“Go put this bridle on that horse,” my boss said to me. “And don’t touch his ears this time.”
Here are some facts that led up to this statement:
- I was working as a wrangler at a guest ranch in Colorado.
- I started working there, somewhat inexperienced with horses (I was mainly hired for my rugged good-looks and possibly because I lied a little on my application) so I was learning on the fly every day. Sometimes very afraid.
- The horse I was supposed to put a bridle on had just ripped an 8ft, fifty pound rail from a fence, and swung it around on a rope like it was a piece of licorice just because another wrangler moments before had touched his ears while trying to put it on.
- As I grabbed that bridle and slowly walked towards that horse, a small amount of pee pre-maturely escaping in my jeans, what happened next taught me an important lesson about fear.
How to Beat Fear
I slowly walked up to the horse I would’ve rather not touched with a 100ft pole. Quickly did what my boss had just taught me. And got the bridle on with no problem. Simple as that.
I then walked away a little taller and prouder, forgetting about the pee soaking my pants.
If I would sum up my boss’s leadership style, whom I respected very much, that’s what it would be.
If you’re afraid, do it anyway. (click to tweet that)
It never mattered to our boss who had the most experience or who was the best on paper for a certain task.
If you were there, you did the job.
You ease fear by doing it afraid. Then the next time, the fear is a little less frightening. (click to tweet)
For the rest of the summer whenever I began to avoid a job because I was afraid, I would turn back around and do it.
You learned by doing. You grew by doing it scared.
He didn’t sit you down and teach you a class on proper riding. He put you on a horse and told you to get going!
Get On and Get Going!
As a generation we’ve become paralyzed by over-analyzing.
With so much information at our fingertips, we want to research and remove all risk of embarrassment before we’ll even put our toe in the water.
When sometimes the best way to learn how to swim, is by being thrown in the deep end naked and blindfolded.
Doing something big is scary! Not doing something big because you’re afraid is even scarier! (tweet that)
If there’s something you know you need to do, but have been too nervous to take that first step, do it right now.
Don’t wait for it to feel right. Do it. Then feel right about it after it’s done.
If you’re scared to speak in public, join a Toastmasters and give a talk.
If you’re scared to network, email five people right now you’d like to meet with and ask them to coffee.
Walk into the office you want to be hired at and see if the hiring manager is available.
Go up to the girl you’ve been texting with and ask her out on a date. In person!
Volunteer to head up that big project at work even if you feel it’s overwhelming.
Do it. Then figure out how to get it done.
You learn the most by doing the things that you fear you’re the least capable of doing.
I’d love to hear from you in the comments section on this article:
What’s one thing that terrifies you that you will tackle today?