Huffpost Parents
THE BLOG

Featuring fresh takes and real-time analysis from HuffPost's signature lineup of contributors

Tiana Patrice Headshot

What My 3-Year-Old Taught Me About Fear, Life and Business

Posted: Updated:
LITTLE GIRL SWIMMING
Miroslav Ferkuniak via Getty Images
Print

Do we ever really conquer our fears? I mean really, conquer our fears to the point that we just aren't afraid anymore?

I remember growing up and I would always hear people say "conquer your fear and the fear will disappear." Honestly, as a kid, that was probably my go-to mantra for the majority of my life.

For example, when I was a little girl there was this water park in my home town that was THE PLACE to be during the summers. I mean everybody who was anybody went to this water park. I'm sure it had nothing to do with that being the only thing to do in my small town. I convinced myself that that was where all the cool kids hung out. Nonetheless, every summer, I would go with the local kids, my family and friends and spend the entire day at this fun-filled water park.

The water park had a kiddie area, which was just right for me. It had no more than one foot of water and I could walk on my hands and pretend as if I was swimming (I know I'm not the only one that did this as a kid, am I?) The truth is, at this time, I hadn't quite conquered my fear of water. And so for me, it was better to play it safe than to lose my cool at the wave pool.

In the kiddie area there were several different things for us to play with, including the elephant that shot water out of his trunk with a slide going down his back.

All the kids stood in line, taking turns running under the water, going up the stairs of the elephant and down the slide. Trust me, at 5 years old, it was the thing to do!

But not me. I saw no fun in sliding into the water. I was perfectly fine with standing, splashing and pretending like I was swimming by walking on my hands. I didn't quite understand why they would want to go wade in the water of doom, it made no sense to me.

At the end of the summer, after watching all the other kids and how much fun they had playing with the elephant, I told myself that this was the day that I would conquer my fear.

I took a deep breath...

I went under the trunk shower -- success!

I went up the stairs -- score!

I stood up at the top of the slide... and chickened out.

Back down the stairs, around the trunk shower and out of the pool I went, shamefully, fear unconquered.

Fast-forward 22 years and I'm now standing at this same kiddie pool with my daughter, watching her face the same fear I faced. Talk about irony. She splashed in the water. She walked on her hands (I had a proud mommy moment). She met tons of friends and had a blast playing on the new toys that had been built over the years.

But, when it came to Mr. Elephant, she avoided him at all costs, much like I did when I was around her age. I could see that she was very interested in the slide. She tip-toed around it. She touched it, she tapped it, I could only assume to assure it wasn't real. But something was holding her back.

I knew that look, I knew that feeling. She was afraid. I decided to ask her how she felt about the elephant and she admitted that she was scared. I spoke these words to her, "Oh sweet girl, there's nothing to be afraid of, he's just a sweet elephant that wants to have fun with you, just like the slides at the park that you love so much." I didn't know if that would work. No one helped calm my fears 22 years ago, as I faced the elephant, so I had no idea if this approach would help.

I stopped and watched her become a little less tense. I continued, "When mommy was your age, she didn't get to enjoy the elephant, but you are so strong and courageous I look forward in watching you go under the trunk, up the stairs and down the slide." I gave her a kiss and sent her on her way.

20 minutes or so passed, and I noticed a side of her that made me so proud to be her mom. I knew that look; she was about to attempt to face her fear, alone, without notifying me or asking me to watch. But I was watching, and I was waiting.

She went under the trunk shower -- success!

She went up the stairs -- score!

She went to the top of the slide... and she chickened out.

It was like I started to relive those childhood moments all over again. Again, the irony. I didn't interfere; I realized that this was something she needed to do on her own. I watched her do that same routine about three more times. Each time, she convinced herself that this was it.

Then finally, right as it was time to get out of the water and go home...

She went under the trunk shower -- success!

She went up the stairs -- score!

She went to the top of the slide and WHOOSH! She slid down. And I was right there to cheer her on. Seriously, I was cheering like she had scored the winning touchdown.

I hugged her so tight. I was so proud of her, but more importantly she was proud of her self. I asked her if she wanted to go down the elephant slide again, and she said, "No mommy, I want to walk on my hands"

This night, my daughter taught me a valuable life lesson. If we don't face our fears, we miss out on all of the magic on the other side of life's slide. She taught me to try, so at least we can say we did. Maybe we won't like it, maybe we will love it -- but we will never know if we don't step outside of our comfort zone and try.

At 3 years old, she is always empowering me and teaching me some pretty cool things about life, and business too!

Did she conquer her fear of the elephant? Maybe not. But she sure as heck didn't let it conquer her.

2014-08-06-waterworld.jpg

Photo Cred Water World Of Dothan

So what about you? How can you apply this to your life? Is fear holding you back from doing something amazing in life? What about business?

I remember when I first started my business, fear held me back from launching my website, I thought it wasn't good enough. Fear held me back from creating content for my followers, I thought it wasn't deep enough. Fear held me back from launching online, I thought I didn't know enough.

When I finally turned the light on in the dark room where fear is created I realized just how amazing I truly am. And that's the same thing that will happen for you!

When is the last time you stepped outside of the fear zone and did something awesome? Comment Below and Share To Inspire Others!