Meet Mike Dixon, my best friend. We have known each other since we were 8 years old. Last night I stumbled across this picture from our cross country road trip. I had one week to get from NC to LA for a job; our plan was to sleep in the car or camp, photograph the journey and experience whatever came our way. In the end all of that and much more happened but this moment in the photograph represents something bigger that I wanted to share.
Four days into our trip we arrived at the Grand Canyon late one evening, set up our tents in the dark and called it an early night so we could be up for sunrise. Hours later we made our way through the woods and down a hillside to the very edge. I was in complete awe as I stood there staring into the abyss towards the canyon floor. My first impression was "hot damn, it really is GRAND!", way more grand than I had ever imagined. "MIKE, can you believe this.. HOLY S@#T, It's unreal. You have to see this!”, motioning him towards the edge. I turned around to find him with hands on knees, pale and visibly nervous. I had forgotten, he is terrified of heights.
My efforts were futile, he wasn’t having it. Don’t get me wrong, I tried in the beginning to challenge his manhood, call him a name or two, basically make light of the situation hoping we would budge. Eventually it occurred to me that fear had paralyzed him. The only direction he’d even consider was backwards. I looked him in the eye, told him that I was going to be right there with him, nothing could or would happen; he just had to trust me. I reminded him that we had traveled thousands of miles and now stood a matter of inches from the edge. “How could you come this far to only turn around and go back?”, I asked him. After a few moments he found the courage and faced one of his greatest fears. Matter of fact we watched the sunrise that morning with our feet dangled over the edge. Looking back, I feel that that trip was the beginning of incredible change in his life. He has since gone on to do amazing things and in the process inspire me and countless others.
The moral of the story that I try and constantly remind myself of (yet often forget) is this. All too often as walk towards the metaphorical "edge" of our personal journey to only be paralyzed from taking the next step. Fear is very real and can be a destructive force in our lives if we let it. It will rob you of the opportunity to truly be ALIVE, to be or do something GREAT. If you want to beat it, surround yourself with people that will unconditionally support you in those moments. Ultimately, recognize that what you're really feeling is the resistance to change that is meant for the greater good.
I challenge you next time there is a pressing decision to be made in your life to consider fear as a compass. Option A = comfortable and complacent, option B = scares the hell out of you... Choose B. I'm willing to bet that you'll discover something you didn't think possible.
PS.. You too Jeff Holt, especially yo