How to Survive the “Uh-Oh” Moment

“Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgment that something else is more important than fear.” ~ Ambrose Redmoon

“Courage is being afraid but going on anyhow.” ~ Dan Rather

Why is it that just when we are on the doorstep of doing exactly what we want to do, there is often a moment of hesitation and fear, a moment when we wonder, “Can I really do this?” I had this feeling a few months back as I was about to begin my therapeutic yoga teacher training. I had just gotten onto the subway to head downtown to Integral Yoga Institute for my first session of Therapeutic Yoga Teacher Training with Cheri Clampett and Arturo Peal. I spent months looking forward to this training and it was the first training step toward transitioning my career to work on Compass Yoga full-time. And though I know this is the right path, that this is what the world needs and what I need, I had a very brief “uh-oh, what have I done?” moment.

This isn’t the first time this moment has crept up on me. As an actor and musician in college, I always had this exact same moment right before a show. I would literally be in the wings, on the verge of being sick, wishing I could just run for the exit. It happens to me when I speak publicly, whether I’m presenting or just asking a question in front of a large group of people.

I often feel this moment just as I’m wrapping up a blog post and my finger is hovering over the “publish” button. Is what I’ve written too personal, too candid, or on a topic that is much too sensitive? There is something inherently scary about whole-heartedly putting ourselves out into the world, in front of others, and saying, “This is who I am.”

How can we get comfortable with being uncomfortable? How do we remain equal parts vulnerable and strong?

Now that I’ve dealt with stage fright in all it’s forms for many years, I’ve got a few methods that I use that have never failed me:

1.) Remember that what you’re feeling is not unique and it’s okay to be afraid. I’ll even go one step further and say that if you aren’t afraid to do something new, it may not even be worth doing. Fear is a very human response and a sign that you care so much about what you’re about to do, that you want to honor its importance as much as you possibly can. The best way to honor your action’s importance is to keep going right through the fear!

2.) Remember your intention. For me, this path of Compass Yoga is the work of my lifetime; it is my contribution to humanity. On the doorstep of Integral Yoga Institute that night, I reminded myself of all of the people who will be helped by my work in therapeutic yoga, people who right now at this moment need that help and aren’t receiving it. I walked through that door for them.

3.) Remember what’s on the other side of your fear. There’s so much anxiety that resides in anticipation. Once I get to where I’m going, I’m fine. What I fear is the lead up to that uh-oh moment, not the action I’m taking in and of itself. On the other side of your fears are your life’s greatest accomplishments. So don’t run from fear, but run toward your future accomplishments, recognizing that fear is just a bump on the road to great learning.

4.) Carry an inspiration with you. When I’m really frightened, I remind myself of two very inspiring passages about moving through fear. The ideas behind them always help me walk through my uh-oh moments:

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light more than our darkness which scares us. We ask ourselves – who are we to be brilliant, beautiful, talented, and fabulous? But honestly, who are you to not be so? ~ Marianne Williamson

Many of us have lived desert lives: very small on the surface, and enormous underground. Because of this, so often we feel we live in an empty space where there is just one cactus with one brilliant red flower on it, and then in every direction, 500 miles of nothing. But for those of us who will go 501 miles, there is something more. Don’t be a fool. Go back and stand under that one red flower and walk straight ahead for that last hard mile. Crawl through the window of your dream. ~ Clarissa Pinkola Estes

I want you to keep moving along the exact path you want to be on. You will have moments of fear, hesitation, and doubt. You may feel like a fraud, and on the surface this feeling may seem insurmountable. I assure you it is not; it is just part of the journey.

Fear is an obstacle placed in your way only so that you can realize how much strength and conviction you really have. You have every right to have exactly the life you want, to do the work you really want to do, to help the people you want to help with your own gifts and talents. Push through.

– Christa Avampato

Christa Avampato is a yoga teacher who learns from her students every day, a product developer who loves the possibilities of new technology, and a writer who believes that hope and creativity are the most powerful duo on Earth. She travels with a purpose and regularly practices the high art of people-watching in New York City, a place she is proud to call home. Find her online at http://christainnewyork.com and http://www.twitter.com/christanyc.

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One response to this post.

  1. […] willing to share my own story through an interview (Not the Same Old Yoga) and if I’d write a guest post on the topic of inspiration (How to Survive the Uh-Oh Moment). I was both honored and thrilled by the […]

    Reply

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