Eliminating Fear and Embracing Relief

2016 has been quite the year. From celebrity deaths to outrageous news stories to an unforgettable presidential race. 2016 has been a huge year for me in terms of personal growth. I've embraced a few things that scare me, and I've never been happier.

Some people have absolutely hated 2016 - and for good reason. I haven't - and below are a few reasons why.

Improv Classes
I started taking improv comedy classes at Brave New Workshop, a local theatre organization. I can't tell you how many people have told me, "I could never do that". And if you were to tell 4th-grade me that you'd be taking improv classes and absolutely love it - I'd probably nervous vomit in your face. The biggest thing I've learned so far - and continue to learn - is to stop over-thinking and to just do things.

One of the biggest lessons I've learned so far is to just go for it. Jump into a scene. You'll eventually figure everything out - for the good or the bad. That approach is incredibly similar to everything in life, right?

  • Just jump in the water and you'll get used to it.
  • Just start writing and eventually you won't be able to stop.
  • Just try something new and you'll either love it or hate it.

I'm a huge proponent of doing improv, whether it's something you've always wanted to do or it's only crossed your mind once. You'll most likely laugh every week, meet lifelong friends, and best of all - you'll grow exponentially as a human being.

Being More Bold
Starting improv and becoming more bold go hand-in-hand. I never thought I'd want to get into improv. I never thought I'd enjoy improv once I got into it. But being bold, stepping out of my comfort zone, and following through with something that scares the absolute CRAP out of me has changed me so much for the better.

This boldness has carried over into other aspects of my life as well. I'm haven't yet reached my desired level of boldness yet, but I'm getting there. Saying how I feel about certain things at the office, for instance. I never used to speak up much at work - and I would always kick myself for it. But having the courage to try to be funny in front of strangers on a weekly basis really silences that "what will they think of me?" idea. 

I say "No" more often. I do this because, well, sometimes I don't want to do certain things. Other times I do this so I can dedicate time to things I find more important. Both of which are fine. But this idea should be accepted more often.

Saying "no" isn't the quintessential "being bold" moment. I'd view it as more of a first step. A first step to eliminating things, decisions, opportunities in your life that you don't feel will help you grow. They won't help you become the person you're currently trying to become. And that's great!

It's great you notice that. Let people have a problem with you saying NO. They will and there isn't much you can do about it. I've said no to countless things in my past - and there are only a few to which I regret saying no. Don't ever let the fear of regret stop you from achieving your personal goals. 

Throwing Away Things
This stage has been hugely important for me since the beginning of 2014. I went through a huge growth period in January 2014 - and haven't look back since. I'll spare you the details - shoot me an e-mail if you'd like to know more. But since then, it's all about bringing - and keeping - valuable things in my life. This can range from shirts and shoes to relationships and experiences. 

Throwing things away has been an extremely difficult process. And sure, I slip up from time to time and bite off more than I can chew, but that is a perfect opportunity for personal growth. When I find I'm in one of those cycles - I step back and evaluate my actions. If I like the path I'm going down, or it makes sense, then I'll continue to explore it. But if there is no light at the end of the tunnel, that's when I realize I need to cut the cord and start over again.

What does this all have to do with throwing things away? Well - everything. I only throw away what I realize I don't need. Whether it's the old coffee maker, an old pair of sheets, shoes I just bought, or Facebook friends I don't know in real life. The realization I've come to is to only surround yourself with people and things that are going to help you achieve your personal goals. If they don't - then eliminate them completely. If they do - welcome them with open arms.

So tell me - how are you eliminating fear? Are you facing it head on - or avoiding it completely? What are your steps for both approaches?