"It's better to regret something you did, than something you didn't do." - Butthole Surfers
Vienna, Fall 2003 - Once again, I was closely reading the Let's Go: Europe brief entry on Sarajevo. To my disappointment, that year's edition warned against going to Bosnia. Seven years had passed since the war ended, yet there was still the caution about visiting Bosnia. Something about unexploded landmines or what-have-you making the country dangerous.
For me, the thought of again delaying a visit to Sarajevo annoyed me. I didn't know for how many years "Let's Go!" would continue to advise against travel. I was frustrated, impatient...and scared. That was when I begin to ask myself a couple of key questions. Admittedly, some coaches may not agree with such questions but they helped me to get over my fear.
Q: Clearly, people were living and working in Sarajevo, so maybe it would be OK for me to visit? Maybe the caution was an exaggeration? This opened my mind to the possibility of visiting and, more importantly, surviving such a visit.
Q: Given the media's attention to the murder rate in Oakland, I asked myself which did I prefer: to die in Oakland or to die en route to Sarajevo?
The last question wasn't the most pleasant one to consider but it was crucial and could be called "the deal breaker."
While I'm not advocating needlessly endangering your life as a way to overcome your fear, I do think that there are some fears which we need to be challenge. (I'm including myself in this "we" because there are still challenges that I have and that I need to work on.)
Below are some tips on how to overcome/challenge your fears. If you want to stretch your fears, try one of the tips for a week -
The Nike Way - Just do it! Simplistic, but a quick way to overcome a fear
Habit Forming Tip
Try to do something scary everyday, regardless of how big or small. This tip comes from a Learning Annex workshop led by Martha Beck author of The Joy Diet. Something "scary" could be asking someone for help if you're used to doing everything on your own, going to a movie by yourself, buying that ticket to travel overseas, sharing your dream goal with a trusted person.
Consider these questions: Which would you regret more--taking the action or not taking the action? What's the best or worst that could happen if you took the action? How will you change by taking the action? How will you change by not taking the action? For example, you may lower your self-esteem, feel burdened by regret, limit your self-growth, become more fearful.
Additional Sources -
Finally, remember that we're all unique: You may fear butterflies while another person proudly sports a butterfly tattoo. Conversely, you may be a Les Brown on stage while your best friend may dread public speaking.