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Fear of Flying? Then it’s time to fly…

Flying... we really were!

Flying… we really were!

Yesterday I started a new adventure in the latest of my…. new adventures. The background to this story and why a huge change in my life is encouraging me to do that is on this link.

So I am taking a leap into the unknown by leaving my past and life behind and finding a new way forward, very much based on re-connecting with who I really am and finding a purpose in life that is closer to my soul. And if that all sounds a bit woo woo to you, well it probably is! But that’s woo woo coming from a person with a generally practical, logical and historically often cynical mind!!

One of the keys for me in this journey is fear. Facing it. Well actually, looking at it, turning it round and properly examining it, prodding it, cajoling it and ultimately challenging and as far as possible, defeating it!

Yesterday I went flying with my niece – as a sort of soft launch event for our new project – it’s called TeamaAges and it’s about getting people of different ages to team up, have fun and give back – and then encouraging others to get out there and do the same. More about that on the link at the bottom of this post.

Anyway, the soft launch involved flying. Not your normal in a big aircraft, surrounded by people and lots of solid metal type flying, but in a tiny little microlight, exposed to the elements and buffeted by the wind type flying! And though I was full of enthusiasm, determined and encouraged by my 19 year old niece’s excitement, I have to admit to having been a little bit frightened. And it struck me that there’s a direct analogy between that and the fear of “flying” in life. Of getting out there in the skies and being all that we can be.

And here’s the part that can be another direct analogy with flying in life. Yesterday, I overcame my fear – and was rewarded by having an absolute blast!! So that makes it possible in life, right?

One of the things about our fear, is that we magnify it. And by that, I mean we make it larger than it needs to be based on our perceptions, many of which have built up unnecessarily over time. I had imagined the aircraft being unstable (cos it’s small and light), noisy (being near to the engine), bumpy (because you’re exposed to the elements). They are all perfectly logical assumptions – but all completely incorrect. Because my brain didn’t know the actual facts and it wanted to protect me, it made those things up based on what cognitive information I had from my perceptions and thoughts from other (equally unqualified) people.

And often it’s those “unqualified” thoughts that stop us doing things.

Fear is such an interesting emotion. Of course we start out in life with no fear, because we don’t know any better. And in the early years of life physical fear is so often a life and pain saver for us. As we learn, we develop fear of hot and sharp things, of unstable structures and risky situations. And that stands us in good stead. Then as we grow a little older, we have a healthy fear of danger, but still an instinct for adventure and exploration, so we engage in exciting and fun activities with little pre thought.

Emotional fear is a whole other ball game. Where our fears can be cripplingly limiting. Fear of failure (because we just can’t face one more), fear of success, fear about what others might think of us, of making a fool of ourselves, of looking stupid.

But here’s another thing about fear. We ALL feel like that!! (well with a few exceptions). So if we ALL feel like that, can’t we cut each other a break and encourage that we ALL STOP feeling like that?!!

A huge simplification I know, but if we all made more of an effort to ease other people’s fears, by encouraging them to try, by making failure not failure but a prelude to success, by being positive about how others look, by kindly picking people up when they fall, by encouraging genuine humour in adversity, wouldn’t we ALL be a little less fearful?

Yesterday’s experience made me realise that this is  something we can do for ourselves – teaming up with Natalie, who is at that wonderful youthful stage in her life where the world its still a land of dreams, made me more excited about the adventure than wallowing in my fears – it helped me overcome them and see the world a little more again through those lovely rosy spectacles. And that was invigorating and fun!

The bottom line? Our fears stop us being who we are and full enjoying our lives. And we only get this life once. Are we going to get to the end f it and regret that we didn’t do what we wanted to do or be who we wanted to be because we were too frightened to?

The fact is, that at the end, there will be nobody there to judge you but you. So don’t let other people’s judgement stop you now.

Come and join the adventure

P.S Here’s something that made me laugh – I thought my fear on Friday was pretty well hidden. And then when I was looking through the footage to find a nice clip for this post… I found this!!! Aaah Natalie, how frighteningly (pun intended) perceptive you are 😉