Tina Sibley
River Canyoning
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Bravery: Not the Absence of Fear
Written by Tina Sibley in August 2020

People who happily do things that others are scared to do, aren't necessarily being brave.  If they don't have the fear, they have no need to be brave.

Instead, I believe that bravery is when the fear is there and they do it anyway! The  bigger the fear, the bigger the bravery!

I overcame a fear of heights - now I'm not as brave as I used to be!

Let me explain.

The other weekend, I went river canyoning for the first time.  This involved a couple of abseils down a waterfall, a couple of free (rather large) slides down waterfalls and an amazing zipline down a canyon.

It was awesome. 

People called me brave - but the truth is, I wasn't!

Despite the heights involved, I didn't feel truly afraid.  I was more excited.  There were a couple of times when I felt a little nervous, especially on the free slides, but because I've done the work on overcoming my fears, I never felt the crippling fear I used to and so had no real need to be brave. 

On the contrary, there was a young lady there who was incredibly brave. 

It became apparent that this girl had a massive fear of heights.  But she didn't cause a fuss and nobody realised how scared she was until after she did the first abseil.  

She hung back and was one of the last to do it.  When she got down, she was very obviously traumatised.  She was as white as a sheet, shaking, tearful and took herself off to try and compose herself.  

But despite her fear, she did it - and THAT is TRUE BRAVERY!

The good news is that anyone wanting to do things, despite being brave is that you never have to 'just do it'.  There are all kinds of techniques to help you. 

It actually annoys me when people say - "Just do it!  The more you do it, the easier it will become."

Not always so.  If you have a mild fear - then yes, do it often enough and this can work.  

But if you have a real, crippling fear - then trying to 'just do it' can actually make matters worse.  

Seeing that the girl was struggling, I went over and offered a couple of ways to help, which she gratefully accepted.  

First, I got her to stand up straight, put her shoulders back and breathe. 

When people are scared, and traumatised, there is a natural tendency to bend forwards (often because of feelings of wanting to vomit).  This restricts your diaphragm and the oxygen flow, making you feel worse.  By standing up with shoulders back, you open up your diaphragm.  Then a couple of deep breaths to get the oxygen flowing works wonders on your immediate symptoms. 

But there were bigger obstacles ahead - so I gave her a couple of tricks to help. 

I got her to think of someone that she knew to be really confident in these kind of situations (real or from TV or movies).  I got her to imagine how that person felt just before abseiling then told her to step into that person and absorb those feelings.  I could see the change in her face - it's a great technique and I urge you to try it. 

Finally, I got her declare "I am a f***ing warrior".  

The extreme language broke the pattern of her feeling fearful and made her laugh and after a couple of times chanting it, while 'borrowing' the brave feelings from the person she was imagining, she did feel like a warrior. 

And while the challenges that followed during that canyoning trip were even bigger than the first, and while she was still scared, she mastered them. 

She was truly brave. 

And the feeling of achievement and her smiles at the end told a wonderful story. 

Take Aways From This Story

* It's not the people without fear who are brave
* If you feel fear and still do it, then THAT is true bravery
* You don't have to 'just get on with it' to overcome your fears
* There are all kinds of techniques to help you overcome your fears

I've overcome some massive fears, as well as many small ones, to live a life full of adventure - and it also gives me the courage to put myself out there in terms of business too. 

If you would like more confidence, in any area of your life, then take action to increase your comfort zone. Contact me, download my e-book or join my Facebook group. 

If you want to know more about having more adventures, fun and success in your life, building your confidence and becoming UNSTOPPABLE, download my free E-Book here.

And – if YOU want to come and hike the Inca Trail with me, then you can find out all the details here.

Go on! Dare Yourself!


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