When I was a little girl, I loved to swing. The thing I liked most about swinging was not how high I could go (although that was cool); it was in the moments I would come in for a landing. I would wait for just the right moment and I would leap off the swing.  I’d get big air.

I spend a lot of time talking with people about fear. That emotion or reaction caused by an understanding that there is danger, or even the threat of danger. The instinctive aspect of fear is what gets our foot to the brake; it locks our body, puts our mind into survival mode, and tells our heart to brace for the worst.

Then there’s the intentional side of fear. Standing on the edge of something new – a goal or a change – the proverbial cliff. Two common scenarios emerge. The ground gives way, and we slip and lose our footing. Or, all of the sudden someone or something is pushing us and forcing us over the edge. In either scenario, we completely lose sight of the reason we are on the edge in the first place. We are thinking about how we protect and save ourselves from the exact thing we wanted.

Fear is a trick our mind plays on us. We stop looking at the opportunity to take flight.  We push ourselves away from the edge, convinced we will fall. The scars on my knees serve a physical reminder of the moments I missed and fell.  What is not physically obvious are all the times I landed. Those moments are stored in my heart and fuel my confidence to go again. If I let fear trick me, I see the scars, and stay on the edge. I lose sight of my heart and the brilliance of the landing.

What happens instead if we live into fear as opposed to in avoidance of it?  We embrace the confidence living deep inside us that tells us we have everything we need to get big air and stick the landing.   We know it’s not possible to land every jump. There is possibility to gain inner strength and knowledge from the attempt. There is beauty in the fall if you take it and use it to learn and grow. Falling is a part of life and scars aren’t a reflection of failure, they are a passionate expression of our willingness to keep trying.

Back on the swings, I recall the moment right before I leap. I get my body set to take the jump.  I check the surroundings and know exactly when the moment is here. Stay in the positive flow of fear.  The instant I take flight. The second I don’t know if I will land or fall. In that moment, there is perfect harmony.  My mind, heart, and spirit give me courage to leap, allow possibility of the fall, thrill in landing, and joy knowing that no matter what, I got to fly.

See you on the playground…


— This blog was first published in 2014 and updated in March 2017 for re-publication.

About author
Kate Nagel

Kate Nagel

Kate is a published author, certified coach, and seasoned business executive and entrepreneur. She helps businesses and individuals realize and actualize their goals in a world that is constantly shifting and evolving around them. She blends proven methods, experiential wisdom, and spiritual practice in a unique manner, exposing life’s possibilities. Her coaching practice focuses on personal development as she guides others through life’s many transitions in search of passion and purpose-driven lives. Part of her practice focuses on individuals who are living abusive histories and how survival mechanisms manifest into addictive and/or co-dependent behaviors. She also works with leaders, executives, and entrepreneurs as they carve meaningful lives both inside and outside of work, and companies of all size and scale as they navigate the transitional needs inherent in growth and change. Kate has published two memoir / personal development books - Untethered and Becoming Kate - with Balboa Press, a division of Hay House Publishing. She received her BA and MBA from Baldwin-Wallace University and her coaching certification from the Hudson Institute in Santa Barbara, CA. She is an avid runner and hiker. When she’s not out on the trail, you’ll find her in the kitchen cooking. She considers the world her playground and has never met a swing she didn’t like.

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