Fear. I’ve been thinking a lot about it lately. I wonder why we are so afraid of some things… and not others. I have written a lot about fear over the years. [Here, here, here, here and here, to name a few posts.]
I am in the process of shutting down a business. That’s scary.
I am waiting on two books to be released in Spring and Fall 2019. One that I still need to write 40% of–in a deadline that’s closer than my next 70.3 triathlon. That perhaps is a scarier thing than the rest.
I don’t know what I am “doing” with the rest of my life—there are no real plans after the books, the podcast, the speaking things. That’s so unlike me, so not-Meredith. I am literally hanging out and figuring it out. So, naturally, that’s also scary AF.
I have a torn meniscus in my left knee. It’s been with me since January, and I have worked around it. That may or may not be okay–I could go for the next 25 years with no major issues if I don’t do box jumps or break-dancing.
Scary? Sure. But what’s the alternative? Do nothing?
I can’t do that. I have been in the “do nothing” part of my life. The fear of sitting idly, drowning my sorrows in booze, is much more scary. The fear of blaming others for my failures is worst. The loss of connection to myself and others? I’ll just blow out my ACL. I’m dead serious. I’m not scared of that. I’m scared of not trying. I’m scared of not doing what lights my soul on fire.
But I am okay with all of these fears. I am at peace in a way that is indescribable. Why? Well, because I have been through hell. 2017 was the year from hell, addiction is hell, and I know what hell is… this place right now?
This place is just fear.
Fear I can do. Hell? That I would like to not repeat.
Kyle Maynard and I talked today. This is guy who was born with congenital amputation. In other words, he’s missing his arms and legs below about the elbow.
And he climbs mountains. Yes, wait for it.
What does he have to be afraid of? I would say, “A lot.” I know if I was plopped down in his body (the 5 minute experiment we talk about on the podcast), I think I would be afraid. How do I drive? Eat? Write? Type? Use my phone?
But those aren’t his fears, because he’s already overcome those fears.
Ten seconds with Kyle and you realize he’s just not afraid of the things we would be afraid of –if we suddenly found ourselves in his circumstances. He learned from a young age to fend for himself, learn how to overcome, and to not take any shit from people (or himself).
In 2012, Kyle became the first quadruple amputee to climb – actually bearcrawl – the 19,340 feet to the top of Mount Kilimanjaro without the aid of prosthetics. His 10-day ascent was widely covered by the press, followed on social media, and raised money and awareness for wounded veterans as well as Tanzanian schoolchildren. Upon his return, Kyle won his second ESPY (Excellence in Sports Performance Yearly) award for Best Male Athlete with a Disability.
Four years later, he reached the summit of Argentina’s breathtakingly beautiful and sometimes deadly Mount Aconcagua – the highest peak in both the Western and Southern Hemispheres, standing at 22,838 feet. Following that epic summit, Nike featured Kyle in the powerful commercial “Unlimited Will,” which debuted globally during the 2016 Olympics, was viewed by millions around the world – and was part of the series that AdWeek named the most memorable of all commercials during the 2016 Olympics.
Kyle has not let his success be defined by anything or anyone but himself. He has lived his life striving to do more, learn more, push harder, go further—and to inspire others to do the same by sharing his story and living by example. Though he tailors his speeches to his audience, his messages are centered on building a life driven by purpose and meaning, the importance of the undying pursuit of dreams, and the belief that no obstacle is too great and nothing in their lives can keep them from accomplishing their goals.
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