You see, fear is actually a semi colon, not a full-stop. It's warning for us to check things out. It's something we need to keep us alert. And yet many of us take fear as a sign to stop and do nothing. We're paralysed by fear like the rabbit caught in the headlights. Fear is such a strong emotion, and it's one we're taught to avoid from quite young. We're shown how to walk away from it, how to avoid it altogether, how to hide from it.
But fear is important to us - it is supposed to be there to galvanise us into action, to inspire us, to help us push our boundaries a little further. It builds our confidence, and helps us to achieve things we didn't know was possible.
Since I turned 50 in 2012 I have been working on a list of 50 things to do in my 50s. Some of them have been quite easy to do, like being a tourist in Liverpool for the day. But many have really stretched me, and have required me to face up to my fears. I used to think that I had a fear of heights. Apparently not! I now go climbing almost every week because I added bouldering to my list of things. I've also done stand-up comedy, and sung in public on a stage ... in front of an audience! I've gone on the zip wire (OMG when can I do that again!), and I've cycled 173 miles in 3 days as I cycled from one side of England to the other. The fear there was all about whether I had the endurance to do such a thing - and yes, I do.
Doing these 50 things in my 50s is challenging me to go beyond my fears, and the more I do that, the easier it is for me to face up to fear, and to use fear as my friend. It's said that both the hero and the coward face the same fear, the difference between them is that the hero takes that fear and turns into a fire in the belly that gives the hero an inner strength to go further.
Are you ready to turn your fear into fire? What can you do today that pushes the boundaries of your fear and turns it into a positive thing for you?