09/10/2012 08:28 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Confronting My Fear Of Snakes (VIDEO)

My "49 Before 50 Challenge" is all about stepping beyond what feels comfortable and conquering my fear of new things. (You can read my first blog about the journey here.) Some of the things I'm trying are about thrill-seeking; others involve learning new skills. There are also those experiences that are emotionally tough for me.

One of my most meaningful experiences as part of this journey was one I accomplished with my father. He and I share a real fear of snakes. In fact, my dad still tells the story about how disappointed he was in himself as a young boy because in order to get a Boy Scout merit badge, he had to hold a snake... and he just couldn't bring himself to do it.

To confront our fear -- which is actually fairly common -- my father and I went to the Phoenix Herpetological Society to get educated about reptiles. I have discovered that a lot of fear comes from not understanding something, and that knowledge really is quite powerful. Anyway, my dad and I spent the afternoon with an intelligent, articulate snake specialist who took the time to explain reptile behavior so we were able to make sense of what the snakes were doing.

We started with a small snake and gradually moved on to larger species. I was seriously apprehensive, but by the end of the afternoon, I was comfortable enough to allow the specialist to drape a giant reptile around my neck. My father held a snake for his first time, too, and we both left feeling a great sense of accomplishment.

The goal of "49 Before 50" is to inspire, motivate and encourage others to have these types of life-changing experiences. If we all lift each other with support, the whole world elevates. We discover how capable we are when we push through fears.

Come on: Try just one new thing today! I hope this video of my snake adventure will inspire you....

For more by Emily Kaufman, click here.

For more on becoming fearless, click here.