I look back to my first trip of solo international travel and remember how afraid I was. I had been asked to travel to Singapore to teach a leadership session – alone. I felt like an imposter as I planned my trip. I acted like it was no big deal, but inside I was quite nervous. My friends, who had never travelled, told me how brave I was and then told me about every terrible experience they had ever heard about. They tried to convince me to find a way out or send someone else. I continued the facade and told myself and others how I was not afraid, this was no big deal, and then would spend hours researching everything I thought I should know before I went, trying to lessen the fear and anxiety.
My first solo flight was when I was about 10 years old. I was not afraid at that time, just excited to go. Right after graduation, I moved alone from the east coast of the US to the west. I don’t remember being afraid. Maybe it was simply that I had no idea anything could go wrong in life…I was naive.
Why was I so afraid now?
When I arrived in Singapore, I joked that I had found heaven…it was hot, humid and crowded with so many people. I fell in love with international travel.
I am not sure what created that fear, but I do know that by finding the courage to go alone on that trip long ago taught me to find courage to do so many other difficult or frightening things. I focus on having an open mind, learn all that I can about it, and then move forward.
What do you fear and how do you find courage?