Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Facing Fears Creatively...

Sometimes in life there are things that scare us. What is easy for one person might be incredibly difficult for another. Ask me to draw a dinosaur roller-skating and I can do it in a flash. Ask me to speak in public to a crowd of 500? Bring it on! Ask me to do a quadratic equation or drive in a foreign country in someone else’s car... well that’s when my palms get a little sweaty.

I guess because my husband, Nick, is such a good driver and honestly loves to drive any type of car in almost any situation, I seldom drive on long trips in our van. That is PRIME knitting, staring at scenery or daydreaming time!

Being in Geneva, Switzerland this week to help out with my niece and nephew while my brother is away and my sister-in-law handles some major conference calls and then leaves on her own trip meant I was going to have to drive them to and from school each day as well as get them to their various weekly activities. In theory, that sounded a lot less scary than Sunday night and yesterday morning when Anne showed me the various routes I’d need to take. I tried not to panic on the outside as much as I was doing on the inside...

So what do you do when that cold grip of fear starts to take hold? Face your fears and think creatively!

INHALE When Fear strikes or there is something you need to do that will be difficult, the best thing to do is tackle it as soon as possible. Facing fear head on and attacking the problem is much better than ignoring it and hoping it will just go away. Bait is also very good. Once the rush hour traffic was over, I took Anne’s car out on the roads and traced the route I’d have to follow to pick them up later in the day. After that, I even went to the main department store in their area which had underground parking just a bit taller than I am. I was almost giddy with satisfaction once I parked the car and stepped into the store... so of course I rewarded myself with a new type of chocolate bar to try. Since losing my extra weight about 8 years ago and keeping it off, I try not to use food as a reward very often... but I am in a country where really EXCELLENT chocolate takes up almost a full grocery aisle! Need I say more?

EXHALE Find something in your life that you find difficult to do but that needs to be done. Spend 15 minutes and map out a road plan, write a list or brainstorm doodle ways to break that scary task down into some smaller steps. Martha Beck calls them Turtle Steps. Someone else once said “Just eat the elephant one bite at a time.” Taking the first step towards change can often be the hardest part. By thinking more creatively, you may find interesting solutions to challenges that have stumped you up until now. Plus, don’t forget to find some good bait!


  1. Congrats on conquering Switzerland! So, you did bring an empty suitcase just to bring back chocolate in, right????

    Let's see - the thing that sent me into a tailspin of fear - hmmm - oh yeah - having to be TWLite!

    But after that, you just take a breath and dive in because it just has to get done, so you do it.

    BTW, pass me the quadratic equation - they're fun! :-)

  2. I agree with Erica, quadratic equations are fun! I do agree with you Jennifer re driving in foreign countries. I even did that once in England, which is really scary. I did survive, without even a scratch on the hired car, and I managed not to get seriously lost, too. But won't do it again unless I have no other choice (which was the case that time).