, I am tackling everything head on and worrying about the results after I have finished. Because of this, I have had so many amazing and life changing opportunities that have helped me become a better person, husband and father to my family. Here are just a few of the cool things I have been able to do in my short time as a Fear Hunter:
* Interviewing and Skating with the cast of Disney on Ice
* Speaking at the Dad 2.0 Summit
* Interviewing and making a crazy video with Buckets Blakes of the Harlem Globetrotters
* Ziplining for the first time
* Regular appearances on the CTV Morning Live TV Show (Scariest of the scary)
* Monthly parenting segment on CJAD 800 Montreal radio
* Will act as Community Leader at the upcoming Blissdom Canada conference in October
Every single one of these things is something that scared the crap out of me and every one of them is something that I am proud I accomplished. There are many more as well and each has been as rewarding as the last. My point is, life is short, so if you want to make the most of it, you have to start going after the things that scare you. Now look, I’m not ready to go jumping out of a plane or anything…yet. I’m saying that even small victories are still victories that will lead you to something bigger. Transformation doesn’t happen overnight but it most certainly doesn’t happen if you don’t go after it.
I’ve fallen a few times while chasing down fear but I’m not going to let it beat me anymore. My father always went after his dreams and while it took me a little while to catch on, this is definitely something I want my kids to remember about me. So let’s hear it. What are the scary things that are holding you back?