Fear Of Failure – Cured By Life Changing Adventures In Travel!

Life Changing Adventures Lie Ahead For Us In 2012!

Today’s topic is fear.  It’s a hard one for me.  I tend to try not to let fear stop me from doing too much in life.

I’ve left this post overnight trying to think of something scintillating for you all.  Something to make you laugh (or groan) at my inappropriateness (is that even a word?)  A post that will have you coming back again and again to marvel at my awesomeness.  Alas, all I can come up with is the truth……….

Fear does not rule my life.  I have cultivated a serious habit of self-talk that generally avoids any giving in to the possibility of fear.

I’ll get on that ridiculous roller coaster with my kids even though my legs will literally shake the whole time I’m in the line.  I will tell myself “It’s only a ride – this is meant to be fun – imagine the bad press if they manage to kill me” over and over until the moment comes.  Once I’m on the ride I will tell myself “just hang on for 15 seconds more and it will be over”.  I will generally scream long and loud – if I’m silent you know my inner monologue is failing me!!

I’ll happily wander through shady neighbourhoods, park my car in dark alleys and forget to lock the front door!

Public speaking is another area I could come unstuck – but my inner voice always saves me.  As well as the fact that I LOVE a good story and never miss the opportunity to be the one doing the talking.  During training sessions I sometimes run at work the inner voice says “don’t worry – you know what you are talking about – you’re wearing a funny hat so no-one will notice you just said the wrong thing – is that guy up the back really ASLEEP?” and I manage to get through it.

Basically, if I’m afraid of something, I will “fake it until I make it” and my inner chat is a major part of my ability to get through without anyone else realising I was terrified!

There is one fear I’ve been feeling for a while however, and the inner voice has not managed to calm it one little bit.  In fact there’s a second voice (can anyone say Schizo??)

I’m pretty sure it started on my 30th birthday and has continued a couple of times a year ever since.

There’s a new voice in my head…..one that whispers about everything I have NOT accomplished in life. One that reminds me that the years are ticking away and time is running out!!

I know it’s wierd to have that feeling.  I’m not 87 – I just turned 39!!!  But I’ve not managed to switch off the voice in a very long time.

Every birthday that rolls around (mine, or my kids) has reminded me that time is ticking by.  Every time I’ve had to attend a funeral, I spend the days after reflecting on my own life and all the things I have NOT done!

I haven’t travelled the world, I haven’t helped to feed starving children (except for my own last night when it was a 9pm dinner!), I haven’t written an amazing book, I don’t have a building or a park named after me to show I was HERE!!  I haven’t seen Twilight nearly enough times (sorry – that one just snuck in!!)

These may seem like silly things to panic about – after all, how many people do actually get a building or a park named after them?  They are just examples that illustrate the mild sense of panic I’ve been feeling for many years now about the direction of my life.  I never did much about it except make sure that I had an interesting work-life with lots of new challenges – I thought that would keep me fulfilled.

It hasn’t.

And I suspect I’ve been heading for a long time to the realisation that work is just work.  It’s not your family or your real achievements (unless you’re a scientist who just cured cancer – then you can count it!)  It’s not the thing you will be remembered for.  What you will be remembered for is the person you were and the lives you impacted.  The fact that your kids survived you and didn’t turn out too screwy!!  (Sorry kids – I really do try!!)  Not whether you were the one who’s filing was always perfect at the end of each day of work.

So to cut a very long fear-based post short what I’m trying to say is this.  Since Gert agreed to these crazy life changing adventures for a year, and I knew we were really going to do it in 2012, that second voice in my head is gone.

Silenced.  Missing-in-action.  AWOL.  Forever muted!!

It’s such a relief.  That lingering sense of panic that I’ve been carrying around has gone.  I didn’t notice when it left, I just realised when my birthday came around (and my workmates thought it would be hilarious to celebrate my 40th instead of my 39th!!) that I haven’t had the usual panic in the days afterwards.  I’ve been calm and collected and not wondering where my life is going.  Even with the pandemonium of packing up the house and planning our finances, doing tax returns, convincing the children to throw out their “stuff”, getting this site up and running, there’s not been one second of panic.  When I take a deep breathe now, it is a deep breathe.  Before it kind of caught in the middle…..

I think our 2012 adventure plans have cured that little negative voice for good.  I’m finally feeling like I am doing something amazing and including my family in that amazingness makes it all the more worthwhile.

I’m back to just one voice in my head.

And it’s looking forward to life changing adventures!

Right now it’s saying “just a few more boxes to pack, don’t forget to do the mail redirection, exactly where are you going to sleep for the next 3 weeks while you are homeless?, make sure you book the gardener, how many trips to the homeless shelter do you think it will take to get rid of all that clothing?, DON’T WORRY – YOU CAN DO THIS – IT WILL BE SO WORTH IT!”

This post is part of a 30 day project being run by bootsnall.com.  I’ll be posting for the next 30 days based on the subject of the day!  Check back each day for my latest bout of rambling….

Image: Idea go / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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Fear Of Failure – Cured By Life Changing Adventures In Travel! — 10 Comments

  1. It must be sucha relief to only have one person speaking inside your head. Personally, I can’t manage a conversation with more than 5 people in real life, I can’t imagine carrying it with me all day! 🙂

    This is great Tracey, and very nice writing.

    I TOTALLY understand where you are coming from. That acceptance cures you. Once you realize you CAN and WILL do it, the doubt, THE VOICE, disappears. I wrestle with that voice now and then still, but it is fading . . .

    Excellent work! Congrats.
    Justin@GreatFamilyEscape recently posted..Traveling By ChanceMy Profile

    • Thanks Justin. That means a lot to me. I always read your posts and think wow, he must put a lot of effort into that writing! Nice to know there’s a chance I can rise to that level.

  2. Hi
    We did this in 1998. 38 countries mostly overland. Total life changing has put everything into perspective for us since then. We have since started a travel guide tv show called “Travel With Kids” to instill the same experiences and philosophy in other families. You will have the most amazing time and the only thing you will be thinking of after is when you can go again.

    • Hi Jeremy. 38 countries is heaps!! We have set a goal for at least 20 to keep us on the move. Funny you mention how it will be when we come back. I really hope we manage to settle back in!!!

  3. Do you know the book “The Gift of Fear” by Gavin de Becker. The basic premise is that fear is a gift because it alerts us to real dangers in our life. Fear then is a mechanism that prompts you to either do the thing that you really want to do (travel the world) or cripples you. The problem is not fear. What matters is your reaction.

    Great post today! Thank you for sharing your thought processes!
    Clark Vandeventer recently posted..Travel is a State of MindMy Profile

    • Thanks Clark. I will definitely search out that book. Funny I didn’t have a name for that voice until it was gone and then I realized it was fear!

  4. I wanted you to know that i found an enormous amount of inspiration reading this blog post because I too have struggled with the VERY thing!!! There always, ALWAYS, feels like the proverbial time clock tick, tick, TICKING so loudly in my head the older i get… and I am 33! Thank you so much for writing this… really amazing to find another with the same issues in the head… and to know the sweet release will come with our own RTW preparations as well. THANK YOU! 🙂

    • Thank you so much Elizabeth!! I read this early this morning before work and I’ll blame my lack of sleep on a small tear that escaped! I’m thrilled to know someone else has this exact same experience. Trust me, not many do (or they are not admitting to it!). The last 6 months or so I’ve been asking others if they know what I’m talking about and they just look blankly at me. I was starting to think I was ungrateful that I was not satisfied with all that I have – and that others were just more fulfilled than me! Now that the voice is gone, I know that it was my fear whispering away!

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