As I race up the stairs, my mind is cycling through various scenarios and all of the most probable ones involve blood – not what a parent of young children wants to imagine, especially just after building bunk beds for them. I execute the two quick turns required to get from the stair landing into their bedroom. Both children in the top bunk screaming. Instinctively, I scan their bodies, the bed sheets, the wall, the pillow, everything for blood. Confused by my inability to see anything wrong or anyone hurt, I ask what’s wrong. In unison, “there’s a bear!”.
Now the fact, we live in a small town in Oxfordshire in the UK, I know the chances of an actual bear are virtually zero. So I immediately am relieved (and a wee bit frustrated about running up the stairs) and I’m off hunting the imaginary bear for my children.
While the bear was imaginary, their fear was real. I know this, not only because the psychologists tell us so, but also because I am the same and become terrified at imaginary risks and at things that aren’t risky. Our minds are powerful.
This week is a scary week for me. I’m nervous, anxious, and a wee bit terrified, not because I am doing anything heroic, fighting any real bears, or in actual physical harm, but I’m launching a new thing, a podcast. I know it is far from perfect – the sound needs to improve, the editing isn’t great, and my voice reveals my nerves at times, and well everything is a work in progress. My fear comes from feelings of inferiority (I’m no Seth Godin or Desert Island Discs!) and that sense of being exposed. It’s a challenge to not let these fears stop me from going public.
And yet, as I often say to my kids – it is ok and good to be scared and afraid, these are healthy feelings to have, but we they are not the only perspective or ‘truth’ to be aware of and often we need also need to be brave and courageous as well. (For anyone with young kids in their lives, Ruby’s Worry by Tom Percival is a great book for kids on talking around this subject).
So here’s to a week of being terrified and hopefully brave too.