Have you ever found yourself in a situation where these thoughts run through your head…
I can’t, no I can, I can’t, come on… yes you can. I think I can. I think I can. I think I can.
For those of you who know me, you may think I’m a risk taker. I’ve done several things in my life that would indicate as such… signed up for study abroad when I knew it was riding on me raising $5,000 I didn’t have as a student… walked into the president’s office, basically saying I was “smart” and that I was the right person to move to London… moved my family with my husband to Austin when I had the “perfect” set-up in Seattle and Starbucks… starting my own business. I spend my life and career encouraging others to take risks EVERYDAY. Risk taking is my name, until I met my match… Space Mountain.
From left to right…
MIDDLE ROW: Coach #1: The calm, zen coach who talked about enjoying the stars inside as you zipped along. ME: Yes, that’s me. The risk-taker. Yes, my eyes are fully shut. Yes, I am gripping the bar. Yes, I am… smiling.
FRONT ROW: Coach #2: Yes, that says “Adrenaline” on his shirt. He planned that face and promised “epic fun.” Coach #3: Reminding me… Come on, the kids want you to be part of this fun.
This was THE MOUNTAIN of TERROR in my mind. I know, for many of you, this is such a tame little ride. How silly. But for me, so many things would surely go wrong that this was a risk I wasn’t willing to take. I have never been a physical risk taker and the list of con’s made perfect sense…
- Malfunction. For Pete’s sake, this ride is ancient after all.
- It’s dark in there. When I am flung from the malfunctioning seat restraint, it will take HOURS to find my body.
- Oh, and not to mention, my poor, poor, little children.. I need to protect them. It’s not just about me.
- It was my first time to Disney and wouldn’t this be the first time it all broke down?!?
Reluctantly, I got into the line with the kids (who by the way, had NO concern in the world). As each minute passed, we inched closer and my heart started beating a little faster. I was a leader of this team about to embark on a dangerous mission, I had to remain calm and keep smiling. My other leader, my husband, was curious about lunch… how could he be so calm? Did he not know what was ahead?!?! We might die in there!!!
Well, as you can see from this post… die I did not. I did go into the Mountain. I did ride the ride. And this is how I was able to survive…
- I was surrounded by those who didn’t have the irrational fear I did. They had experience and the knowledge. They knew it was not only safe, but could actually be fun.
- I stepped out of my fear and envisioned what it would be like at the end of the ride. I would get to celebrate with my team, my family, about a first that we all got to share together.
- My kids will see a role model, conquering her fear and that will be a powerful lesson and encourage them to do the same.
- I listened to my coaches and thought about what they said, “MOM… there is a four year old getting on this ride. Get a grip.”
As a leader we step onto our own roller coasters everyday. Whether it be a new position, a complex project, that colleague we can’t seem to get along with… It may be scary and you might be fearful of the outcome, but challenge yourself to take the step. Surround yourself with the right support… other leaders, experience, knowledge, coaches… and just do it!
As I approached that ride, I thought most about how amazing it would feel for me to conquer a fear that I’ve always had. And it was. So much, that I actually rode twice.
Let me know how your ride went…