Wouldn’t it be wonderful to have a magic (quick) formula for making decisions and be able to move into change seamlessly? Alas, there is no such thing. And there is often emotional pain, a lot of energy and fear to overcome before a big decision.
I found myself in a year-long process of being evaluated for a cochlear implant in 2017. Yes! It took almost a year for me to go through various medical tests, be approved, make the decision to go for it and actually have the operation. It was tough and I did not do it with a happy heart. My emotions were all over the place, I had to come to terms with a new identity of being labelled ‘severely hearing impaired’ (by the medical profession), face some risks without there being any positive guarantees at the end of it all. Someone even told me to expect nothing and hope for everything. Great!
And I was scared. Very scared of losing my residual hearing, scared of being reliant on technology to hear for the rest of my life, scared of not waking up after the op and more. I know for sure that fear is often about lack of knowledge - so I joined the cochlear implant facebook group and posted my story. One piece of advice rolled in after another. The best advice I read was to make sure I was emotionally ready before making any decision. There was no pressure from the medical world or anyone else. Just myself.
And then I read the following quote by Tony Robbins:
‘It is in your moments of decision that your destiny is shaped.’
Something shifted in me. Suddenly I realised I might have to go for it to stay fully in the hearing world, to continue my path to become a coach, to continue travelling the world, and simply to enhance my quality of life.
Once I had made my decision, I actually felt relieved. The dark cloud over my shoulder had disappeared. Things started to fall into place, and support from my workplace and friends crawled out of the woodwork. I decided to simply face each part of my journey one step at a time. I created an image to help me along.
I am driving a car in a deep dark forrest. My dip lights allow me to see only 20 metres ahead. It’s good enough. I don’t need to see any further ahead. Self doubt has been chucked out of the window and I remind myself, I can cope with anything life throws at me.
What have I learnt?
Fear can actually be your friend and lead you to the right path when you are ready. Fear can be the fuel to take action. Embracing fear can lead to new opportunities and open your world. Fear can shape you and be empowering. We all know fear is part of the human experience. But this doesn’t make it any easier to deal with. I got pushed to a point where I felt I had nothing to lose. Life as I know it changed. It’s early days, but I realise I am still me - with another experience in my backpack to make me braver, stronger, and overcome the next hurdle of fear. And I am discovering some weird and wonderful sounds. My ears have a few years in them yet!
So I will keep driving. And hopefully inspire others to embrace their fear, move forward and open doors to new opportunities.