On Sunday I spent three hours with my daughter helping her overcome fear.  She’s an All-Star cheerleader and, for those of you who aren’t familiar with the sport, it’s nothing like sideline cheer.  It’s extremely competitive and requires a great deal of strength as there’s a lot of tumbling involved.  My daughter’s been doing one of these tumbling moves for several year and then, one day, she couldn’t do it anymore.  It’s not because she injured herself, it’s because she developed a mental block.  Suddenly, she had an all-consuming fear of doing it.  Something that used to come so easy to her was literally impossible for her to do.  Or so she thought.

A mental block isn’t uncommon in the All-Star cheer world.  At some point though, the athlete needs to overcome it. 

Both her coaches and her older sister (who is an also an All-Star cheerleader) worked with her in every way to get her to “just throw it.” Over the past few weeks it’s been building up in her head until now it’s a big thing.  Like a REALLY big thing.  Losing her skills has consumed her (and me) to the point that she’s in tears every day.  If she doesn’t through her tumble pass her coaches will be forced to take her off the team.

So yesterday, in the sweltering heat, I sat there watching her on the trampoline trying to force herself to throw her back handspring.  I encouraged, I threatened, I tried to piss her off – anything to JUST DO IT.

Her sister and I both told her, all the classes in the world won’t help, she simply must decide that her fear of doing it will not overpower her love of cheer.  There was about an hour of her screaming “I’m TRYING” and me screaming back “DON’T TRY JUST DO!” I’m sure my neighbors think I’m a horrible mom.

And then, after three hours, something clicked, and she did it.  And then she did it again.  And again.  She stopped trying and just did it.

That really is what it comes down to with fear isn’t it?  You can’t try you just need to do.  Whether it’s tumbling, leaving an unhappy marriage, quitting a job or anything else that brings fear, at some point you need to realize that “trying” isn’t going to change the situation.  It requires action.  Yes, taking action against fear is hard – it’s like standing at the edge of the diving board and deciding you will take that next step and dive in.

What are you trying to change in your life?  What action do you just need to do?  Share your story and let’s support each other.

This summer was the season of freedom for my 16-year-old daughter.  Remember that first summer when you had your driver’s license and some spending money in your pocket, and you could head out to the beach whenever you wanted to?  It was exhilarating.

With her freedom comes mine.  I’ve got less driving around to summer activities and sleepovers. I’m starting to feel the reigns of obligations slip off me and with that I can feel myself ready to start discovering me.  Not the person I was pre-kids – she’s long gone. This new me has a lot more wisdom and confidence.

Here are a few things the new me is excited to do:

The new me is anxious to try new things. I used to be intimidated to try a new class at the gym for fear I’d look like an idiot because I couldn’t keep up. Not anymore.  Now I bravely stand at the front of the class and laugh when I screw up but even more importantly I’m proud that I did it and congratulate myself for the moves I could do.

The new me is ready to have adventures.  I saw a show the other day about these two people touring Thailand and visiting these incredible waterfalls. When you have kids it’s darn near impossible to have trips like that. Disney is the ultimate adventure and while that was fun, I’m ready for the real world not a place that recreates adventures.

The new me is ready for the next big leap in my career.  For years now I’ve made my living blogging and doing TV segments about safety and wellness.  Don’t get me wrong – I love it and will continue to do that. The way my career started was because of the death of my first son.  It drove me to want to help save other kids’ lives. As I’ve gotten older new things drive me.  Listening to women who are scared to leave a relationship or start a new career or struggle with being a caregiver motivate me. I love speaking to these women and offering them support and guidance. I envision a world of confident and happy women and, through retreats and speaking engagements, I want to create that.

The new me is ready to have a few deep friendships.  When we’re in our 30’s and 40’s we’re building a career and/or family that consumes our time. Our friendships tend to be created around the interests of our kids. Some high school and college friendships remain but get-togethers are few and far between and finding current commonalities is tough. For years my girls have been involved in All-Star cheerleading.  For those of you not familiar with this sport, it’s year-round and requires a lot of travel.  When you’re a “cheer mom” that other moms become your friends. But one day your cheer life ends and naturally these friendships fade. But a few transcend the mutual bond of cheer (or whatever activity your child is involved with) and you connect over the big issues. Now I have time for a few friendships that are based on mutual respect, shared beliefs and willingness to talk about the real stuff.  You know the real stuff – our hopes and dreams but also the fears that keep us up at night.

The new me understands that my health is something I can’t take for granted.  When I was in my 20’s and 30’s I worked out to have a hard body and look great.  Now I work out to prevent osteoporosis and keep my heart in good shape.  I used to choose my food based solely on what tasted good.  Now I select food that tastes good and will provide me the nutrients I need to cut cholesterol and provide the right vitamins.  When the kids were younger, I would always  get them to their check-ups but mine would be missed because there wasn’t time.  Now I realize that making the time for health screenings and exercise is what will allow me to live life to the fullest.

As I’m closing in on another birthday I’m loving who I’m becoming and can’t wait for the next chapter. What’s in your next chapter?  Share below as writing it down makes it more real.