“The more scared we are of a work or calling, the more sure we can be that we have to do it… The more fear we feel about a specific enterprise, the more certain we can be that that enterprise is important to us and the growth of our soul. “ – Steven Pressfield of The War of Art
Marie Forleo is one of those amazing women that I follow and emulate as much as I possibly can (aside from Oprah). And in her Tuesday’s Marie TV episode she talked about following our fears.
By fear, it means the good kind of fear that we know once we overcome, will change our life for the better. It’s the directive kind of fear like an idea of doing something that we’ve always wanted to do. Something that the deeper and wiser part of us wants so damn bad! Not the kind that will have us get run over by a bus, lol!
Come to think of it, when I look back on my life, a lot of the things I did in order to follow my bliss was I followed my fear first. Again, by fear, Marie and I both mean something that can make us doubt ourselves and our capabilities but once we do it, will bring us tremendous joy. Let me give you mine…
OVERCOMING MY FEARS IN CHILDHOOD
In elementary, I studied in an all girls Catholic school (St. Scholastica’s Academy of Marikina). I was on scholarship so I had to do my very best otherwise, my mom who works in Commission on Audit – a government institution here in the Philippines with not enough salary to support us all with my two other siblings, won’t be able to afford my tuition fee with her meager salary. So I always had to give it my best shot in school. Aside from being in the honor roll, I also joined various school clubs and activities. I was a Grade 2 Class president, Grade 3 Art Club President, Grade 4 Sewing Club President, Grade 6 Level Representative. Hence, I was always in leadership seminars and art competitions mingling with other students from other exclusive and private schools. Did I say that I grew up very insecure? Yup, because amidst all these rich kids around me who are naturally speaking in English with parents working either abroad or having all those coveted professional positions, I came from a lower middle class family with a jobless dad and most of the time, I felt like I was just acting out confidence in front of everybody. Have I also told you that I’m a naturally introverted and shy person? I prefer to be alone than be in social situations. I also don’t like talking to people that much especially if it involves chitchats. But give me a person or a few people I can really bond with and dig deep with, then I can talk all day and all night!
So anyway, at that time, I had to overcome all my natural tendencies and face the challenges of going out of my shell every day because I know that by doing so, I can have a chance at having a brighter future than my parents ever did. I graduated with high honors after that.
OVERCOMING MY FEARS DURING MY TEENS
In high school, I was sent to my grandparents’ place in Cagayan de Oro to continue my studies there because my parents feared that with all the suitors wooing me at a very young age in our neighborhood, I might end up knocked up with no future like some of my girl friends. I didn’t want to leave the friendships I’ve built up all my childhood years but I knew I had to, again for my future. Plus the thought of living in a different place excited me too a little. But it was still all so scary. I didn’t speak their dialect (Visayan) and my grandparents are very, very strict. It’s like being in military school. Suffice it to say that history repeated itself but got a lot better. I was consistently on top 2 of our class, was class president during my Sophomore year, was Math Club president during my graduating year, won in various quiz bees and competitions, was one of the Ten Outstanding Students of Cagayan de Oro City, performed on stage as an actor, was chosen as a local VJ among all the older HS candidates, etc. I graduated Salutatorian after that.
OVERCOMING MY FEARS DURING ADOLESCENCE
In college, I got in as a 100% scholar in one of the most prestigious universities in the Philippines — Ateneo de Manila University — and everyday I faced my fear:
- fear of living alone in an apartment near Katipunan because I lived far (I lived with my family in San Mateo Rizal and all the traffic to and fro was taking up so much of my time and energy better spent on my homework and studies)
- fear of being with the smartest students my age in the country
- fear of not being able to always give it my best shot
- fear of not being able to maintain my scholarship
- fear of not being good enough, etc. etc.
But each time I came out victorious one quiz after another, one major test after another, one competition after another, one Dean’s list award after another, I felt so great! It’s the same feeling of elation I have every time I’d overcome something that is not natural for me, because if I were to just follow my bliss, I’d rather just stay home, eat, watch movies all the time, read novels and sleep. That’s my definition of bliss. But doing my fear, overcoming it and coming out victorious after facing it, FEELS SO MUCH BETTER!
OVERCOMING MY FEARS IN ADULTHOOD
That kind of discipline in my life brought me to a series of other major events that pushed me to further follow my fear more often than not:
- I’m a shy person and fear being in public — so at the age of 21, I joined ABS-CBN Star Circle, but got only at level 2 of the audition. At least I tried. No regrets there.
- At age 25, I joined ABS-CBN Acting workshop, graduated as class president and started my foray on TV acting which brought me extra income when I did all those bit roles on soaps and TV commercials.
- I hated the concept of being a boss in a public institution because those bosses I knew ended up dying young out of stress at work. But I was forced to join the management development program of GSIS and after 6 months of studies, I graduated Top 9 out of 40 candidates among the almost 1000 employees who applied for a slot all over the Philippines.
- I never dreamt of being married but I was in a relationship for 12 years and some of those years were the happiest I had then.
- I abhored being a mom but after 37 years of existence, I finally did it and I can now say that motherhood, despite its ups and downs, it is the most fulfilling thing I have ever done in my entire life so far.
- I am scared to love again but I said yes to my best friend and it’s one of the best decisions I have ever made in my life because it gave me our Baby Tuz and I still can’t believe how this relationship is so much different and better than the last.
- I am actually scared of flying and traveling but I took it one day at a time and now I can no longer count the many places I’ve visited all these years both here and abroad (which I will share with you all on this blog one post at a time).
- I fear drowning which already happened to me twice! But that didn’t stop me from surfing, knee boarding, wind surfing, kite surfing, etc. and those were some of the best times of my life!
- When something scares and excites me, I DO IT! Below are some examples of the scariest moments of my life…
surfing in La Union 2006
windsurfing in Caliraya 2010
kite surfing in Boracay 2009
knee boarding in Calatagan 2008
scuba diving in Anilao 2005
helmet diving in Boracay 2011
free fall in Treetop, Subic 2010
Following your fear is good. If there is something in your life that you want to do but scares the beejeezus out of you, do it!
Following my own fears ever since trained me to just keep following them because deep in my heart I know doing so will lead me to where my heart really wants me to be. I actually did one a few months ago, which is to leave my former blog/persona (SexyNomad) which I had for more than a decade in order to start this new blog to symbolize my new life as a mother, a traveler, a (wannabe) entrepreneur, hence the term MomTraNeur. It’s scary. I feared it for the longest time. But now that I am finally doing it, it’s given me tremendous happiness and peace of mind.
So… “Follow your fear. It’s a GPS for where your soul wants you to go.” – Marie Forleo
11 thoughts on “Follow Your Fear So You Can Follow Your Heart”
Life begins outside of our comfort zone. You just have to face your fears and make your mark.
What a generous sharing of experiences this was. We share the same introverted personality despite positions we held in school while growing up. I never had the guts to explore my artistic side until after graduation. I wish I can write an article like this someday.
this was lovely to read and heartwarming too! i do agree that facing your fears, you can accomplish anything
So inspiring! Moving out of your comfort zone and facing fears is what I love to do. Thanks for the motivation.
So true and it felt like reading a kids diary with things to accomplish and overcome my fear.
Wow! such a great and inspiring post. I am afraid of height and going down the staircase. I hope to conquer my fear too.
There’s a saying in the Indian language Hindi – “Daro. Darr ke aage jeeth he”, which means, “Fear… For ahead of fear is Victory”!!! Your post reminded me of that!
Cant agree more. You need to really face your fears and address them to overcome. This happened to me when I decided to take up a position at work which I thought I wont be able to handle but I am doing pretty well. When you go for it, you find a way to do it as well!
Wow, great adventures! Life is full of surprises, we really need to follow our heart and enjoy our existence.