The Fear Factor

“Do one thing every day that scares you” – Eleanor Roosevelt

I’m writing this blog post on Thursday in anticipation of a long weekend in which I am (finally!) going to learn how to ski (cue drum roll…) I’m sincerely hoping that come Monday when this blog post will be posted, I will have survived the experience in one piece (no broken bones, smushed body parts, or too many bruises at least). The hardest thing for me will not be the physical aspect (although, to be fair, I am immensely uncoordinated) but the mental ‘fear factor’. I’ve been cross country skiing before and loved it – basically you get to hike with skis on and you don’t have any shrieking speed issues unless you take a wrong turn. Actual downhill skiing, however,  is quite another thing –  something that involves overcoming my fear of speed (or, more precisely, careening out of control).

My husband snowboards and my boys have been taking skiing lessons since we moved to Denver so I’m the last hold out (if you don’t count our collie Hamish, who, to be sure, would love it if he could have skis on his paws).  It seems strange to me that I think nothing of moving continents or taking risks with my writing, but skiing (like bicycle riding) remains a definite ‘fear factor’ to overcome. I managed to combat my fear when it came to bicycle riding (although I’m still a slow poke!) so I’m sure I’ll survive skiing – the question is whether I can overcome fear to actually enjoy it!

I’ll keep you all posted, but, hopefully, by the time this posts on Monday and I can respond to comments, I will have mastered the basics of downhill skiing!

So TKZers, what is your ‘fear factor’ and are you planning on overcoming it in 2017?…If so, how?



18 thoughts on “The Fear Factor

  1. I’m not a fan of heights. Actually, I hate heights. But if there’s something I want to see like a breathtaking view, I go for it anyway. Never let fear stand in your way of living life to the fullest. Besides, we can use that fear in our books. Win win!

    Well, how’d you like skiing?

  2. Fear factor: I began taking taekwondo lessons at the YMCA about a month and a half ago. When you are just starting, it isn’t very physical. You’re learning the basic kibons–and that’s maddening enough trying to learn when to turn this way and that way and what your hands and feet are supposed to be doing all at the same time.

    It’s an adult class ages 13 & up, but w/the exception of me, the middle ager, all the regulars in the class are age 13-20. A couple of weeks ago they wanted us to practice taking falls on the mat. I don’t know what type of flooring most dojangs are made of, but we aren’t in a dedicated space. We’re using some square footage at the Y that is made of hard as a rock concrete, and the mats they use are MAYBE 1.5″ thick & worn. I declined that portion of the class, even though the instructors are there to ‘help’ you fall.

    There is the physical fear of injuring myself in a fall–beginnings of bone loss and I’ve been through shoulder surgery and it’s a painful, long recovery–but mostly the fear is financial (no short term disability and living in a 3rd floor walk up) and, having been through orthopedic surgery before, I already know all too well that despite how surgeons brag, they are not capable of putting humpty dumpty together again good as new.

    My solution to the fear? I honestly don’t know. I seriously want to look into donating bigger, thicker mats to up the odds in my favor. I also started this class along with restarting my physical fitness program after I got a new job that gives me back time for physical fitness pursuits. Perhaps I’ll feel like more of a risk-taker when I’m more physically fit and flexible with another couple of months under my white belt 8-).

    It’s funny fear should come up today–I’ve been reading Carol Dweck’s “Mindset: The New Psychology of Success” (I think someone at TKZ mentioned it initially) and it talks about the fixed vs. the growth mind-set. I need to apply some of the things from that both to my taekwondo and to my writing so that I have a more productive writing year in 2017.

    • Ha! Good luck Mike. You never know…it might be liberating. I don’t use an outline, but I always work with a three-to-four chapter “template” wherein I try to figure out what are the major things I want to accomplish in the next couple chapters. It’s enough clarity for that part of the road I am traveling.

  3. I fear speed. I did go skiing a few times in my youth. My dad used to make 3 runs to my one. I wimped out of the fancy driving at the Writers’ Police Academy but someday I might be brave enough for those PIT Maneuvers.

  4. I learned (and I use that word loosely) how to ski in high school. I also dislocated my shoulder in the process. My stories would amuse Erma Bombeck, were she still around to read them.

    Don’t forget, bravery isn’t the absence of fear but the facing of it. You went skiing, so you are brave! Hopefully you had a good time and aren’t reading this while in recovery. 😉

    • I did enjoy parts of it (when I wasn’t thinking fearful, stressed out thoughts!). I don’t exactly feel brave but relieved…two more full day lessons to go during the season and maybe I’ll start having fun:)

  5. Hmm. I have lots of fears that aren’t worthy of discussion, but I expect most people do. I can tell you that in no year – past, present, or future – will you find me jumping out of a perfectly good airplane or rappelling off of the Burj Khalifa. I am a nervous Nellie flyer. It’s so bad that every time I travel I start shaking when I book the ticket. Every time I fly it’s like overcoming my worst fear every time. The irony is I LOVE to travel, and all the best places take at least two long flights. I feel something is missing from my life if I don’t travel a certain amount in a year. While I wouldn’t rappel or BASE jump off of them, I have stood on the bridge between the Petronas Towers, so I guess that’s something. If you’ve seen pictures you know how high up that is, and let me tell you that is one weird experience.

    No skiing or snowboarding for me, but that’s because I really don’t like the cold. Gimme some tropical waters and scuba gear and I’ll happily dive with the sharks!

    • Well done with flying! – that’s a fear that stops many people from traveling so good for you for still doing it – and I do admit I’m not a huge fan of being cold but the scenery is worth it in Colorado!

  6. I lived in Colorado many years ago and visit there often. Never tried to ski. I’m terrified of heights. Four times I tried to walk across the Royal Gorge bridge – 1053 feet high. Each time I stopped in the middle, freaked out and barely make it back to the start point. Everyone asks why not just continue since I’m half way across. But then I’d have to do the trembling walk twice as far to get back. I’ve been to the top of Pike’s Peak – twice. Once in a car (I wasn’t driving) and once on the cog rail train. For some reason I can stand on a mountain, as long as the mountain is firmly under me. But that bridge, nope.

  7. As silly as it may seem I am afraid of discovering that my dream, and the pursuit of it, will prove to be a waste of time. So instead I’ve it off, delayed it. But this year, I am actively pursuing it. (Ironically my dream is to become a successful published author.) Mentally, I feel better for it since it seems to give the voices and personalities in my head an outlet to share their story.

    • Writing about it is a good start. Naming your fear and putting it out there for others to read.

  8. I’m afraid of change and public speaking. I don’t know if I’ll try to overcome these fears this year.

  9. Many years ago when I was a teenager I became stuck between floors in an elevator. Since that occasion, I’m fearful every time I get in an elevator. If I can, I walk the stairs (good for fitness) but there are times when I must ride in an elevator. I tough it out with clammy hands, relieved when the doors open and I’m out of that claustrophobic box.

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