Wow, that’s a big little word. It impacts us daily. It keeps us in a cage. It stops us from growing and progressing.

We can all think of an example of something we don’t want to do, because we are afraid of the outcome, are afraid of what people will think of us if we make a mistake. We fear not being able to deal with the lack of approval. We sometimes become so focused on that fear and the feeling of failure, and can see no other outcome. We paralyse ourselves.

I remember playing disc golf with a friend. This was my first time playing the game. It was a beautiful day on a beautiful course, partly out in the open, partly through the woods. I had to laugh at myself on a couple holes in the woods. The more I told myself, “Don’t hit the tree, don’t hit the tree”, the more likely I’d hit it dead center! I focused on the tree and not the goal. I doubted my ability to overcome this obstacle.
Gee, if I could summon such concentration and energy to guide the disc – or my actions in other arenas – to sail smoothly through the air and land with a “chink” in the basket with as much pinpoint accuracy, I would be thrilled.

I believe it is possible.

Throughout our lives we have learned right from wrong. This learning came from many sources, from family, friends, school, books, TV, sports groups, magazines, etc. Unfortunately, the notion of a right and a wrong way of doing things has been imposed on many facets of life and the manner in which we should approach various tasks. As we grew we became more aware of what we perceived as the general concensus of “right”, and we became more keen on doing things this way to fit in. We no longer only focused on our goal and our thoughts.
Learning to take our first steps, for instance, we were not very concerned about how we walked, or if others might laugh at our style. We saw something that appealed to us, and wanted to reach it. We saw an action, and attempted to emulate it. We fell down, and tried again. 

I am not so extreme as to suggest that we block out the world and other’s opinions; these opinions can be very valuable if constructive. I merely suggest we focus not on the obstacle or the fear, but rather on our abilities, the goal, and our motivation – and very importantly, the feeling of accomplishment that accompanies our success. This sweet feeling of success can only be achieved by persisting despite fears. We don’t need to ignore fear, but are challenged to face our fear.

We all have faced so many things in life already, achieved and learned so much. Do not forget your accomplishments, although they may seem little and unimportant to you now. Once we have learned and mastered something, it does seem easy, but it is no less of an accomplishment. Find the talents and abilities within yourself that equip you to face the situation, and/or find support. Stay focused on your goal and that blissful feeling of success. You may stumble, or even fall on the way to achieving your goal, but keep that visualization and feeling of success alive and you will be able to get back up and press on.

Growing and learning may have daunting, painful parts, but attaining your goal, reaching and tasting those grapes are sweet, so sweet that a skinned knee or bruised ego are soon forgotten. So be honest with yourself about your abilities, seek support when necessary, keep your goals in sight, and keep the feeling of success present to maintain motivation. Are you ready for all the grapes?! Enjoy, you deserve it.

Btw, I am proud of having finished the disc golf course at par. Next time, though, if I…!