Jump First, Fear Later Tue, Jan 26, 2016
Skydiving, snakes, airplanes...these are all pretty common fears. While each of these is scary in its own right, public speaking is far and away my biggest fear, ever, of all time, hands down.
Which makes it completely inexplicable that I willingly spent nearly two years speaking to audiences ranging from a small group of 20 or so college students to 500+ kids in a high school gymnasium, when I worked for a non-profit organization called Invisible Children after college.
I was so moved by the mission, so drawn by the idea of being a voice (literally and figuratively) for people across the world in a forgotten corner of Central Africa, that I accepted the job offer and figured that my passion for the work I'd be doing would carry me through. Once I started the job, I learned that the organization's guiding principle was, "Jump first, fear later." It seemed fitting for the leap that I'd taken in facing my biggest fear every single day, multiple times a day.
I could definitely tell you that it got easier, that my fear lessened, that my heart wasn't beating out of my chest every time I got on stage, that eventually I didn't feel like I had just killed a bear every time I got off stage because I was so exhausted from the adrenaline that had been pumping through my body for the past 20 minutes...but that would be a lie.
However, with the benefit of hindsight being 20/20, it is, without a doubt, the single thing I am most proud of to this point in my life - both for the work I was a part of, and for facing that fear constantly.
I say all of that to say this: if we're living life right, there's always something terrifying that'll be constantly nagging us and challenging us to try, right? Is it going to be risky, scary, heart-stopping? Sure. More importantly, is it going to be worth it? Definitely. Just jump!