From Fear to Fun

courage fear fun Jul 07, 2020

Dale Carnegie said “If you want to conquer fear, don’t sit at home and think about it. Go out and get busy.”

I would add to that, “and while you’re conquering fear, have some fun.”

I was inspired to write this blog after facilitating several ‘Kayak & Coaching’ workshops on the Rappahannock River of Fredericksburg, VA with River Rock Outfitters. 

Our main goal is to take these women through a guided coaching experience to help them get clarity on their next bold move in life. They initially start with getting comfortable with being out in the water and getting to know each other.

I've noticed over time there has been a common pattern for many of these women. They each had some type of fear they want to overcome. For some, this included the fear of the water or being in a kayak.

I remember one lady, Jamie, signed up because she wanted to overcome a fear of kayaking. She explained that years earlier she had a near drowning experience in a kayak with a group of friends.

I kept a watchful eye on her, as well as some of the others who were fearful, yet within 15 minutes of paddling around, Jamie was laughing and having a wonderful time.

She also whipped out her phone and was doing a live video telling all her social media friends she was kayaking, the look of pride and the smile on her face was priceless.

Through this I discovered there are some things about fear that I hadn’t realized before; Some steps that can make facing a fear a lot easier:

When you work through fear, try to take others along.

Here’s why. There is strength in numbers and potential in creating a strong bond and connection with others going through a similar challenge.

Many of these ladies who have met on the water have continued to deepen those friendships. Some have voiced that they previously felt isolated, and no longer feel that way.

Having healthy distractions can help dissipate fear.

We sometimes lump all distractions into one category and say they are all ‘bad’. I’ve found that’s not always the case. With healthy distractions, we are apt to take the right kind of action.

For these ladies, they were busy paddling, coaching each other and brainstorming ideas. This helped many forget that they were afraid in the first place.

See fear as a teacher, not your enemy.

When you are open to exploring your fears, you become explorers of your own world. You discover new options and opportunities, and you realize you are stronger than you originally thought.

Another participant who had been afraid of the water discovered she wanted to take a step further and take paddleboarding lessons. She ended up loving it so much, she bought her own board and now enjoys taking her dog on the river.

Next Steps - Explore the Fear to Find the Fun

“The cave you fear to enter holds the treasure you seek”. – Joseph Campbell

While fear itself isn’t fun, it can show us inner resources and strengths we may not have been aware of. If we face it head-on, its power over us will lessen and will no longer have the final say.

As the saying goes, Carpe diem, we must “Seize the day”. Is there a fear that is keeping you from seizing your day or seizing memorable moments or even just having more joy in your life? 

If so, what is one way you can begin exploring or facing that fear? And who can you bring with you on the journey to make it more fun?

Remember these three steps to move from Fear to Fun:

(1)  Face fear with others

(2)  Create healthy distractions

(3)  Learn from your fear and discover opportunities

This will help you release the courage and boldness that is already inside you.


Barbara Gustavson, President of Discover Next Step, is on a mission to help people discover their calling and step into their boldness and become what the world needs. Her book Permission to be BOLD is now available on Amazon.


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