What are your greatest fears? Have you ever been vulnerable enough to share them? Today I’m spilling my top 5 Greatest Fears and how I’ve chosen to overcome them, so you too can be inspired to face and overcome yours. I bet you and I have more in common than you think when it comes to this daunting topic. I’m vulnerably opening up to you today and if you’re feeling courageous enough to do so too, comment at the bottom, your greatest fear (it doesn’t even have to be 5!) that you are going to try to make it a goal to overcome after reading this. So what are my fears you ask?
In ascending order…. (Drum roll)…My top 5 Greatest Fears are:
Drowning plus Shark attack or being in a Plane Crash
Ok. This fear is probably pretty relatable, but also somewhat basic if I’m being honest. Noticed I put them in ascending order, but I thought this would be a good way to break the ice before I get all deep on you here. Regardless, it is a fear that has still made it to my top 5. I’ve linked a couple together here and there’s a reason for it. They are all fears I’m willing to face because I have something much more significant to experience, achieve or gain from facing these fears head on.
For example, drowning. I think I have this fear because sadly my Dad’s mom died in a freak car accident in which she drowned when I was young. I really really hate that that happened to her. I’ll never forget my dad being the good and prepared dad that he is, got the whole family these high tech car glass breaking tools one year for Christmas, just in case God forbid. So I think that is where the fear stems from. I’ve always LOVED marine life though and especially Dolphins. We used to snorkel on Caribbean vacations as kids and I grew up with a swimming pool and near the ocean. Naturally, my favorite Disney movie was “The Little Mermaid”. So naturally I wanted to get certified to scuba dive to explore the beautiful sea. Well because my desire to do this was so strong, I faced the fear and took the course to get certified to dive. The way I held myself accountable was by A) bringing my husband, and B) I told myself if I won the Presiden’ts club trip at work to Jamaica that I would do my first dive with my already certified husband on that trip. Mission Accomplished. Oh and Sharks clearly exist in large open bodies of salt water, and hello have you seen Shark week? Enough said.
Plane Crash? Yes a very common fear of most. Oddly for me though my dad was a Pilot, mom a flight attendant and I’ve been flying in planes since I was very little. So why do I have this fear? The truth is it has developed over time for me as I’ve become more older aware of things that can go wrong and all of that. Deeper than that though I think it is a trust thing. I’ve overcome this fear by learning I have to sometimes trust that what’s meant to happen will and none of us fully control when its our time. For me, the desire to travel and visit beautiful places, immersing in new cultures, etc. has outweighed the fear of holding me back from flying. If this is a fear of yours, I know you can do this. Mind over Matter sister. Trust.
2. Putting myself out there for nothing
At the end of the day do you sometimes ever wonder what is it all for? What if I put myself out there, try something new, just to be made fun of or to not make an impact at all. I’m raising my hand here. I wonder sometimes when will I reach more people so I can really make an impact? When will that hard work pay off at work? Did I do it all for the false hope of what is to be and in reality what if it all falls through? Doubt. That’s what it comes down to I’ve realized. Just that one simple word- Doubt. Why do we doubt ourselves? We all know nothing worth it or right comes easy in life! Heck no! It takes a ton of blood, sweat, tears, time and persistency for something truly great to come to fruition. What I’m building is far bigger than myself, and truth is, if we don’t put ourselves out there and push to grow, to try that new thing, to take that trip, whatever it is, then we are missing out on Life! So be patient. Be positive, and be persistent. If you don’t give up on yourself, I wont either. Deal?
3. Public Speaking
Don’t you just cringe and get butterflies all in your stomach at the thought of this? I think most people do and I am definitely one of them. The thing about me though is I am always prepared and a major type A, planner personality. So I will do a ton of prep work for the presentation and usually end up doing a great job, but I seriously freak myself for at least a week leading up to it! I loose sleep, eating habits are off, cue irritable bowels (LOL TMI?), and am on edge during this time frame. The day of, oh boy don’t even get me started. It’s all I can think about, starting when my body naturally wakes itself up in the middle of that night at 3 am to start stressing it. Does anyone else do this? And why do we do this to ourselves?!
What’s helped me overcome this fear are several things. One is to face your fears and say yes when you keep getting asked to present. Clearly you are doing a good job and offering up valuable information if you keep getting asked to do so. It’s important to also know your boundaries and when it’s ok to say no to something. I’ve started doing this too by simply having enough self-awareness to understand when I am saying no due to fear or no due to prioritizing. You want to say no due to prioritizing, not because of fear. Another thing that helps is positive self talk. Every day. Hype yourself up with your favorite song in the car, tell yourself how amazing and talented you are while getting ready each morning. It works. You have to envision yourself crushing it, and you really will, so long as you are prepared!
4. Loosing everything
Last year when my husband Mark was diagnosed with Cancer, I had so many scary thoughts running through my brain. Like so many what if’s. Prior to that, I was having one of those Charlotte from “Sex and the City” moments, where life was truly like a song. I thought everything was so on course and going so great that it was almost too good to be true, because no one gets to have it all right? Yes like everyone, I had stressful days and bad days during this time frame but for the most part, life. was. GOOD.
We had moved into the beautiful house we built, we were traveling a lot, and making good money in our careers. It’s funny how we start to take things for granted and just like that, with the news of Mark having Cancer, everything changed. My initial thought and fear, as I’m sure is anyone’s first thought who has gone through a loved one or spouse getting that scary, possibly fatal news, was…”OMG am I going to loose my husband?” The husband I literally married just 3 years ago (at that time) with the most beautiful, perfect Wedding in Savannah. The Man I met in college and have been with for nearly 10 years? My team mate, my person, the love of my life till death do us part? I was expecting that part of our vows to be wayyy down the road in our new life together.
After that initial thought I had so many other thoughts or fears, like can we afford his treatment? Can we afford our new house now that he won’t be working or receiving any benefits? Thank God he is on my Insurance Policy! Are we going to loose friends during this time? How is family going to react…will they help us in a way that is truly helpful and non-self serving if we need it? Am I going to be able to balance working and taking care of him? How sick will he get? Will he be mentally strong during this time? Will we loose everything (including my blog and business) we have worked so hard for? I mean it was a rabbit hole. On and on and on.
You see, it didn’t matter that we had “successful” careers. It didn’t matter we had a picture perfect Wedding day. The most important thing I learned from this is to check yourself. Literally. Because everything you “have” and “have worked so hard for” can be taken away from you by God in the blink of an eye for a bigger picture and purpose. I wouldn’t be able to sit here and share this with you, inspiring you with the same realizations and how to prevail if it weren’t through all of the tribulations I went through in 2018.
And girlfriend, I think God was telling me, its time to remember what is truly important. That is what I had to do, and find gratitude towards God even during this difficult time. I had to let it all go and remain positive. Positive perspective and Faith is all we needed to get through this. After all, It could’ve been way worse. I didn’t loose my husband to this horrible illness thankfully. Instead we became stronger through the hard times, resilient to outer-daggers and humble in what we still had and have going forward- our many blessings and each other, most importantly. The best part? We got a companion, golden-doodle for Mark during this time. He is the best thing in our lives, showing true unconditional love.
5. Not living life on purpose
Ok. I saved this one for last because this truly scares me to my core. I would hate to miss out on my life and purpose because I was afraid. Yet, I think so many people sadly do this. I can’t let myself be one of those people, and I know you don’t want to either. That’s partly why I started my blog and began sharing life in all its triumphs and defeats with you. My fear of what if I don’t is far greater than my fear of failing at this. What am I doing to overcome this fear of not living life on purpose? A ton of self development and soul searching. I’m reading books like, “Girl, Wash Your Face”, taking time to reflect and make changes, as well as listening to my inner voice and trusting it. I’ve moved to a whole other state actually as you probably already know (FL to NC) to experience change and make sure my husband and I settle to hopefully raise our future family in a place we love. How do you know though unless you travel, explore and live in new places? Embrace the change. Avoid missing out on your true life’s purpose (I know, easier said than done).
I think the moral of today’s “Coffee with Jess” is, you will never overcome your fears if you don’t face them. That is the harsh reality. And if it is something that made it to the top of your list, it’s probably because it is something important for you to overcome because of the deeper meaning of that fear to you. What is your greatest fear holding you back from? Also, I know its hard but I am practicing every day to control what I can, and let everything else go. I believe God has a plan for my life as well as yours. We’ve got to have a little faith. Last, its so important that we try, because if we don’t we loose out on possibly becoming the amazing person we were meant to be. We avoid personal growth and welcome complacency, and I know not one of you reading this is ok with that for your life. So here I am vulnerably sharing my struggles and working through them with you every day. I want to hear from you. What do you fear and are going to make the effort to overcome this year?
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Photography by the wonderful Carolina Montes of Montes Digital Consulting