Unlocking your fears

We’re all afraid.  You’d never know it, but we are.  We do silly things that perpetuate our fears.  We have superstitions, we spend time planning and preparing for the “What If”. We do it in really tiny and really big ways.

Recently I confronted a fear I did not know I had. In doing so I was able to let go of many more concerns and take risks that made me feel alive and vibrant without any risk.

It started with my key chain.  After a long search for a new, used car, I gladly turned in my old car and I handed over a remote and a key. I was given in exchange a single key with the remote built right into it.  I slipped the remote/key on my key chain. Instantly I noticed that it was slightly less bulky than before.  But my key chain still looked and weighed like a janitor’s.  On it I had keys to my house, my parents’ house, my parents’ car, neighbor’s house, my gym, a random trunk I own, etc.

I held that big ring of keys in my hand and had an amazing thought – could I lighten my load even more? I took off 9 keys and 7 consumer loyalty cards and spread them out on the table. What did I really need on a daily basis?

  • Not my house key – we have a key pad entry now
  • Not my neighbor’s keys – they have never once asked me to help them get into their house
  • Not  the trunk cause I don’t know where that is nor what is in it
  • And the loyalty cards can all go in my phone
  • Not the mini Swiss army knife that had a chipped blade and a screwdriver – I had long ago lost the tweezers and toothpick, and the scissors no longer worked

So I was left with:

  • My car key
  • The key to my parents’ house (I love to visit them or stop by and leave them love notes)
  • The key to the car on Martha’s Vineyard because that equals the freedom to go there any time I want, whenever I want (and I know how to find the hide-a-key to get into the house so I don’t need the house keys)

I took everything else, put them on their own key chain, and tucked them in the junk drawer.

My key chain was much lighter and oddly so was I.

I realized I had carried around all these keys and loyalty cards “just in case.” A silly fear that I might possibly, maybe need them one day.  In casting off the fear of not being prepared for the most remote event that needed a key, I had literally and figuratively lightened my load.

This set off a chain reaction. What else was I not doing or carrying because I was afraid or preparing for the worst, or because I just did not think I had the time to spare (another fear)?

Here is what I have done so far:

  • Donating old winter coats I held onto because we might need them for a rare weather condition. This lead to one closet with a lot of space in it.
  • Visiting a museum I had wanted to go to but just was not sure it would be interesting enough to carve out the time. I set aside two hours to get there, cruise the museum and return – it was so worth it. I came away inspired.
  • Reaching out to an old contact who I felt was surely too busy and important to see me, but who I really liked and wanted to see again.  We had a great lunch and I was thanked for making the effort to see him. We already scheduled lunch in January and he has made 2 important introductions for me.
  • Painting my bedroom – love the color I picked spontaneously and had a great morning with 3 wonderful friends.
  • Doing a credit check – I have really great credit and I never knew it.

By letting go I was able to open myself up to all kinds of new possibilities and a sense of freedom. Fear is powerful, limiting and pervasive in our lives.  What fears are you willing to give up?