I am worrier who is quick to fear. In the past I stayed well inside my comfort zone because everything else was just too plain scary. There have been a lot of things I almost didn't try that I am thankful I did, most notably rock climbing, yoga, running, and CrossFit.
I started yoga in high school as part of an elective class. It took me a while to go to an actual studio, but once I got over not knowing anyone, and the teacher, I enjoyed it quite a bit. Now four years later I work at a yoga magazine and I do yoga on my own and in a class multiple times a week.
I used to stand on an eight food ladder and feel like I was way too far off the ground. After watching hundreds of other people climb at my gym, I decided it was time to stop being afraid and do something fun. For the first few weeks I would make it about 3/4 of the way up the wall before I wouldn't be able to go any higher. Now I climb the highest walls at the gym, and I don't let climbing next to a ledge or on overhangs stop me. I even look down every now and then. Next up, climbing outside.
But more than anything else, CrossFit has pushed every one of my limits. I nearly didn't take the fundamentals class because I was afraid of not knowing how to do anything (isn't that the point of a beginner's class?) and not knowing anyone who would be there. I had lifted weights a bit as training for sports, but even the lingo used in CrossFit seemed confusing and impossible to me. It actually took me three months to finally sign up. I am so happy I did I cannot put it into words. I've never had so much confidence in myself or felt as great as I do now. I have met so many amazing people at the two gyms I train at, CrossFit Sunnyvale and CrossFit San Mateo.
Every day at CrossFit I have to get over a fear. I've learned to not count how much weight is on my bar and instead just try it (besides, I'm terrible at math, so it's best if I count it all at once). The first time I ever did a lift at body weight I could not believe it. Never did I think I could move so much weight. I'm learning to not let a number scare me or stop me from trying. Even if I can't move the bar, at least I tried and it becomes my project until I can. But there is nothing like the feeling of lifting a heavy weight or making it through a brutal workout. It makes me feel like I can do anything.
Things still scare me. Putting that extra five pounds on the bar, trying a new arm balance where the chance of failure or face-plant is high, just about every new climbing route, and running further, longer, or faster. But every time I let myself be afraid and then push past it I end up with a new experience and an irreplaceable feeling of satisfaction.