The Spoils of Pushing Through Fear

By Tracey Ashcraft

One day while I was scanning my newsfeed on Facebook—probably playing hooky from getting work done—I noticed my friend Sherri’s post about wanting to do a zip-line adventure. Her comment seemed like a casual response to a silly commercial for who-knows-what-product, where a pig was squealing with joy while riding a zip-line. I hit “like” and moved on to the next trivial post about someone’s day.

Here is where the synchronicity comes in: A few days later I received a coupon offer for a two-for-one indoor zip-line adventure. With a few clicks on my phone, I purchased the offer. Ok, this may not sound too wild to you, but I am not prone to impulse buying and tend to labor over buying even a pair of socks for myself. This lack of deliberation during this buying process was seriously out of character!

After inviting Sherri to do the zip-line with me, the initial excitement began to fade, and I noticed we were both not racing to schedule a day for the indoor adventure park. What was going on with us? Ok, so we are two grown women with responsibilities to our kids, families, jobs, aging parents, and what can feel like a million other things that have to get done in life. But why were we dragging our feet to do this zip-line adventure?

Finally, after a few months went by, Sherri and I talked on the phone and discovered that we were both a little scared to do the zip-line. Keep in mind that this was an indoor zip-line—not one that has you suspended from a single line 250 feet over a rocky, raging river gorge. It had been a long time since either of us had done anything adventurous just for ourselves. After coming clean with each other, we booked our day of adventure for the following week.

When the planned day arrived, Sherri and I babbled excitedly on the 30-minute ride to the park. We supported each other, with pale faces, through the safety speech. We giggled nervously as we climbed the staircase to the launching platform. We asked jokingly if we should just turn around and head to the nearest bar. But somehow we managed to allow ourselves to be clipped into the harness on side-by-side zip-lines and have our bodies hurled across the modest chasm. As fake palm trees whizzed passed our view, fear transformed into exhilaration with shrieks of joy. (Please do not compare us to the pig in the Facebook post that started this whole adventure.) Seconds later, feet firmly on the platform on the other side, we broke out into laughter filled with relief. I can’t quite remember who said, “Let’s go again!” as we ran around to the stairs to make the ascent.

Before heading back to the responsibilities of our lives, we stopped and had lunch and checked out some shops. Sherri saw a black canvas sign with the phrase, “When was the last time you did something for the first time?” stenciled in white. She did not labor over the purchase and quickly carted it off the register…another impulse buy.

Several months after our fear-conquering day of adventure, Sherri invited me to lunch. After we ate, she gave me a wrapped gift.

I said, “What’s this for?”

She replied, “You’ll know after you open it.”

As I peeled away some of the wrapping, I knew right away what she meant. I saw the stenciled words, “When was the last time…” She gave me a smaller version of the sign she had bought!

There are spoils that come from pushing through our fears. We don’t have to hike Machu Picchu to feel alive. Doing something on a smaller scale can produce pretty amazing results, too. Get in the game.

Tracey Ashcraft, MA, LPC, is an accomplished Licensed Professional Counselor, Certified Life Purpose Coach and the Founder of Best Life Therapy, where she has been transforming lives since 2004. She specializes in helping adults, couples and college students cope with emotionally intense people. She brings her sense of humor and direct, down-to-earth style that helps clients get to the truth quickly. For more information visit


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