First, Happy 2019 to everyone!
It has been a little while since my last post. I guess I was waiting to gain some new meaningful life experiences or maybe I was just a little busy with teaching, family, and life away from the site. In any case, I am back to post about a recent adventure that I had. An adventure that should make some of you laugh, but more importantly share what I learned to inspire and motivate.
Like most people, I have a major fear of getting blood drawn. I know, I know it is pathetic. Over the course of my life, anytime blood has been involved it has ultimately led me to passing out in elevators, passing out near college infirmaries, and most recently knocking myself out during one of my wife's pediatric visits. That time I wasn't even the patient. I guess that is a testament to how much I love my wife!
My whole life I have had this debilitating fear that causes me to sweat profusely, become dizzy and disoriented, and bring me to my lowest and weakest point where my strength, power, and masculinity are stripped. It is not a place I like to be at all because it exposes me in a way that makes me feel like a failure.
With a brand new year, come new motivations, new expectations, and new challenges that we all set for ourselves. As 2018 began to wind down, I thought to myself what could I do to improve myself? What could I accomplish? I took out my stack of blank note cards (I write everything on note cards) and I wrote a few new challenges. Run a local 10 miler, a hometown 18 miler, and eventually complete my 1st marathon was on the list. Tell more stories and be more playful with my kids were also on the list. Less technology and more reading were on there too. As I started to write these things out, I stopped and thought to myself there was still something missing. It was something that I wanted to forget about forever and never include on any of my lists, but I knew deep down it had to go on the top.
I immediately pulled up the local lab testing facility website and looked up availability. My wife must have seen me pacing the room so she knew that something was up. I put my head down, took a few deep breaths, and told her my plan. Once I uttered what I was doing I knew the universe would hold me accountable and my wife would nonchalantly follow-up with me until the appointment. Since it was the holiday season, I knew my options would be limited. I scrolled and looked at each day and time trying to convince myself I didn’t need it done. I stopped the cursor on December 31st at 7:15 because there was something special about that date
There was something impactful and meaningful knowing it would be the last day of the year. The powerful message that I would be sending to myself, that I could overcome my fear the day before a new year. Talk about really overcoming something. Doing it even sooner than you wanted. I locked in my day and time and immediately shut the computer. I slowly walked over to my phone to add it to my calendar as, “The Day I Overcome my Fear” so the message was really echoed to the universe!
From that point on, there wasn’t a day that I didn’t think, worry, or even contemplate cancelling the appointment. I knew that this routine and necessary procedure was more than that. It was about defeating a fear that I gave power to. It was about preaching what I teach to my own children. It was something I had to do, and more importantly on my own.
The night before I was up throughout the night really stressing about it all. The whole process became even more heavy and draining since I would have to fast for what seemed like an eternity (especially to a guy that eats every 2 hours with a metabolism like a furnace). I had 2 choices, to play out the worst scenarios of me being passed out in a medical office with them calling my wife to come and get me as I would have to hear her secretly laughing and my kids looking at as “Their Dad” or I could embrace the fact that everything was going to be fine and that this wouldn’t define me any longer. The choice was mine, however the human mind is a very powerful thing! We all experience this in our lives. We imagine the absolute worst of what scares us and we try to control it all so it doesn’t control us. It is truly amazing how powerful our mind and thoughts can be.
In any case, I knew this would only be an internal battle for a few more hours because 7:15 would be coming whether I liked it or not.
I woke up ready to attack my moment. I quietly kissed my sleeping wife goodbye, made sure not to wake my well-rested children, made my way downstairs, grabbed my car keys and paperwork, got in my car, and began the start of my adventure into the early darkness of the morning. I blasted my stereo and kept looking at the clock visualizing an hour from that moment. When it would all be over.
My car pulled into the lot and it was time. I opened the door, got out and I knew there was no turning back. I already thought about sneaking to the diner for some pancakes (I love pancakes), but knew that wasn’t an option I would accept on the last day of the year. I opened the door, started the process of checking in and found myself a seat. During that time, my name went up on the TV monitor with a countdown of how long it would be until it was my turn. Amazing how much thinking a man can think about within 2 minutes. I sat in the seat and reflected on my life and my fear. I thought positive thoughts as I began to embrace the experience and the beauty in what I was doing.
There were 3 vampires, I mean phlebotomists (never understood why someone would want to do that career and I still don’t) in at that time. I was really hoping to avoid the zombie-looking man since I knew it would only add to my uneasiness. The Blood Gods must have heard my call and a young, vibrant nurse came to greet me. Each step I took with her back to the blood-draining area was filled with determination, confidence, and pride.
The clock ticked, my blood was drawn, and my fear slowly died in that room. Everything was done and I felt a sense of accomplishment. I immediately thought of a quote that I had read that was the most fitting for my moment. “Everything you ever wanted is just on the other side of fear”. This was the truth. It was my truth on the last day of December 2018! I walked outside and was met by an amazing New Jersey winter morning sunrise (the picture you see). I smiled as I appreciated its beauty, got in my car, stopped at the bagel store to grab my family breakfast (almost like the way a predator would bring a prize kill home). I walked into my house feeling like a new man.
I had overcome my fear! If I can, you can! You see everything we need is already inside of us. Bravery, courage, determination, it is all inside. We just need the belief that we can bring it out. We just need to trust that everything is going to be ok and to quiet the voices in our head that keeps yelling at us. We need to learn not to listen. We must replace them with a voice that reverberates throughout our bones. We can be our own worst villains, but we can also be our own superheroes.
What is waiting FOR YOU on the other side of Fear?
Inside my Fire