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Conquering Fear and The Big Scary Hill

Today is the day! I’m going to do it today! All the neighborhood kids have done it! I need to do it today!

I have to admit I’m a bit nervous as I pull on my long underware, flannel lined pants and itchy wool socks. I tuck my undershirt into my pants and add a bulky sweater.

Its still snowing as I look out the window. I can feel my heart beating in my chest. Yes, I can do it today.

I wrap a scarf around my neck 2 times and one more time across my mouth, pull on my wool cap and add my winter jacket. Pulling on my rubber snow boots I finally add my favorite mittens and make my way to the door.

“On my way out”, I yell, “Bye Mom, I’m going to play in the snow with Barbara and Richie”

If she only knew where I was going she would have stopped me. I can’t let that happen, not today.

Entering the Garage I see it. My Flexible Flyer. It is standing there mocking me. Well mock no more sled. Today I’m going to do it!

I pull my sled out onto the snow covered driveway and join the other children walking down the street in the snow.

We are all walking in the same direction toward the woods at the end of the street.

Some of the kids are laughing and horsing around throwing snowballs at each other.

Not me! I am concentrating on staying calm as I pull my sled through the deepening snow toward my destiny.

My destiny with DEATH. “Suicide Hill” awaits. Today I will conquer my fear and meet the challenge of the hill.

I keep walking. The three blocks seem like a million miles and the sled weighs a thousand pounds.

The snow is sticking to my face and melting off my nose. My socks are starting to itch and the wind feels like it is blowing through me. I feel the chill in my bones even with everything I am wearing.

I’m almost there and see one of the boys, walking in the other direction his lip bloodied. I hesitate a moment. Just what am I thinking?

He shouts at me, “So, you’re finally going to do it chicken!”

“Yes, yes I am”, I reply in a false bravado.

“This I got to see!”, wiping the blood from his lip, he turns around and walks with me the rest of the way.

I stand in the cue of kids waiting their turn at the hill. One by one I watch. Some succeed. Some, well they don’t. I watch as they trudge up the hill some bloodied and bruised some smiling and laughing.

When its my turn I pull my sled to the edge and survey the hill before me. It is a winding narrow path filled with rocks and bolders with an enormous oak tree right in the middle. You have to steer your sled around the tree or risk certain death all the while your sled is accelerating down the hill at a frightening speed.

Standing there, at the precipice, I have another decision to make. Do I go down the hill face first or whimp out and sit on the sled. The kids standing around at the top of the hill are staring at me.

They are waiting for me to make my move…

My heart is pounding. Okay this is it. I take a deep breath and lay face down on the sled. I feel the sled tip slightly as I start moving down the hill.

I am accelerating faster and faster. The tree is directly in front of me. It is coming up really fast now as I manage to steer around it in one deft manuver. I negotiate the final obsacles and reach the bottom of the hill.

I leap off my sled and stand trumphantly to the muffeled mittened appalause from the kids standing at the top of the hill.

Walking up the hill towing my sled I feel so light. I practically skip home through the snow. My 11 year old self so confident so powerful. I had faced my fear. I had prooved the kids taunting me wrong. I had succeeded. I had conqured “Suicide Hill”. Of course mom would never know, but that was okay. I knew and that was what mattered.

Throughout our lives we will encounter things that are scary.

If we give into our fears we will never truly live fully.

That was the first of many fears I have faced in my life. Each time I have looked into the face of fear and decided to push through it has made me stronger. Each time I find it a little easier to make the decision and put fear aside. There are so many opportunities on the other side of fear.

That frightened 11 year old girl who looked fear in the face and just decided to do it is now a 69 year old woman that says yes then figures it out. I’ve said yes to diving with sharks, sleeping with wolves, and living in and traveling to places around the world I would never have dreamed of. I have started new careers, created businesses and experienced failure, loss and success.

I would have never had the amazing life I’ve had if I had not faced “Suicide Hill”.

Do I still feel my heart pounding when I am facing a big decision? Yes, of course I do. I just choose to identity that feeling as excitement instead of fear.

You each have our own fears. Fears that stop you from living the life you dream of.

· What is the big scary hill you fear?

· How will your life change if you cast your fear aside?

· Do you dare to take the leap to change your life path?

· Most importantly, what will not happen if you never face your fear?

Several years ago, I took a walk to the end of the street where the woods still stand.

I stood in the same spot where I laid my fears to rest at the top of “Suicide Hill”.

Looking down at the hill on that day, the rocks did not seem to be so big and the oak tree was not so formidable.

I was surpised to see just how small the hill really was.

Our fears are like that.

Once we put them behind us they can seem small and insignificant, leaving us wondering why we had any fear at all.

Only when we face our fears do we give ourselves permission to soar.

Only then can you truly be free and be everything you are destined to be.

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