I don’t care for superheroes. There, I said it. (Sorry to all you superhero fans.) But back in 2015, after hearing about the umpteenth movie to hit the theaters about some superhero or other, it got me to thinking. What makes superheroes so popular? It could be because of their cool gadgetry or gear, or costumes, or their sense of vigilante justice, or their unique powers. That’s probably all true. But in the end, aren’t all superheroes usually just ordinary people until their stories make them into heroes, and then they stand up for a courageous cause and try to fix the world? (There are many real-life heroes out there; they may not be as flashy as a superhero, but they are taking a stand and saving the world as they can through their service and work. Thank you for what you do!)
But for the rest of us—what would happen if a person wasn’t just facing their fears, but truly wasn’t afraid anymore? They would go into situations that others would cower from. Wouldn’t they be, in their own way, like a superhero?
That’s when the idea of my anti-bucket list was born.
Bucket lists are lists of things people want to do before they ‘kick the bucket’—before they die. These are often big, grand, audaciously epic goals that people want to fulfill. That’s great! But I created what I call my anti-bucket list; I came up with a list of fears—as many as I could think of—and set out to address them one at a time, to see if I could eliminate fear entirely from my life.
I didn’t start out that way.
I grew up as an absolutely fearful child. I don’t know why. I had a loving family, and I had no trauma happen in my life—but still, I was always afraid. I was afraid of things that never happened. I was deathly afraid of fire, burglaries, the dark, losing everyone I cared about, car accidents, being homeless, getting cancer, learning to drive, drowning, being alone, of public speaking, etc., etc., etc. It just never ended. Always afraid.
And one day, I realized I was starting to grow out of it. You can’t live in fear forever. However, it doesn’t automatically mean you have to face your fears either; you can learn to live with them and think that’s ok. That’s where I was at as an adult. I just stopped being afraid all the time, and moved into a form of complacent denial. Until I made out my anti-bucket list and I realized how much of my fear was still there. It hadn’t really left me; I just never put myself in stressful situations where I’d have to deal with it.
Now I intended to change all that.
The rest, as they say, is history.
The long and short of it: did I conquer all of my fears? Am I completely immune to worry, fear, or panic? No. I’m human, after all—not a superhero. I’m still a work in progress. My anti-bucket list is not complete (yet). But I did learn I am stronger than I think. I can handle more than I thought. And I survived to tell the tale.
You can too.
Here’s to living life and not being held back by our fears!
PS – Have a great moment of courage of your own to share with me, or need help with your own anti-bucket list? Contact me!