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A 'Feel the Fear' Story

We all need a push...

When I first considered submitting this story, I thought to myself, ''Well, it will be very short and sweet,'' but when I took a moment to really consider how far I have come in the last few years, I then realised, ''It might not be that short, but it is quite sweet!''

I had been a troubled teenager through high school, always in with the wrong crowd, dabbling in drugs, and not really caring about my studies, my family or the people around me; most of all I didn't really care about myself! I was intelligent, however, and somehow got through exams and drifted on to college without ever really trying hard at all. I always did what others expected of me; in fact, it was my mother who urged me to apply to art courses and after that my first job! I was never in control as someone else was always pulling the strings although I hadn't realised it at the time.

Not long into this job (the one my mother had urged me to apply for and somehow I had gotten hired), I realised how ''in a rut'' my life had become. I wasn't happy; I was stressed; I was struggling financially; I felt unhealthy; and I was in a relationship that was making me unhappy. Even my best friend and I had drifted apart. I found myself complaining constantly, to a point where I found it annoying to even listen to myself!

I needed to get out of that job and I needed a change, a big one! And boy, was I scared! But I sat down and thought really hard about what I wanted from life, what did I want to do? For myself? For the first time in my life I decided to take control. I had to find out what it was that I really wanted to do, and who I wanted to be!

It was at this time I came across Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway. This happened as I was searching for books on Aptitude & IQ to help me find the right career path. One line in Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway is, ''When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.'' This is so, so true!. I was ready, more than ready and the more I looked for advice and support the more I was overwhelmed at the advice and support that people were willing to give me. If there is one important thing that I learned here it is that you should never underestimate the willingness of others who are experienced enough to guide you. Never feel that you will be ''inconveniencing'' them by asking to be pointed in the right direction. I was amazed that, no matter how silly or foolish I thought a particular question was, I was never made to feel that way. I now believe that instead of thinking, ''I shouldn't ask that, I'll sound stupid,'' I should think, ''Why don't I give this guy the opportunity to feel good about himself and that he has valuable knowledge to share!''

Telling my mother was the first hurdle! She thought I was mad, and I knew she would. ''Giving up a full time job and a good wage... How on earth are you going to support yourself?'' That was the reaction I got when I explained that I had made a decision to leave my job and return to college full time. It was exactly the reaction I had expected although I was determined it was going to work out somehow, even if I wasn't quite sure how.

It was the best decision I ever made (and it was thanks to Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway.) The feeling of being in control of my life was so exhilarating. I believed in my ability to do it. I began a full time degree in Science. I was going to learn about everything! Everything I had ever wondered about! Even though I was stone broke doing it, I was happier than I had ever felt before in my life. My life was fuller and I felt more fulfilled in many ways. Opportunities presented themselves all over the place to earn money and move further out of my comfort zone.

I now have an honors degree in Chemistry! It was a challenge and at times was quite tough, but because I was doing it for myself, I never looked back. I was right where I wanted to be, every single day. For those of you out there who feel they would like to do the same thing but are thinking, ''There's no way I could do that!'' Believe me, you can! You just need to take action, find out how..... and before you know it you'll be gathering information and working out a strategy that will make it possible. It may not be the most obvious route but it is there. And, as the book says, you might feel a little fear, but you'll no longer feel helpless.

Right now, I've begun reading the book again. I'm a little apprehensive (more terrified actually!) about the next step forward, the next leap into the unknown. But, already I'm beginning once again to believe that ''I can handle it!'' And just then, as I typed that, I felt a familiar, but almost forgotten, surge of excitement rise from within me!

We all need a little push sometimes, even better if it comes from within ourselves.

Robyn, Dublin, Ireland