The August Challenge

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Fear.

I don’t care who you are or where you come from, we all struggle with various fears on a daily basis. It’s one thing that unites us all, but it’s also something we don’t talk about very often. Instead, we often hear much more about hate, anger, jealousy, and criticism which only further leads to more fear. What if we just started talking more about what scares us?

Fear can be crippling. As someone who has suffered from chronic anxiety my entire life, I know that all too well. If left unchallenged, our fears can multiply. I personally fear failure, mistakes, judgment, health of myself and loved ones, not being worthy or deserving, disappointing myself and others. I even fear that I won’t be able to overcome my fears. Sometimes fears are on a smaller scale, but they seem difficult nonetheless – going out to see friends, making a difficult phone call, or getting back into an old sport. Fear can be motivating, “Oh I don’t want to mess up my speech, so I’m going to practice every day this week.” or demotivating, “I messed up and feel like an idiot, so I won’t make myself vulnerable again.”

Because of our fears and in spite of our fears, I’m making a special challenge for the month of August. This month I’m personally challenging myself and any of you who are interested to take control of our fears, whatever they may be!

From the wise words of Eleanor Roosevelt, my challenge for August is to do one thing a day that scares you.

The beauty of this challenge is that YOU define it. You make the rules and decide what is challenging for you. We all know ourselves better than anyone and it’s up to us to define this challenge in a way that meets our own needs.

I currently have some things in my life that are holding me back and I’ll be working daily this month to challenge fears and negativity and make room for personal growth.

To keep myself accountable, I’m logging my daily feats on a calendar each day. By the end of the month, I’ll hopefully have a log of large and small fears that I overcame. The end result is intended to build confidence, inspire new personal challenges, and remind ourselves that we are more powerful than we know.

How to participate

As always, let me know in the comments if you’d like to join in! I’d love to hear about what fears you’ve overcome all month long, so feel free to leave a note on my blog or Facebook page and tell me about it. If you write a recap at the end of the month on your blog and send it to me, I will try to compile all of the links in a post so others can read about your journey too. I’d love to hear about your experiences!

Last but not least, here are some quotes on fear to get us inspired: (source)

“There are two basic motivating forces: fear and love. When we are afraid, we pull back from life. When we are in love, we open to all that life has to offer with passion, excitement, and acceptance. We need to learn to love ourselves first, in all our glory and our imperfections. If we cannot love ourselves, we cannot fully open to our ability to love others or our potential to create. Evolution and all hopes for a better world rest in the fearlessness and open-hearted vision of people who embrace life.”
― John Lennon

“Expose yourself to your deepest fear; after that, fear has no power, and the fear of freedom shrinks and vanishes. You are free.”
― Jim Morrison

“Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less.”
― Marie Curie

“Don’t be afraid of your fears. They’re not there to scare you. They’re there to let you know that something is worth it.”
― C. JoyBell C.

For more inspiring quotes, see my quote page.

If you are looking for more personal work, my Gratitude Challenge, could work hand in hand with this month’s challenge.

Here’s to August!

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{ 38 comments… read them below or add one }

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Erica Selby August 10, 2012

I want to join!! I don’t know where to start. I have similar fears. I have already posted the link to this page on my facebook and a few people are interested in the challenge.

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Lara August 9, 2012

This is a great challenge. I have generalized anxiety disorder, which means that I worry about anything and everything! Consequently, I have a lot of fears that I am constantly working to overcome.

August is a perfect time for me to start this challenge as I am spending the first three weeks of the month in Europe. While to most this would simply be a dream vacation (and it is to me as well), it is also so much more for me, given my anxiety. Travelling, eating different foods, staying in other people’s homes, and trying things that I never have before is exciting, but also a little nerve-wracking for me.

As a result, I have been doing AT LEAST one thing a day that scares me since I got here, before I even heard about the challenge! It is a bit unnerving and has caused my anxiety to increase somewhat, but I’m also having a ton of fun and creating new memories. My goal for the second half of my trip is to contiue to do the same, while also quieting the fearful voice in my head that so often limits my potential. Mind over matter.

Good luck to all of you as you take on this challenge!

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Jenny Willden August 9, 2012

I have been participating in this challenge without knowing it! I just started a new work opportunity, which scares me a bit, and I just went stunt flying with the Blue Angels in an airshow. Terrifying, but awesome! I am planning to chronicle it on my blog.

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Angela (Oh She Glows) August 9, 2012

I can imagine the guts it takes to do both, congrats!

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Leslie August 7, 2012

As a generally shy and anxious type I have found advocating for animals has forced me to face my fears. As a volunteer leafleter for Vegan Outreach & Mercy For Animals I hand out information about factory farming at colleges & busy street corners. Talk about fear, the first time I faced thousands of meat eaters with the “controversial” information that we can be healthy without eating animals I almost turned around and went home. But it has been 5 years now and I am still leafleting! This Saturday I face a scary challenge, leafleting a parade in Chicago that has a million people attending. I have not been able to find any other volunteers to help so am doing this on my own. Wish me luck!

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Angela (Oh She Glows) August 7, 2012

Amazing Leslie! Goodluck this weekend, I know you’ll rock it. :)

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Leslie August 13, 2012

Thank you Angela, the parade went well! Despite my initial nervousness the crowd was very friendly and receptive and I was able to hand out 550 Mercy For Animals/Vegan Outreach leaflets on factory farming. Many people stopped with questions and several people said they opposed such cruelty to animals and were giving up meat!

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Keri August 6, 2012

I climbed a mountain this weekend. 13,223 feet. And I learned (and blogged about):
I’ve always thought that climbing was a good metaphor for life. So what is it about this climb that can illuminate the shadow aspects within me right now? I’m obviously okay with a challenge…but I’m not okay with regret. Taking a wrong step. Failing. Falling headlong into an abyss. I’m not so good at faith–will this ROCK hold me? I’m not so good at accepting help–(I snapped at A. the one time he held out his hand to help me down). And I really hate letting other people down or feeling like I’m not living up to their expectations of me.
These are all fears I have to work on. These are all fears that I put energy into, and therefore result in a lack of energy I could be putting forth to bringing kindness into the world. So even though I don’t have another mountain to climb in the next week. I’d like to take on these fears that I found lurking within the shadow self. To write about them, to bring them out in the open and call them by name. To know them, and acknowledge their presence. And then to let them on their way.

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T August 5, 2012

Hi Angela, I have followed your blog for years now and am taking your August challenge head on. You have inspired me to start my very own blog! I have wanted to for a long time but have never been able to muster up the courage! Thank you for your non-stop inspiration!
-T

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Angela (Oh She Glows) August 6, 2012

Congrats! Glad to hear that :)

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Maria August 5, 2012

I love these sentences from a Course in Miracles:

Nothing real can be threatened.
Nothin unreal exists.
Herein lies the peace of God.

I use these to remind myself that whatever I fear cannot really threaten my true self. My essence, that presence and love that we all share, is impregnable. Remembering this helps me face my fears head on. Watching the mind that is afraid. Feelin the fear and then doing it anyway.

Great challenge. Thanks!

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Maria August 5, 2012

I love these sentences from a Course in Miracles:

Nothing real can be threatened.
Nothin unreal exists.
Herein lies the peace of God.

I use these to remind myself that whatever I fear cannot really threaten my true self. My essence, that presence and love that we all share, is impregnable. Remembering this helps me face my fears head on. Watching the mind that is afraid. Feelin the fear and then doing it anyway.

Great challenge. Thanks!

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Sasha August 4, 2012

This really couldn’t have come at a better time. After spending all of July in the hospital, my dad just passed away one week ago. I’ve always been quite anxious and have been dealing with some major anxiety over the past month. I am extremely fearful of facing life without my dad. I know just getting through each day of this month and facing all of the unknowns will be a huge challenge.
I probably won’t be doing a strict daily version (it would be too much for me right now), but am feeling very motivated and inspired by your challenge (and all the great comments too) to tackle a few things this month that I’ve been putting off due to fear.
Also, I’m very glad for the link to your Gratitude Challenge. I definitely need to do this now! I’m hoping that focusing daily on the things I am grateful for will make each day a little bit easier.

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Marcy August 4, 2012

Congratulations on working to overcome your fears. You are an inspiration. My favorite quote related to this is one by Ralph Waldo Emerson, which I borrowed in my blog’s name: “Don’t be too timid and squeamish about your actions. All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make the better.”

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Rebecca August 4, 2012

Hi Angela,

What a great challenge! I’d love to give it a shot since I’ve been feeling lack-luster lately… I used to do things that scared me all the time. In 2007, I ran my first marathon despite being afraid since I don’t have a “runner’s” body… I won that marathon. In 2010, I attempted to reach the 2012 Olympic Qualifying standard for the marathon and nearly did… but I have been injured ever since. In 2012, I graduated with an MFA with a thesis–a book– that tells my athletic story (a story I’d always been afraid to tell.) And so… now what? I still believe I can be an athlete, however, and this month will be the month I start to run again. Maybe as a way to kick off my challenge, I can say I’m going to ride a self-supported century today (a little over 100 miles.) I’ve done the distance before, but not the route. Cross your fingers I get no flat tires! :-) But, I’ll get off the bike and do my forty-minute run-walk and hopefully the pain in my body will be a little less than the day before. Thanks for a great blog that promotes a positive self-image and a positive outlook on life. .. and some kick ass vegan recipes!

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Bek @ Crave August 3, 2012

This fits in perfectly with my current life circumstance- trying to overcome my ED issues, depression, anxiety etc. I love this! Can’t wait to read what you do :)

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Alex @ Raw Recovery August 3, 2012

This is great timing because I am going through a really bad, horrible, heart-wrenching breakup and need to do things to gain back my confidence. Thank you for this

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ashley August 3, 2012

Great challenge! I’ve had moderate to severe anxiety since my father passed away, now it’s finally time to stop being afraid! Thank you for this challenge! :)

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Sam August 3, 2012

I’m in! One of my goals for the summer was to try a new food item or recipe every week that I would otherwise be intimidated by. So far the results have been amazing! I also am getting my hand back into directing plays and am quite nervous about starting that again! Can’t wait!

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FlowerChildYoga August 3, 2012

I read Brene Brown’s book, The Gifts of Imperfection. It is a fabulous book, really unique in it s insight into human behavior and emotions. She is a shame researcher and talks a lot about courage and shame resilience. I think you would love the book.

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Eva August 3, 2012

What a wonderful idea! I’d love to join in if that’s still possible.
I have fears aplenty, of which the upside is that I will have plenty of things to chose from each day ;)
Thanks again for this action-idea; I think it’s a truly wonderful idea. Very positive!

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CIndy August 2, 2012

I love this challenge. I’ve long been a believer that fears are like bullys – you just need to face them and they’ll back down. As I was reading the post, I realized that there are a couple of fears that I haven’t faced….now I will. My fears of regaining the weight I dropped and being alone are being called out on the mat!

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Christine (The Brighter Side of Life) August 2, 2012

I’m in!

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Ann August 2, 2012

I cannot tell you how much you have affected my life Angela! I gain so much from your blog and all that you offer here. Because of your guidance and example, I am running my first ever 10K next weekend, I have slowly but surely dropped extra weight that I had put on over the years, and my negative body image and food-related anxiety has decreased tremendously! I also feel less moody and generally peppier with all the new exercise and veggies in my life. I’m flirting with the concept of going vegan, honestly if it weren’t for family and friends and social issues I would, but hopefully I will get there. My husband and I eat vegan about 75% of the week now, and I have never felt better.
I probably think “what would Angela do” like ten times a day, and am happier than ever with the changes I have made in my life. Really girl, cannot thank you enough.
Just had to tell you that.
Also, your new blog layout is beautiful, and your No-Bake Chocolate Avocado Torte is the best thing I have ever put in my mouth. I am impressing many family members and friends this summer with it!
You’re my Oprah–
Ann

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Angela (Oh She Glows) August 2, 2012

Ann, you are so sweet! Thank you for your kind words, it means the world to me. :)
Congrats on all the healthy changes you are making in your life, no one can do that, but YOU!

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Sarah August 2, 2012

This is so completely relevant to me right now, I’d like to join you on this journey!

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Heather August 2, 2012

Great idea! I suffer from anxiety and am slowly learning over time to overcome it. This challenge sounds perfect for me. Already have a few ideas in my head…

By the way, your blog has been such an inspiration since I found it a few months ago. Thank you Angela!

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Angela (Oh She Glows) August 2, 2012

Thank you Heather, I’m so glad to hear that!

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Alex @ Healthy Life Happy Wife August 2, 2012

What a great challenge! Conquering fears is definitely hard but this challenge is a step in the right direction!

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Zestful Lou August 2, 2012

I’m going to change this challenge a little to be this: In August, do ONE thing that scares you.

I am going into my second year of teaching students with moderate to severe autism and I’m terrified to the point where I’m sick to my stomach. Last year was SO difficult. I keep saying to my fiance “I can’t do it. I can’t do this again.” But that attitude is not making things any better. My goal for August is just to get back into my classroom without QUITTING!

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Laura Lise August 2, 2012

Love this idea. Count me in!

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Stephanie August 2, 2012

I’m in, love it! Yours is one of the first blogs I ever read and got me to start my own blog.

I am getting ready for a major move in the next year, and like some of the others realize that I want more out of life that a soul destroying job, so hubby and I are attempting both to do a total life rehaul in our early 40’s without having to start life from scratch! Scares the hell out of us both as we have built our life up so far and are moving to a new country and starting from scratch. We both feel there has got to be more to life than working 12-14 hours a day, commuting 3 hours and being stressed out all the time.

Thanks for sharing!
x Steph

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Mikki August 2, 2012

I love that you inspire us to be better! I just saw this now but I am so in and I in fact did something yesterday that was scary. I too have things that are holding me back but I never framed or worded it like. Now that I see it like that I am anxious to conquer those things and make me stronger.

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Meredith August 2, 2012

Great timing for this challenge! I just did the scariest thing I think I’ve ever done – two weeks ago, I decided to not return to school in the fall and pursue my dream of becoming a yoga teacher (and eventually opening a yoga studio)! Now that I don’t have a clearly defined path (i.e., graduate school), life is a bit scarier – but a whole lot more exciting! I’m also travelling out West alone for the first time ever, which I’m sure will bring up some fear and anxiety, but also excitement. Thanks Angela for all your inspiration :)

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Shana August 2, 2012

I just started a gratitude challenge! Perhaps I’ll tackle this one next!

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greenthyme August 2, 2012

Great post Angela. I think we all have things we can work on. You’re brave to put this out there and I think it will help many people see they are not alone in their fears or anxiety. We all have it to some degree. I like the new look around here by the way!

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Kathryn August 2, 2012

At first when I read this I couldn’t think of what I was afraid of right now. I mean I’m afraid of a number of things, but I’m making an effort to change a lot of things already in my life I just wasn’t sure what else I could add to it. Then I realized something that I am afraid of doing that I really do want to do. I’ve been wanting to write a novel for years. I get ideas, write them down, and then I come across a road block of uncertainty and I am overwhelmed at the idea of trying to attempt something as so big as writing a novel when I at the very least don’t even read that much. But I got a dream the other day that inspired me again, and as I was writing it in my journal I decided I wanted to try it again. This happened shortly before you posted this, but now I realize it is a real fear to not be good at something. I really want to travel and I know if I aspire at a profession such as writing then I could really reach my goals. I am studying to become an architect so I’m not sure if I can add writing classes to my schedule easily. I guess I am afraid of going all in, to really go for it, and invest time and effort into such an endeavor I’m not even sure I have any sort of a talent in. I guess this month then, if I’m going to tackle one fear, I guess I better get writing :)

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Jillian August 2, 2012

Love this! I am in :) I read through your ‘about me’ and journey the other day- very inspiring!

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