Memorial Day what are you scared of?

What Have You Got to be Scared Of?

Today — Memorial Day — we  honor the brave warriors who died in the service of the United States. They were no doubt scared as they went into battle but they persevered because of their duty to their country and themselves. I salute them and thank them for helping to make the world a safer place.

Are You Scared to Move On?

In thinking of these brave men and women, who faced real adversity they knew could cost them their lives, I’d like to ask you the question I’ve been asking myself, “What are you scared of?” I think many of us are scared of not measuring up. The earth is whirling around the sun too fast for us. New technologies are making us fret about our lives and our livelihoods.

But are our fears life-threatening? Not likely. I’m not alone when I wonder what’s next in life. Am I really doing what I want to do? Do I have the skills and the will to step up to the bat and take a big swing at the ball?

There are so many choices, we become immobilized. We’re scared to keep running in place but more scared to break out of the pack. I’m of a certain age, and when I talk to my peers they tell me they feel life has left them behind.

The Internet and social media scare them and they feel like dinosaurs, about to become extinct. I feel for them but if they want to change their lives they’ve got to step up to the plate.

What is the worst that could happen if you pushed beyond your comfort zone and did what your heart is telling you you’re meant to do? It takes mental toughness to overcome your fears. Just look what this man did to fight off a charging bear.

Do you think he was prepared to do battle with a bear? Of course not. He faced the enemy and discovered an untapped source of strength. The enemy too often is ourselves. We fret about all the bad things that could happen if we tried something new instead of anticipating the joy of discovery and accomplishment.

I gaze back in wonder of the early settlers in my country, who didn’t fly west in first-class comfort to plant their stakes in the ground.

Just think of how brave they were to begin their journeys in covered wagons that offered little protection from the elements: no electricity, no running water, no sanitary facilities, facing a hostile environment. They were the true pioneers. I envy their courage as I admire the brave warriors who gave their lives for their country. So, let me ask again:

What are you scared of?

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  1. Agree with you completely, Jeannette, what scares us are petty things.

    We are so lucky we are not born in war zones and go through the experiences people have there. The worst at the moment is if you happen to be in an area ISIS has captured. Don’t even want to contemplate what that would be like even for us older women, Jeannette. When I lived in Dubai a woman who was a pensioner was horrified at how guest workers there stopped and proposed to pay her for, you know what:-) Imagine, having to go through what the scum that are “soldiers” in ISIS want to do to women…

    • Catarina — I feel very blessed to have been born in this country with all its advantages (and faults, of course). I can’t even read the story of the refugees who are stranded on boats because no country will take them in. It breaks my heart.

  2. What a lovely post balance of serious and humor Jeannette! Last night my husband and I were watching the Washington DC annual event in honor of Veterans. In the highlights of families who lost a loved one or veterans who live without arms or legs, you cannot help but be humbled. On any average day, most of us have nothing to fear and yet our minds take us into the fear zone. What am I scared of? After you post and last nights honor I am praying my only fear is not recognizing day to day that I have nothing NOTHING to fear. Thanks Jeannette.

    • You’re welcome, Patricia. I know, when I see what our wounded warriors have suffered to keep us safe, I couldn’t be prouder to be an American and God bless them for their sacrifice.

  3. Great question. Really thinking about what scares us and considering the worst and best that could happen may help us get mobile again. Sometimes we don’t even admit the fear to ourselves and mask it with other excuses. You will have me contemplating what really scares me all week.

    Like you, I am amazed at what my great-grandparents must have gone through to come to North America and make in a life in what weren’t the most ideal of conditions.

    • Donna — you make a good point. We don’t admit that we’re afraid because it implies weakness. But unless we face up to our fears we’ll never be able to work through them.

  4. Inspiring message Jeannette and the video is great! Nowhere near as scary, and it certainly wasn’t planned, but I actually had that same reaction one day when I was walking through a park and suddenly saw a nasty looking pit bull charging straight at me growling and teeth bared. I don’t know who was more shocked when I stopped and yelled at him, but he turned and ran off. Well yes the fear thing is a BIG problem for many people, it certainly was for my family. Having to watch people around me hiding from their shadows was hardly confidence building which I’m sure is why I was always such a rebel growing up. There are many tried and true ways to work through fears, my strategy is to just push through it until I overcome it. Not for the faint of heart, but there again I have a feeling there’s a little residual anger left over from my childhood behind that philosophy.

    • Marquita — I think a lesson from the experience of the man and the bear and you with the pit bull is that we’ve got to push back against bullies in our lives. And they will just keep at it until we say “enough!”

    • Meredith — We all have hidden fears. But we need to be realistic and ask if they might be just excuses not to do what we need to do. When I think of the early pioneers and the fears they had to overcome it makes my fears seem pretty tame by comparison.

  5. You know what, Jeannette, I really needed to hear this message today. It was like you were speaking directly to me. :). As I struggle with what to do next and get scared I find that I am usually my own worst enemy. Really, what am I scared of?? What is the worst that could happen if I stick my neck out and try something new… Thanks for sharing!

    • Susan — so glad my blog was helpful. You’re not alone in this struggle. We’ve all mastered social media to some degree, but now we don’t know what to do with this knowledge. How do we make money? That’s the tough part. You will prevail.

  6. Well two therapy sessions ago, it came to me saying “I’m scared of everything.” Ha! Talk about starting from zero. The feeling is also exciting as well. Starting over in life means I have no excuse to make excuses… if that makes any sense. In a way, it was easier for me to be scared of everything when in what I thought was a stable relationship. Nothing like total independence to motivate a little extra risk taking 😉

    • Jeri — You’re finding inner strength you didn’t know you had. When you’re independent — as I am again after years of a happy marriage — you learn what you’re capable of. But it’s always nice to know that I have dear friends who have my back when I’m going through a difficult time. Your friends will be there for you, too.

  7. Jeannette, this was a perfect post. I do so admire the veterans and current soldiers who fight to keep our countries safe and free and I think it’s wonderful that you started with them.
    I certainly identify with the statement that “some of my peers feel life has left them behind”. But then there are people like my 80 year old sister-in-law telling me she has mastered the tablet and can now send emails. Doesn’t sound like much but for her a huge accomplishment.
    What am I afraid of? Being left alone without my husband. But since there is nothing I can do about that I try very hard to appreciate each day with him.

    • Lenie — I understand your fear of losing your husband, as I did almost 6 years ago now. It is a wrenching experience but you grieve and move on. I am lucky that I have a supportive circle of loving friends and family. My husband is always in my heart but I have built a new life and I’m happy.

  8. hi jeannette; a great post to encourage and inspire people. people often tell me that after reading my posts they ask themselves what is my excuse. its our example that helps them the most. and speaking of being of a certain age. i am 49 and just got my first smart phone an iPhone and how i wish i had done it so much sooner. and my uncle who is in his 70s recently had a dust up with his doctor. he is having heart issues a blockage of some kind that keeps him from running marathons. he is doing everything he can to get back to that. he even became vegan. his doctor made him mad by telling him to act his age. don’t you just hate people like that. and he is a doctor. awe well my dog is nosing me and if i don’t start petting her soon bad things will happen. thanks again, max

    • Max — at 49 you’re just a kid, compared to me! I do think that doctor had some nerve telling your uncle to act his age. You act the way you feel and a lot of that is based on your outlook on life. Live life to the fullest no matter your age. That’s why I admire you, Max, you just push ahead always learning new things and don’t let your blindness hold you back. Bravo!

      • hi jeannette; thanks i love this comment. I also like to remind myself of just how much has happened and changed in the last year. when you are pushing yourself and staying open to all the possibilities that god or life has to offer you can make big gains in a short period of time. I love you because you speak your mind without fear. and you have so much knowledge to share with us. no neither of us are anywhere near the end of our story. looking forward to seeing what is on the next page for both of us. take care my friend, max

        • Thanks, Max, for the compliment. FYI, I just tried to buy a copy of your book in PDF format, and the sale didn’t get processed. Thought you’d want to know.

          • hi jeannette; thanks for letting me know about the book sale problem. did you try the amazon or selz link? maybe now that the book is available on amazon its time to take the other link down. thanks again, max

          • hi jeannette; i just sent a message to their customer support team. they have always been very prompt in helping me in the past. but you know how it is some companies products become less reliable as they grow. I will be thinking about whether or not to stay with them. I like their commissions but if people can’t actually spend money it doesn’t help. it was a good option to get my book online while we worked through the process of getting submitted to amazon. i would love it if you would visit the site and choose the amazon link. and i would put the link here but i don’t want to abuse our friendship with an ad on your site. thanks so much max

  9. Hey Jeannette,

    I can tell you one thing, I would have peed in my pants if that bear had charged at me. Not sure I would have been smart enough to react like that man did but just goes to show you how some things definitely can work out.

    I admit being fearful of a lot of stuff. When it comes to life though, some of it I have to do it anyway if I want to move forward. I mean we can stay where we are and never do anything else or face our fears and do it anyway.

    Even those men that gave their lives for us to be safe, I’m sure they did it for the love of their country and I hope everyone appreciates it so very much. They are much braver than I am that’s for sure.


    • Adrienne — I’m not sure I would have reacted well to that bear either! If you don’t confront your fears you’ll be stuck in one place and no one wants that. I am so appreciative of the brave men and women who serve our country, especially those who have made the ultimate sacrifice.

  10. What a great post! Sort of like the 2 by 4 to the head I needed:) For someone who thought of herself as fearless years ago, I do seem to harbor some real fears today. But as I think about those fears I realize how petty they are. And as I look back, I realize that I’ve fallen so many times in my life but always managed to rise and every single bruised elbow or skinned knee has always healed. So what’s to be afraid of? Love it:)

    • Jacquie — that’s the attitude. Just pick yourself up and start over again. When I lost what I thought was the best job I ever had many years ago, I was devastated. I started at a lesser position in another company and then moved up and it turned out to be even better. We don’t know what life holds unless we try.

  11. I would make one point here Jeannette and that is this. I think most of us are not scared of death. It is a natural part of life and whether we want it to come a little later or even a little later than that is one thing but what I have found is that people are scared of the things that make life bumpy.

    • Tim — how true. One day we’ll close our eyes and not wake up. It’s not the darkness that scares us but the obstacles we have to overcome in life.

  12. What’s the worst thing that can happen when we “dare” to face our fears? We might fail. Someone might tell us no. It really takes getting out of our comfort zones to make progress. Good post!

    • Beth — fear of failure is real but is a catastrophe waiting for us if we try to overcome our fears? Maybe a setback but we can get up and try again.

  13. That is truly amazing how that man scared away a bear. I feel sometimes I am brave in situations that would make others nervous, but then I am truly fearful in silly situations. I will get all caught up in worrying what others will think about me. And when I start to think about the worst thing that could really happen, it is a lot tamer than all the fear I’ve been putting upon myself. I’m doing my first public talk next month, and I was getting nervous. Then I took time to identify the fear. This helped me get past it and push forward. I’m still nervous, but I will get through it!

    • Erica — It’s so true that we too often are afraid of about what other people will think of us. Good luck in your talk. The key is preparation and practice (I’ve taught presentation training) and getting comfortable with your material. Remember that people are coming to hear you because the feel they will learn something so don’t be afraid of what they’ll think of you!

  14. This is a great post Jeannette, and sorry to be late to the party. More often than not we are our own worst enemy. And the adage that we have nothing to fear but fear itself is true.(who did say that??) We face difficulties all the time, and unless we push ourselves through, we never grow. Curling up does nothing to help. So although we can’t always prepare for Bears in the road, we can at least nurture ourselves with a self belief that we can take on whatever is thrown at us.

    • A.K. — I think this kind of irrational fear takes hold when we’re trying something new. My gosh, all the things that could go wrong (but usually don’t). I looked up the quote “Only Thing We Have to Fear Is Fear Itself”: FDR’s First Inaugural Address. So now you know!