When Myles said, one Sunday morning in April 2015, “Shall we buy a motorhome and go travelling around Europe?” he was greeted with a combination of puppy-like excitement and deeply entrenched fear. We had just returned from an incredible six week trip in New Zealand in a hired motorhome, celebrating our 25th Wedding Anniversary. We knew that the trip might ignite the travel bug in our bellies, so his question had plenty of relevance.
I was fascinated by my reaction to his romantic vision of packing everything into storage, buying a motorhome and setting off into the European sunset. It seemed so simple, until my ego and scared inner child got involved in the conversation.
After what seems a lifetime of fear dominating my experiences, this moment felt poignant as hubby’s question had unveiled a deeply-seated anxiety that needed tackling. As coach, I often see the role fear plays in our lives, and how it impacts on holding us back from our dreams. Perhaps this was the time for me to banish it and release my inner adventurer.
Having been in the corporate world for over 25 years, I remember creating a strap line for my coaching business;
‘Make every day an adventure and each moment count.’
Its purpose was to inspire clients to seize the day and find that indomitable ‘happiness’ within, leaving their fears aside. On the surface, it seemed like great advice, yet the one person not truly embodying that philosophy – was me. In truth, from that moment until now, we have been blessed with so many adventures and life-changing decisions, that I must give some credit to my fearless self. Although as I come back to my husband’s invitation to walk the path of adventure and exploration, I found myself recoiling to the frightened little girl whose best friends were Scary, Fearful and Doubtful!
Naturally, there were plenty of discussions over the following months and, despite my discomfort, we did our research and travelled the length and breadth of the country searching for our perfect motorhome. It was as much a symbolic journey as it was physical, with plenty of roundabouts, diversions, traffic lights, dead-ends and one-way streets. Paradoxically, my fear was being fuelled by this journey; I think it was creating a malevolent battle between itself and my desire for freedom. It was just biding its time to attack and render me helpless to its power.
We found the van, the model, our ideal layout and the decision was made – then boom! Fear threw his black cloak of doom over me – suddenly, decision unmade! Now I was holding us back from turning our dream into reality.
Skirting around fear was no longer an option. I had wasted far too much time being scared, worried and anxious – now it was time for change. After weeks of revisiting our decision, fear’s dance with my inner adventurer became more of a battle than an artistic performance. Its orchestra flirting between the echoes of “Do it now, do it whilst you can, because life is too short’ and “No I can’t, I’m scared. What if….”
This whole journey really made me examine my fear and its impact on both our lives. I found the courage to get to the heart of its hold over me and discovered that it was anxiety about a lack of roots, insecurity and uncertainty. And yet as I stared fear in the face and understood its personality, I saw it for what it was – simply a self-created construct of False Expectation Appearing Real – and nothing more.
Some of this realisation came after a conversation with my dear mum, who told me about how she and dad had the same opportunity to sell up and travel the world, decades earlier. She too ran scared because of similar worries. Whilst she said she didn’t regret the decision, I was left with a huge sense that having lost my dad in 2007, there was a grain of sadness at what could have been, if only she had said ‘yes’. And so that cathartic moment triggered me into action – the Battle over Fear had begun.
I returned home feeling determined. After an empowering discussion, together Myles and I threw caution to the wind and paid our deposit on ‘Scooby’ the motorhome, who would carry us on our magical mystery tour. We talked about how to deal with my uncertainties so I could feel safe, although I felt so positive about my new-found freedom, that I trusted all will be well.
This moment will undoubtedly be a turning point in our lives. The most interesting thing for me, is that now my personally designed fear has been removed, I am left with the most joyous feelings of excitement, anticipation and happiness that fill its space. Whilst I recognise that life is unlikely to unfold perfectly, I am ready for the journey. After all these years, I am now prepared to turn my own coaching strap line into an authentic philosophy that will colour our life’s tapestry. And as we head towards that sunset, we now carry these words in our heart:
‘Make every day an adventure and each moment count.’
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