How do you handle fear? Many of us stand still, afraid to go forward and wishing we could go back. Being in limbo, dealing with anxiety, or being nervous about something that may or may not happen is really common. We’ve all got that “hesitation” to a certain degree and some have it worse than others. One aging woman had discovered the secret to dealing with fear and freely gave the answer to a 6-year-old girl. Even decades later, her sister still remembers it.
I was 13 years old, trying to teach my 6 year old sister how to dive into a swimming pool from the side of the pool. It was taking quite a while as my sister was really nervous about it. We were at a big, public pool, and nearby there was a woman, about 75 years old, slowly swimming laps.
Occasionally she would stop and watch us. Finally she swam over to us just when I was really putting the pressure on, trying to get my sister to try the dive, and my sister was shouting, “but I’m afraid!! I’m so afraid!!”
The old woman looked at my sister, raised her fist defiantly in the air and said, “So be afraid! And then do it anyway!”
That was 35 years ago and I have never forgotten it. It was a revelation — it’s not about being unafraid. It’s about being afraid and doing it anyway.”
It’s a form of bravery that can be admired. It’s dealing with that crippling fear and forcing yourself to deal with it. Finding the answer, moving forward, and doing things that scare us makes us human. And it’s advice that we can all live by.
The next time you find yourself hesitating, whether its asking a stranger for help or even just answering the phone at work, think about this woman’s advice. Be scared. Do it anyway.
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