Do things that scare you

Photo by Michael Johnson, thebusybrain on Flickr

Your instinct is to stay where it’s safe.

But if you want to grow, you need to push yourself. You’re going to need to do some things that scare you.

I started skateboarding really late in life. I’d snowboarded for years, but I was 18 before I stepped on a plank with four wheels.

Skateboarding requires commitment. There’s no better illustration of this than dropping in on a half-pipe.

Photo by Ernest Duffoo, ErnestDuffoo on Flickr

Once you’re at the top of the half-pipe, you place the tail of the board on the coping, with the nose of the board hanging over the ramp. Then, you stand on the board, with one foot on the tail, and the other sitting lightly at the front.

This is where your legs start to shake.

It’s scary as hell, because the next step is to commit: you have to force yourself to put weight on your front leg and push down hard. You kind of “scoop” into the ramp.

Your brain does not want to do this. The instinct is to keep your weight on your back leg. But if you do that you’ll never drop in. If you “half commit” and start to drop in, but then lean back, you’ll wipe out.

Dropping in is scary. It doesn’t feel safe. But when you succeed for the first time, you realize you’re in a whole new world. You’ve reached a new level: now the entire ramp, or skatepark, is at your disposal.

How did I learn to drop in?

I had a friend who pushed me to commit. Daryl didn’t let me stand at the top of the ramp forever with my legs shaking. He told me the importance of pushing down on my front leg, and keeping my weight near the front of the board.

What scares you? Is it:

Before we commit, the motions feel counterintuitive. Our brains are screaming at us: “Don’t do that! Stay here where it’s safe.”

But the only way to grow is by doing things that scare us.

How do we do this? Do we just pull up our bootstraps, and get it done?

Yes, that’s part of it. But the real secret is to not do it alone.

Here are the different types of people that can help propel you forward (even if it scares you):

Do you feel stagnant? Like you’re not moving forward?

It’s time for you to take the next step. It’s time for you to move up another wrung on the ladder. What’s the next thing you need to do to grow?

Do it. Drop in, and commit.

Justin Jackson

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Published on October 4, 2014