We all have fears and phobias based on either what we have heard or have been told by other people or based on things we have experienced. If we don’t address them, they can limit the things that we do. I thought I would share two personal experiences of fear that I have recently confronted and overcome. One due to an experience that happened to me and another based on what I had been told by others. In this blog, I share how I overcame the experiential fear.
35 years ago, at the age of 17, I had a rock-climbing accident that left me with a fear of heights. A self-limiting belief that I have lived with until recently.
At school, a teacher who was an experienced climber, used to take myself and my school mates rock-climbing at weekends. The rule was a minimum of 3 people were required for safety reasons. On the fateful weekend, we were trying to tackle a difficult climb which included an overhang at the top of the climb. My teacher went first and reached the top and it was my turn. I started off well and reached the overhang in good spirits. It was then that my trouble started. Part way through traversing the overhang, I had, what climbers call sewing-machine leg, an involuntary nervous condition that occurs without warning that makes your legs shake uncontrollably. This caused me to lose my footing, fall and end up dangling 200 metres from the ground. Unfortunately, as I had falling and the nylon rope had stretched, it had wedged firmly between two rocks. The only solution was for another rope to be thrown to me and for me to attach it to my harness and for me to then cut the main rope to release me. As I am typing this, you can understand, the plan was successful, however rather than going out rock-climbing the following weekend, I left it, and that is where my problem started. Since that day, I have always had a fear for heights.
When my wife and I decided to visit Toronto, Canada on vacation, I had the opportunity to overcome my fear. My wife had researched about The CN Tower Edgewalk. Opened less than 4 years ago, it is one of the world’s highest edgewalks on the outside of a building. My wife had decided she wanted to tackle the Edgewalk to raise money for Skiathos Dog Shelter, a charity close to our hearts, as this is where we rescued our American Eskimo dog, Zippo. I decided to support her and in doing so overcome my fear. This video footage shows how I overcame my fear.
So how did I overcome my fear. Well for me, it was having a compelling reason to do so coupled with being satisfied with safety. In my case, this was supporting my wife in her goal of raising as much money for the charity as she could by completing The Edgewalk. I had read up on The Edgewalk and all the safety checks that were completed and felt as comfortable as I could that nothing had gone wrong in the 4 years it had been opened.
The icing on the cake was that I was the first person from my birth town of Plymouth to achieve The Edgewalk.
Each of us is unique and therefore one size does not fit all. My reasons for overcoming my fear may not work for you however I do hope that my story may inspire you to think about any experiential fears you have and how you may overcome them. If you do, I wish you good luck and success.
What have you done to overcome your experiential fears?
All the best, Nick
P.S. In another blog, I will share how I overcame a fear based on what I had heard from others.