This past weekend I had an adventure. The experience took me far outside of my comfort zone, and made me face some of my fears. It was frightening and exhilarating, all at the same time. Allow me to share some more details of exactly what happened.
This year more people than I expected are coming to southern California to spend Thanksgiving week with us. That is a blessing, but these people need a place to sleep while they are here visiting. There was one night where we just had too many people and someone was going to have to go to a hotel. I decided that would be me.
At the last minute I decided that I would call a friend and see if I could stay at her place. Her home is in a beautiful location and it’s at one of the highest points in Santa Barbara. I call it ‘the top of the world’ because that’s what it feels like when I am up there. She told me to come on up and spend the night, so I packed a bag and took off for my adventure.
What I didn’t count on was a huge rainstorm coming through right at the time I was about to head up the mountain. I love rain, but this was a downpour that was going to be with us for a couple of days. As I made my way up the narrow road and looked out over the city below, I realized that my fear of heights was beginning to get to me. Right then I could have turned around and gone back into town. It would have been simple to book a hotel close by and get inside before the rain storm got even worse. I could have done many things, but I just kept driving.
I have found that facing my fears and doing things anyway is the best choice for me in the long run. I’ve applied this principle to both my personal life and business. I was afraid to quit my job and come online because I thought I wouldn’t earn enough money; I now earn seven times as much as I used to. I was afraid to speak in front of people; now I’m an international speaker. I was afraid to move from the city I had lived in for so many years because I wouldn’t know anyone; I now have homes in two different cities, travel extensively, and enjoy making new friends.
But this was different. It always seems different when you are facing your fear head on, alone on a dark, winding road heading straight up to the highest part of the city, with the lights of the city growing further and further away, and the rain coming down in sheets so you can’t see ten feet in front of you and the wipers can’t possibly help you see the road.
Yes, I was alone and afraid. But part of me knew that this experience would help me to grow and expand as I faced my fears and kept on moving.
It’s only about five miles from where I started to where my friend lives, but it seems more like fifty. I finally came to the last turnoff and made my way down her street. It was pitch dark and the rain kept me from seeing the house, but suddenly out of nowhere I saw her mailbox with the street number on it in shiny letters. I turned into the driveway slowly and carefully, and right then I was aware that I could not feel the car beneath me!
Her driveway is one of those that goes straight down from the street level onto the property. I don’t care for these on a clear day, but now it was simply terrifying. I inched down the slope at what seemed like one mile an hour. Finally, I stopped the car and got out. As I walked up to the door I wondered why no one was waiting outside to greet me, but that was just not possible under these conditions. She had left the door unlocked for me, so I went inside.
I proceeded to have a wonderful time at her house. The only sounds are those of the wildlife in the area, and I had forgotten how beautiful that can be. All night I listened to the rain falling, the coyotes howling, and an owl or two singing in the distance. We had a nice visit, catching up on many things that have been going on in each of our lives, and sipping hot Jasmine tea with lemon. In the morning she fixed breakfast as I gazed out the window to see the view from ‘the top of the world’. I knew that I would have to back out of the driveway when I left, but now I wasn’t afraid anymore.
My life is richer for having these experiences. As I move through each situation and come out alright on the other side, I know that I am growing and learning more about who I am and what is important to me. I’m then able to face even bigger challenges in my life and enjoy my life in a very different and more enjoyable way.
What are you doing to take yourself out of your comfort zone and face your fears?