The other day I went to a soft-play centre with my daughter and her friend. I watched them running up and down through the bright structure of nets and blocks, which looked like a labyrinth.
Part of the fun was the big slide, which they seemed to love and enjoy very much.
After an hour of frenetically climbing and running, they both came to me to ask me to go with them on the slide.
I’ve been very scared of slides since I was a little girl, but this one didn’t seem particularly big, so I decided to accept the invitation. When I reached to the top, I realised that I’d been a bit optimistic.
I was paralysed. I felt the fear clutching at my stomach. I couldn’t move.
I tried to engage with my fear: I stayed with it, I talked to it. I knew that going down the slide was not going to kill me, not even injure me, but still, I was unable to move. This was beyond rationality.
Ten long minutes passed, and I was still sitting there with two six-year-olds telling me “Don’t be scared, we’ll do this together”, “It’s fun”, “Come on mum, be brave. I was scared too, and now I love it.”
I felt I could not possibly let them down, so I closed my eyes and I did it.
Later, in the car, I thought about what I had really been scared of at that moment. I thought about the feeling of going downhill and not being in control of the situation, and wondered if that was really what I was scared of.
Fears are irrational, but they tell us a huge amount about what we really want to know and experience; such as learning that going down the slide and not being in control can also be safe.
Practising fear can be a very creative way of finding out what is needed in your life and business at this precise moment and daring to confront the old narratives that don’t serve you anymore.