Do something every day that scares you – Eleanor Roosevelt

I recently came across this quote on Pinterest and my first thought was, no way. My mind immediately went to base-jumping, repelling off the side of a cliff, exploring a damp, cramped cave with centipedes crawling up my shirt. I shiver even now at the thought. But, what if this is not what she meant. Maybe she wasn’t talking about extreme fears but everyday fears, the things we don’t usually call fear.

We use words like, I’m not good at that, it makes me uncomfortable or I don’t understand that stuff. These could be code words for plain, old-fashioned fear or in Eleanor’s terms, the stuff that scares you.  Some of the fears that can creep in on us every day are fear of failure, fear of change or fear of the unknown. We just don’t call it that.

When my youngest son left for college I was supposed to go back to school. I had talked about it for years but there I was, unable to make the decision or commitment. I was afraid. I didn’t know if I could get in, if I could handle the studies or make good grades. I didn’t want to waste the money if I couldn’t do it. Not to mention the embarrassment. It took me two years, after my initial deadline, to face that fear and try. Once I did, it wasn’t as bad as I had imagined. Isn’t that usually the case? I did get in, I did make good grades and I did graduate with my associate’s degree in business. Fear squashed. But, doesn’t it seem like fears are just stacked up in the wings, the next one just waiting for you. So, maybe we do have enough fears to tackle one every day.

A year ago, I repaired and repainted three pieces of furniture. I had been putting this off for quite some time. The fear was that I wouldn’t be able to make them look nice because  I wasn’t that creative and don’t have enough artistic ability. I rallied my courage (mostly because I was tired of looking at them – dull and dingy) and did it anyway. They turned out fine. resized-furniture


Then, just last week, I was sewing together a patchwork blanket for my granddaughters’ first real bed. I hadn’t sewn in a while and I am not really a seamstress, so I have to familiarize myself with the machine every time. I was having trouble, it looked like the bobbin was stuck. I did some poking around and the entire contraption that holds the bobbin in place fell out into my hand. Yikes! I looked at it in shock and dismay. I really wanted to finish the blanket and now I was going to have to wait until my husband got home (much later) so he could fix it for me. I set the mess on the table and decided to make a cup of coffee. Sipping my coffee, I decide to face my fear and make an attempt to fix it. I dug in the case for the manual, studied the diagram, put it back together and got it working. It was exciting. I did a little dance and fist bumped the air! Actually, I just texted my husband to describe my victory, but I did add three happy face emoji. 🙂 🙂 🙂

I am still not sure about facing a fear every single day. No matter how you dissect it or analyze it, that seems like a daunting task. What I do think we need is a general willingness to work on the things that scare us. Instead of ignoring them or passing them off as something else. We need to conquer them – one fear at a time.

What do you think about Eleanor Roosevelt’s quote?


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