In a world of acronyms and hashtags, I reference Strangers To Friends as, STF. But I often get, “what does STF mean?” So, I brainstormed a bit on other possible words. That’s when it hit me: STEP THROUGH FEAR. Why? Because… to experience anything in life, from introducing yourself to the stranger at the coffee shop reading a book you love to signing up to run your first half marathon to moving to a new city by yourself… it requires you to: step through fear.
A Personal Story: With a Coffee Date (finally) on the calendar I couldn’t wait to catch up with my Stranger To Friend, Ron, to learn what was brewing in his world. As a multi talented comedian and performer, he started by telling me all about his upcoming One Man Show at a theater close to my house. As I listened, I recognized, I loved the idea of being on stage entertaining with a story, too. From studying theater at performing arts school in high school, to taking Improv Comedy classes in San Diego, my Television Broadcasting degree naturally led me to love being seen and heard. Whether I’m motivating, educating or making people laugh, I love public speaking. The two greatest fears for many people: death and public speaking. But for me, it’s the opposite. Something about the freedom to express myself with an audience; hearing their reactions, contributing to their experience: I FEEL ALIVE!
Seconds after he finished sharing his story, without thinking, the words, ” I’ve want my own show, too” jokingly flew out of my mouth. But Ron picked up on my truth and followed my up with an tempting offer I couldn’t refuse, “want the first 10 minutes of my act as a Story Teller?” The smile crept across my face and again without thinking… I squealed, “oh my goodness, yes! Let’s do this!”
And as quickly as I said yes, reality set in. Was he being serious? What story would I share? Fear rose in my chest. Recognizing my resistance, he reminded me it wasn’t about being perfect! I’ve told stories on Facebook live only this time I’d be face to face! This was my chance to check an item of my “don’t just dream it, do it list”! Our expressions in the selfie below say it all!
What is Fear?
The voice in our head is a trickster. I know first hand that Fear, our Ego often serves to keep us small. It pretends to keep up safe but instead acts as avoidance or procrastination, convincing us we’re being productive. The ego likes wants you to stay inside the lines, safe from judgement. The ego does NOT want you to get on stage to tell a story to a room full of strangers!
But, I was scared of doing something new for the first time. I was scared of criticism. I was scared of not being good. enough.
That is, until I did it. And the fear shifted into… fun.
I picked one of my favorite stories: “How I got on the airplane to Australia knowing I’d lost my Wallet” — yes, TRUE STORY. I knowingly flew penniless to the other side of the world, in 2005, before Social Media or Travel Cell Phones. My delivery isn’t perfect… but what does perfect even mean? I DID IT! I even got a few laughs! I’m proud of myself… and that is all that really matters.
Listen below… then let me know… what would YOU do if you found yourself in the same scenario?
After the show, a few folks were so excited to tell me their crazy travel stories too! Once again, I was reminded, when I share my mine, I give permission for others to share theirs, too. A positive ripple effect!
TRUTH: The adrenaline coursing through your body when you’re scared is the same adrenaline that courses through your body when you’re excited. Fear and excitement feel the same physiologically! Elevated heart rate, maybe some butterflies in your stomach, increased awareness and inability to sleep, and a feeling of pent-up energy are very common signs of both fear and excitement. They feel the same physically, but emotionally and mentally they are polar opposites. Fear can be debilitating at worst, and needlessly (and negatively) stressful at best. Excitement is fun, enjoyable, and addictive.
At a recent Strangers To Friends experience, a man let me know he’d been receiving invitations via Meetup for over a year but resisted coming out of fear. With a huge smile he exclaimed, “I can’t believe I waited so long! “. I smiled back. You see, many people have expressed the same feeling! The only way to discover the other side of the fear is to take action and do it! EVERYONE is a first-timer, their first time they do anything. You’re not being set up to fail. You’re being challenged to.. .Step Through Fear.
When was the last time you stepped through fear — and experienced joy?
What action can you take this week to step through fear and invite a new experience?