I was sitting on my front porch, drinking my morning cup of coffee, and scrolling through Twitter when I came across a video that stopped me in my tracks.
I bet you’ve seen it—the video quickly went viral and got millions of views.
It’s about a 14-year-old boy named Tim Bannon who was born without arms. In the video, he attempts a 20-inch box jump at a summer camp he attends for limb-different youth. Take a look:
Powerful, isn’t it?
What caught my attention about this video was how clearly it demonstrated the power fear can have over us. If we allow it, fear will consume us and hold us back in every area of our lives. From careers to relationships, no part of your life is safe from fear’s trap.
But notice how I wrote allow it. Fear is real, and it’s paralyzing. But at the end of the day, we have what it takes to overpower fear so we can reach our highest potential.
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This video taught me that no matter what emotions we experience when facing fear head on, we’ll be better equipped to know what to do with those emotions if we’re able to identify them. Identifying the emotions will help you go from being a passive participant in the situation to an active one.
If you rewatch the video, you’ll witness Tim power through three emotions as he conquers his fear of falling. Instead of caving into the roller coaster of emotions, he was able to channel each emotion to propel himself forward—and I want you to be able to do the same.
As you can see from Tim’s experience, you’ll experience a range of emotions when trying to conquer a fear. Let’s talk about three of those emotions.
Fear torments us, doesn’t it?
In the video, you can see Tim agonizing over his fear of falling as he attempts an exercise that typically involves momentum from your arms.
He hesitates during the first couple of jumps he takes, which keeps him from succeeding. That’s because when you’re focused on the possibility of failing, you’re not able to put forth all the effort and power you have within.
What’s interesting is that Tim’s fear of falling during his attempt is—in a way—not reasonable. There are two large men standing on either side of him, ready to catch him if he falls. But he’s too focused on the agony to realize he’s believing a lie. Because the truth is, if he messes up his footing, he won’t really fall. He’ll be just fine!
Don’t we all do that? We focus on where we might fall short and what might make us fail, rather than putting our focus on what is actually true in that situation.
The truth in your situation might not be as obvious as two large men standing by you, ready to cushion your landing. But I’m willing to bet there is a truth that can replace the lie you’re believing—and that truth will help silence the agony.
If you’re unsure about what the truth is in your situation, talk with people you love and trust. When you’re in the thick of it, it’s hard to see beyond your fear—but a trusted outside perspective can help clear up some of that fog.
After experiencing the agony of the fear, you might begin to feel angry. Just like Tim, you get frustrated because any failed attempts affirm the lie you’re believing.
This is probably the most important emotion of the three, because anger could be what either makes you or breaks you, depending on how you channel it.
When you’re feeling anger in the process of conquering your fear, you have a choice between one of two actions:
Retreat and let the anger overpower you (the flight response).
Turn the anger into power to propel you forward (the fight response).
The second is exactly what Tim does in the video. After agonizing over the fear of falling and getting angry at his failed attempts, he’s had enough. He turns that anger into power, jumps harder and higher, and conquers the box jump once and for all.
3. Awe and Astonishment
Do you know what it feels like to finally conquer a fear? It’s exhilarating. You experience a rush of emotions that quickly overwhelms you. You stand astonished, because now you have proof that you have what it takes to do the thing you were afraid to do.
And no one can take that away from you.
You can see the awe and astonishment on Tim’s face when he jumps off the box and falls straight into the arms of his coach, tears streaming down his face.
He gets affirmation from himself and from others that he is, in fact, able to accomplish more than he thinks he can.
And the same is true for you.
Whatever fear you’re struggling to conquer, I want you to know that it’s normal to experience agony in the beginning, and that the agony might turn into anger. But that’s when it’s up to you to decide what you’re going to do with that anger. Which will you choose: fight or flight?
Only one of those choices will lead to the overwhelming exhilaration of crushing the fear that once haunted you.
Press on, folks—you are more capable than you think!