Look Fear In The Face… And Give It A Slap!

or… Take a giant leap and see where you land…

or… Have a chat and figure out why it’s there…

Do whatever you have to do… but take a step forward, even a baby step, and step past it.

Because if you don’t, the fear grows. And it can grow so big that it becomes a gargantuan monster that’ll require the whole town to band together to destroy it!

When something unexpected happens, your belief in yourself can waiver. This is exactly the moment you must not give up. You must face your fear or it will immobilize you.

You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience
in which you really stop to look fear in the face. ~ Eleanor Roosevelt

I remember when I got my driver’s license. It was back in the day when you could write your beginner’s and do the road test the same day. Snow was swirling, the road was slippery, visibility was poor, and still, I emerged victorious. I was so proud of myself! So excited to have conquered this rite of passage, especially in such extreme conditions!

In my enthusiasm, I decided to jump right in. I was going on a road trip!

I rented a car, completely oblivious to the fact it was going to cost me a small fortune in mileage alone. I packed up, loaded in my 4 year old son, and decided to whisk my grandmother to visit family she hadn’t seen in years .

I was heading for Toronto. My destination was a mere 18 hours away. Music blaring and the free road in front of me, I was feeling invigorated!

As I left Thunder Bay, my vision was blurred by yet another blizzard. I wasn’t going to let that daunt me, this was Canada, after all. I had been granted a green card by the MTO and a paltry winter storm wasn’t going to intimidate me!

The first few hours were elating and I was riding on a natural high. We were singing songs all happy as can be.

And then it happened.

The car hit an ice patch, spun out of control, and was now facing back toward home. The side of the car slammed full force into the 6 ft snow bank. Wow! That was an eye-opener! But if that wasn’t scary enough, the door latch broke and the back passenger side door flew wide open, spitting my grandmother out on the road!!

Oh my God! She hadn’t been wearing her seatbelt!! Frantic, I tried to regain control of the car. Through the rearview mirror, I could see her splayed immobile. I was convinced she was dead. I was terror-struck!

Frantic, I leapt out as soon as the car slowed; running back to wear she lay on the frozen sheet. Thank God there was no oncoming traffic because, with limited visibility, they never would have seen her.

Thankfully, she was ok. OK!? She needed one of her nitro glycerin pills and her arm was hurt but she was actually seemed to be ok. I needed one of her nitroglycerin tablets, too, as I looked up and saw the rental car rolling away with my son in it! In my panicked state, I had forgotten to put it in park! My son thought it was fun. I did not.

I managed to get the car under control, carefully collected grandma, reported the accident, and cautiously got moving again. I did not want to. I would rather have built a shelter on the side of the road and waited out the storm, but it seemed more sensible to make sure the family matriarch was attended to. She seemed coherent, much more so than I, but then again, she did not object to getting back in the car with me. I am not sure I would have been so gracious.

I was seriously petrified. I deliberately drove under the speed limit even after the storm had cleared. I couldn’t breathe. I was wiped out. I was worried sick that this 72 year old gentlewoman was going to suddenly expire in the back seat. The closest hospital was 3 hours away.

To be honest, I also feared for my own life as we were scheduled to stop at my mom’s house and I knew she was going to kill me for almost killing her mother. Shaken, we all went in and I prepared for my demise. It never came. She knew. And she didn’t rat me out. I watched in amazement as the old bird had a cup of tea and some lunch chatting away the while.

Throughout the visit, my fear escalated. Palpitations presented, my chest was tight, and I could barely breathe.

What was I going to do? I could turn back – it was only 4 hours home. Or I could carry on with 14 painstaking hours before me. 

I could not turn back. So we said our good-bye’s and forth we went, together. Persevering.

I somehow managed to follow the road another 4 hours before stopping at a hotel. The day’s developments had taken a terrible toll. Excitement was gone and I felt overwhelmed with the thought of 10 more debilitating hours of highway ahead.

I slept barely a wink. Grandma slept soundly. I kept holding a mirror over her face to make sure she was still breathing. She had refused to go to a hospital, insisting she was fine.

I guess that’s where I got my stubborn streak from. But we both preferred the term “resilient.”
And carry on, I did. We did. As the sun rose, so did we. Every mile drained me. My saving grace was that grandma was amazingly in fine spirits and encouraged me the way. If she could rally, how could I not?!

We drove through the day. We drove on in darkness. And late that night, we arrived. We were welcomed warmly by my aunt and cousins who hadn’t seen grandma in years. We did not mention how close we’d come to never seeing her again.

My confidence was shaken, and I was afraid for a long while. A week later, the drive home was slow and uneventful. Driving with my hands at 10 and 2, making sure seat belts were fastened before ever putting the car in drive, I took the extra steps that helped me reclaim my confidence.

And slowly, over time, by carrying on with courage, I rediscovered my conviction.

That is the key. Walk forward through the fear – even with baby steps.

Life is full of moments that define us. Life incessantly throws opportunities at us to help us grow.
It’s easy to jump in when you’re excited. But when you carry on through fear, you define who you are.

Courage and perseverance have a magical talisman, before which difficulties disappear and obstacles vanish into air. ~ John Quincy Adams

Whether in business, your personal life, or even in the pursuit of following your dreams, it is likely you will face fears. It’s a natural human condition. It’s part of every person’s evolution. Every challenge is an opportunity to conquer.

So the next time you feel fear holding you back, breathe, look fear in the face, and step forward with courage.

Believe you are brave, and you will be.

Believe you matter. You do.

Please share any stories of facing or struggling with your fear.

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18 Responses to Look Fear In The Face

  1. Jen Olney says:

    Outstanding, Shelley! I love this blog. What a wonderful message of perseverance. We need to go through adversity in life to understand the lessons it teaches and carry those with us to the next part of our journey. Thank you for sharing! 

    • Thank you, Jen. We do need adversity to overcome – to discover our true nature – to grow and to fluorish.  I am so grateful to all of you who kindly help me along my journey. : )

  2. Katherine Krige says:

    When the choices seem non-existent and we carry on, what we forget is that we actually do have that choice to stop and give up. You could have hunkered into that car and stayed put or turned around home. That encouragement helped, but the decision was ultimately yours. Sharing stories like that reminds us all that we have an inherent bravery in us just for facing the day some days.

    My story is more the moving forward through grief to reclaim a broken life. I felt like a horrible mother, friend and person after losing my husband to cancer. In darkest moments, I struggled with life, wanting to give up. I didn’t want to keep on plodding through the horror that was my life, but I did because my other choice was ending it. And I couldn’t. I might not have wanted to be a single parent with no direction, but I refused to close my eyes to the children that were my life. Through them and for them, I got out of bed every day, until one day I stepped out of bed with a smile. I don’t know when that happened, but somehow I have recognized the gift that is life in all its good, bad and ugly. 

    Thank you for a lovely post Shelley. Peace to you

    • Dearest Katherine,

      You are strong and courageous woman.  I am so grateful that you shared your own story of bravery… of overcoming. You made that choice. You could have wallowed and nobody would have blamed you. But you were needed, and you rose to it. You are an amazing lady. Your children, along with the rest of us, are very blessed to have you touch our lives.

      Peace to YOU. 

  3. Rg says:

     Back in the 80’s I was driving home from a sales trip. Living in the Great White North I didnt fear a snow storm.

    Blizzard conditions I was traveling (fast) on the freeway/intrastate. As I was driving on a overpass (100ft above the ground below), my right front tire caught the snowbank on the side, it pulled my car into it. Snow began to cover my car up to the point it was pitch black in my car.

    Then it felt like my car was being lifted up. My mind heart racing, I thought I was going over the top. I whispered to myself, “oh shit!” gripping the steering wheel firmly, I further whispered, “I hope this @#$% lands on all 4 tires (like that mattered a 100 foot fall).

    Then the light came back (oh shit here we go), but by the grace of god the snowbank pushed my car back out into the road. Both stunned and relieved. Needless to say, I no longer drive fast in the snow.

    Amazing how our minds work in a matter of crisis. One other thing I learned, there’s nothing to fear but fear itself. Even in the face of death.

    • Wow! That’s some story! And aren’t you clever! (but I already knew that!)

      Quite right… nothing to fear but fear itself… even in the face of death.  It’s not always so easy to remember that when the adrenaline is rushing and you’re consumed with panic… but always true, nonetheless. : )

  4. AjmaniK says:

    No matter how many quotes we read about fear and courage, it is when we are faced with a situation where we have to summon our true inner self – tap into the source of our true strength – take measure of our courage – that we know the true meaning of overcoming fear. 

    Walking through it. Driving through it. Breathing through it. And yes, like your Grandma, gloriously smiling through it. Grace under fire – terrific 🙂 


  5. Doc_1 says:

    Good post Shelley.

    It is indeed those moments when we walk through the fear, despite the fear that define us. It is also the time we get to test our faith and belief in ourselves.


  6. Deeone Higgs says:

    Wow Shelley! This was a very moving post! I’m not sure of what your future plans are concerning your writing, we’ve never had the chance to really talk about it in our passing conversations. Yet, I think you’re an excellent writer, and can also totally see you writing an incredible novel or book of poetry. This was great… not the accident of course, but your powerful description of the events that took place. I felt like I was right in the car with you and your family. 

    I have had a few incidents throughout my life where I had to face the fear or allow it to conquer me. In the past, it would win the battle, and I would simply come up with an excuse, albeit a great excuse, of why I couldn’t go through with the thing I feared. 

    I’ve since learned that I am more equipped than I ever imagined to conquer my fears. So today, I know to tackle my ego if there is any kind of fear facing a situation. It’s usually my ego telling me that I am afraid or that I am unable to do something. I talk back to my fears and tell them, that they are no longer in charge of what I will do. 

    My greatest fear has been concerning my writing works and succeeding. I told myself for years that I could never become a writer because I wasn’t “formally trained” to do so. I would also adopt many beliefs from my environment of how evil it was to become wealthy or succeed. I’m actually learning that most of the fears I had in life, were loaned to me or put in me by what other people thought.
    Both of those fears, as well as others I’ve had, required me to change my perception of the fears, starting in my mind first. Once my mind saw that we we’re going forth with this thing anyway, despite whatever it was telling me; it had no other choice but to jump aboard. We simply have to show our fears and ego, who is really running the ship; once that happens fear will become a distant memory. 

  7. Kellianne says:

    Great story with an excellent message. I share on facebook 🙂

  8. Wonderful
    post Shelley! Fear can be such a debilitating influence on all of us. It
    triggers a myriad of afflictive feelings and beliefs that stop most of us in
    our tracks. Our True Self connected to Spirit, is ALWAYS there to help us (our Regular
    Self on the life journey) get out of harm’s ways; that’s Her job. Our False
    Self wants us to be taken over by fear and uses fear as the weapon of choice to
    weaken our Regular Self so we don’t listen to our True Self. 


    When we
    listen to True Self, that “listening” itself starts dismantling the
    hold of False Self on Regular Self and allows Regular Self to be attentive to
    True Self. I recently did a post on True Self at my website, and your focus on
    “Look Fear in the Face” is important for all of us to hear. 


    story is powerful because it is authentic. You needed to share this because it
    is YOUR story. It is relevant because most of us ARE dealing with similar experiences,
    and it’s helpful to hear the truth in what you have shared. Keep up your
    excellent writing Shelley. EdC

  9. MELISASource says:

    This is so very true–if we want to truly be victorious in life, we must look our fears in the face boldly, muster up our strength and courage, and walk right on forward. I remember when I found out that I was expecting my first child. I was young and very fearful. I didn’t know what to do or how I was going to be a good provider, or anything. What was worst is that my mother and grandmothers had all passed away, so I had no support system. Even though there were people telling me to do differently, I decided that I was going to face my fears and simply do the very best that I could to raise my child. Fast-forward, and she’s not about to enter college in the fall, is often commended for her behavior and grades, and most special, was the inspiration for my blog! 🙂 I am a witness that when you ignore the fear and step out on faith, the world opens to wonderful opportunities and experiences beyond your imagination!  Thank you for sharing your personal story of pressing past fear. A very great read indeed! 

  10. Hey Shelley –

    Great story and a great reminder that fear is something we can choose to feel or not!

    I like the term “resilient” too!

  11. Daniel Foch says:

    Great work I loved reading this. 

    ‘Believe you matter. You Do’

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