This week I went snowboarding for the first time. I have very little experience with "winter sports," having gone skiing only a handful of times, with the last being 2011. Two straight days this weekend was quite an immersion. Early on, I was very tentative. Even standing for more than a few seconds became difficult, there was fear of picking up too much speed and fear of crashing into something. My mind was often thinking about what the repercussions of an injury would be, something like a hurt wrist would mean many weeks of no training.
Eventually I remembered that I am here to truly try snowboarding. As long as I do everything tentatively and with fear, I am not giving it a full shot. As long as I worry about the effects of a possible injury, I am not really trying snowboarding, I am just being safe. I decided instead to change my story, and to really go for it. I stopped intentionally trying not to have speed, and let it all go. I still fell several times but I went down the mountain much faster, and quite honestly it felt amazing. By the end of the second day I was exhausted, but I fully understood why so many people love snowboarding.
Sometimes the safe decision really is best. Many other times, the safe decision is not. Love is never found by being safe, whether it is for snowboarding, for another person, for a place, or for anything at all. As long as you have one eye on what happens if you fail, love and greatness is not possible. Love and greatness never occur when steps to get there are accompanied by constant fear.
Look on the other side of fear. Whatever it is in your life that you are doing, ask yourself if you have fear of failing. What is possible if this fear was not present? Would you love? Would you do something great? Would you have a lot more fun? Then ask yourself if it is truly needed. The other side often is a source of much excitement and happiness, it just takes a leap of faith to get there.