There is no illusion greater than fear.
~ Lao Tzu
Saw a little girl touch a big bug and shout, “I conquered my fear! YES!” and calmly walk away. I was inspired.
~ Nathan Fillion
It’s OKAY to be scared. Being scared means you’re about to do something really, really brave.
~ Mandy Hale
I used to work at OGIO, the adrenaline-driven bag and apparel company. While there I had the privilege of meeting Travis Pastrana, the world-class motorsports competitor and stunt performer.
For those who follow the sport, Travis is an innovator and a leader. He is always pushing the limit. Always pushing what he can do and also what can be done in the sport. Check out the full Wikipedia bio of Travis and you’ll see what I mean.
In the 2006 X Games, Travis decided he was going to do the first-ever double backflip. This was extremely dangerous. Here are Travis’ own words regarding his thoughts prior to making this historic jump:
“For myself, the most fascinating part about freestyle is the psychology behind what it takes to succeed. It’s a sport of complete insanity. There’s no coaches, no rulebooks, no limits beyond your imagination. A fan sees a personality and watches that personality perform. A fan sees a rider practice, and understands pain. But, a fan will never have to fly through the air pondering which bones take the least amount of time to heal. A fan won’t have to choose between a broken back or two broken wrists. I’ve seen riders sit on their bikes and pray for twenty minutes. I’ve seen kids with ADHD sit silently for hours just staring at a ramp. Fear, a balancing act between normality and idiocy. It paralyzes the majority but gives clarity to some. Sitting on the roll in at X-Games, I wasn’t nervous, I had a game plan, I’ll be it not a good one, I had accepted the probability that I was going to crash. This was my way to overcome fear. My backup plan was a bailout point that was to be a millisecond judgment call at the halfway. Bail out then, and only blow out your knees. The first rotation was slow and I knew it, I wasn’t sure if I was going to see the ground again before impact, but it was too late for plan B. As the wheels touched down, the score didn’t matter, the money, not worth the risk. That moment was the definition of why people like us do what we do. At the base of uncertainty, it’s time to lock and load.”
Check out Travis’ historic jump here.
At the base of uncertainty, it’s time to lock and load.
I put a poster of Travis’ historic jump on the wall with Travis’ lock and load quote in my son’s bedroom to inspire him. The phrase “lock and load” now has special meaning in my family. My children know that I’m encouraging them to face their fears and push themselves into something scary. Every time they have done this, they have come away stronger and more capable with a greater belief in themselves. This self-belief is key to success.
Why do I tell you this today? As you work your way through your career, you will face decisions that are scary. Challenges that will stretch you. Opportunities that “were not what you had planned.” After you have thoroughly studied them out, you will come to a decision point. It is then you will experience a similar fear that Travis’ describes.
When that time comes, I encourage you to lock and load.
Final thought. In the movie, We Bought a Zoo, Benjamin Mee, played by Matt Damon, was trying to instill a sense of courage and adventure in his children. He summed up his philosophy by promising the following to his son, “All you need is 20 seconds of insane courage, and I promise you, something great will come of it.” Check out the scene here.
I have found the same thing to be true.
Choose to face fear. Choose courage. It’s time to lock and load.