Let Us Move Past Fear + Anxiety

Let’s talk about fear.  Fear is the culprit of all that holds us back; anxiety cripples our lives and hinders us from living the life we so desire.  I’m no different from the rest of humanity – fear exists in ALL of us.  What separates us is how we DEAL with our fears and anxiety.  How do we overcome them?  You fight of course.  Facing your fears is a battle you must conquer, head-on, on a daily basis.  Give in, and you could lose something great.  After all, every time I’ve done something I was afraid to do, it ended up being one of the best moments / decisions of my life.  Ergo the reoccurring theme: “Without risk, there is no reward”.

“I knew that if I allowed fear to overtake me, my journey was doomed. Fear, to a great extent, is born of a story we tell ourselves, and so I chose to tell myself a different story from the one women are told. I decided I was safe. I was strong. I was brave. Nothing could vanquish me.”
Cheryl Strayed, Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail

 

First of all, as Cheryl Strayed says in the above quote, “Fear, to a great extent, is born of a story we tell ourselves”.  It’s incredible how powerful and convincing our minds can be – I struggle with my endlessly anxious mind always asking “what if” and always conjuring up the worst case scenarios.  However, when I notice myself doing this… say I’m taking a walk in the woods and hear an unidentified noise… I repeat Cheryl Strayed’s words to myself, over and over; fear is only a story you tell yourself.  Thus, I begin to tell myself it is nothing… or that it is beautiful (the unknown noise) vs. it is scary and foreboding.   Merely, tell yourself a DIFFERENT story.  Tell yourself that you are STRONG and that you have no business being AFRAID.  Fear gets you nowhere. Fear is the opposite of helpfulness.

I hear people constantly making excuses for why they don’t do something; “I’m afraid of heights” or “I am afraid to leave my comfort zone” or “I’m afraid because I don’t understand” or, my favorite, “I can’t because I have anxiety”.

Now, before you go on saying how anxiety is a crippling disease… I KNOW THAT.  I have ANXIETY.  I have anxiety so bad, that I have panic attacks – they come unannounced at the most random times and they are SCARY as all hell.  You know what I’ve learned to do?  DEAL with them.  I don’t use it as an excuse to hinder my life.   I face it.  You can to!  It’s a choice one must make.  Face it vs. make excuses.

Now, fears come in all shapes and sizes and degrees of extremity – but, nonetheless, they all have one job: to inhibit us in some way or another.  Since this is my personal blog, I can only write from my own personal experiences in hopes that they can reach someone who can relate, even a small bit.

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Photo by: Doug Michaels

Back in 2013, I was faced with a decision: take a chance and try my hand at a job in the film industry, a job I had NO idea how to do (at that time) OR turn down the job due to fear (believe me, I was SCARED) and remain in the same place I had been in life – dissatisfied and unsure of where my career was heading.   Stagnation vs. growth was the choice I had to make.  Despite my utter fear, I knew I could NOT stay stuck – I needed out, I needed a change, I NEEDED to take this risk.  I was never going to get anywhere in life sticking to my comforts.

*How did I get this job if I was completely unqualified and had NO experience, etc? Well, let’s just say I’m persuasive AND I knew the right people (connections are everything in this world).*

Low and behold, I took the job and worked on my first ever reality/doc TV show.  I didn’t even know how to use a damn walkie at this point – yet I tried my best and faked it as much as I could.  My will and drive to JUST DO IT succeeded.  Nevertheless, I got yelled at by the Director of Photography for not knowing how to drive the standard production van, I got pee’d on by a screaming + uncontrollable toddler, I was asked to do ridiculous tasks left and right and it was, overall, a rough and trying gig.  Yet, I did it all for the name of progress.  And guess what?  It led me to the life I now live.  The risk gave birth to a reward.   Go figure!

Let’s back it up even further…

Circa 2011.

I find an audition for an independent film holding a casting call in the Pittsburgh Area and this film, unlike others I had read for, resonated with my soul – I connected to the lead character.  I WANTED this role something fierce.  I could tell all this just by reading the brief character description and synopsis.

When the time came to drive to the audition, I began to panic.  I began to freak out.  It mattered so much to me that I didn’t want to mess it up and let myself down.  After all, I am my own worst critic.  My mind began to trick me by making such excuses: “You’re monologue isn’t profound enough – it’s silly”, “You’re too young for the role”, “You’re never going to get it”, “The audition is too far of a drive and you don’t know how to get there”, “It’s easier to NOT go” and BLAH BLAH BLAH.  So the internal war raged on.  The fear was ablaze.

After warring with this internal conflict for some time, I called my best gal pal and asked her to come along with me for support (and to keep my mind from panicking).  She agreed, and I went.

A few days later, I received word that I, in fact, landed the lead role in the film titled “The Journey Within”.  This little project, though it never went any where, changed the entire course of my life.  It’s where I made connections and learned the ropes to the film world and, above all, it’s where I met my husband and some of my closest friends to this day.  Had I not conquered my fear in that critical, life-altering moment… where would my life be today?  I promise I wouldn’t be where I am – and I am HAPPY here.

Every small victory over my fears, insecurities and anxieties have led me one step closer to my wildest dreams – to fulfilling my lifelong goals – to happiness.  People, it’s worth it!  I can’t stress ENOUGH how worth it it really is – to MOVE PAST YOUR FEARS.

“Mindy on the Move” was born, not only because I’m physically on the move, because I’m constantly on the move GROWING and LEARNING as a human being.  One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned is the importance of facing my fears; it’s a necessity for progress.  I want nothing more than to share this lesson with you, through my words and personal experiences, to the best of my ability.

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Photo by: Doug Michaels

Just two years ago, I was offered a job that I felt TOTALLY unqualified for (and I was) – but, because  I learned from my past to always take the risk, I accepted it.  And I crushed it.  Furthermore, I realized I enjoyed it and that I would be happy to do the same position again.  I learned and grew so much within that time frame – it was empowering.  The fact that I could’ve said “no”, because it was the easier choice, and missed out on everything it led me to = insane!   It’s insane how a simple choice to “give in to fear” or “face the fear” can change the course of one’s life.

Ever wonder why you’re not reaching your goals, dreams or living the life you desire?  Perhaps it’s because you’ve been a prisoner of your own fears.  Think on it.  How many times have you said “no” to taking a risk that could’ve benefited you in the future?  From now on, I challenge you to TAKE THE RISK and to try your HARDEST to conquer your fear; don’t make excuses.  Afterwards, reflect and see if your life is improving.  I know mine did, tenfold.

I’m not fearless – just ask my husband.  He knows the degree of my anxiety – but he also knows the degree to which I bust my ass off to overcome it.  It’s not a fight for the lazy.  It’s a fight for the people who want to live their best life.  It’s a fight for the people who refuse to remain complacent.

Every adventure I’m on, I’m facing a fear of mine.  For instance, I was petrified to take a 4-hour horseback tour through Monument Valley.  I know, I know…of all the crazy things I’ve done, THIS is one that truly terrified me?  YES.  Yes it was.  Why?  I’ve always seen stories of the horse sensing fear and rejecting his/her rider OR heard stories of a snake spooking the horse and it RUNNING off with the rider getting hurt/paralyzed/killed in the end, etc.  I was telling these particular stories to myself and, hence, fear commenced.  But, I also knew this was an epic adventure I wanted to experience:  I had always dreamed of being a cowgirl in this iconic western landscape.  I knew, in order to live this dream, I had to rid the fear.  I had to tell myself another story; “You’ll be fine”, “Connect with the horse and you will bond”,  “the horse and environment have your back” so on and so forth.  By the time I mounted the horse, I was calm and she, in return, responded graciously.  The next 4 hours became and remain some of the best hours of my entire life.  A memory I’ll cherish forever.  I could’ve missed out on such a grand memory and amazing time in my life had I given in to my fear.  Now, I wish to horseback everywhere I go!  I fell in love.  The more I vanquish fear, the more I love life.

How many times have you missed out due to fear?

It’s no coincidence I’ve experienced the BEST things in my life due to overcoming fears.  What’s the saying?  “Life rewards those who work hard at it.”  This couldn’t be more true in my eyes – I’m a firm believer that the universe gives to those who seek + work hard at bettering themselves.  The universe rewards those who work hard at overcoming obstacles.  I’ve witnessed it first-hand.  I’ve seen what happens in my life when I grow lazy and don’t try – when I give in to fear and excuses.  It’s nothing good, I can tell you that much.

I’ve seen many friends give in to all their fears and excuses – and, as a result, they complain about their lives.  They’re unsatisfied and lost.  I want to shake them and tell them THIS IS WHY…this is why their life is the way it is.  They’re simply NOT TRYING to overcome their battles, their fears and anxieties.  They’re not trying to leave their comfort zone.  Thus, they’re STUCK.  They’ll remain STUCK until they TRY – until they TAKE A RISK.  It’s a basic rule of life.

I love when I hear people say that I am fearless, and I take pride in hearing such wonderful compliments.  However, it’s also not true – I am afraid.  I’m always worrying about this or that.  What I am?  I AM stubborn, determined and unwilling to give in to these fears – I’m unwilling to surrender.  I am strong-willed – a fighter.  I will always fight for the life I want – for the ME that I want to be.

Please, join me in this endeavor… say you’ll fight alongside me?  That the next time you’re afraid, you’ll face it.  You won’t ignore it or  let it win.

All in all, you can say “screw you” to fear and anxiety – I do it everyday.   I’m no different than you – you can make the same choice as me.  It’s not the easy route, but it’s the route worth taking.  It’s the route that’ll make all the difference in creating a fulfilling and happier life.

 

As always, thank you so much for reading and happy growing!

With much love,

-Mindy

 

P.S. Let me know if you’re with me in the comments below – if you’ll continue to work hard at battling your fears and crushing them into oblivion! 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

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