This is Audra Thomas. She is from Beaver City, Nebraska. Her mother Marla took this photo in 1989.
If you squint, you can just make out an F1 tornado in the background.
Did you see it? It might take a minute, you have to really look.
Marla was fine that afternoon. Her mother was fine. The tornado destroyed a barn on their property, but no one was hurt. (You can read the whole story here.)
The thing that struck me about this photo is Marla’s casualness. She’s standing perfectly still like she’s posing for a school photo. If she was here today, she’d probably tell you that taking a photo in front of a tornado was easy:
1. Find a tornado.
2. Stand in front of it.
Pretty simple really, but probably not something you should do. If you were thinking of doing that, this blog takes no responsibility.
But, though I’d never tell you to pose calmly in front of a tornado, I think you do need to treat your fears with roughly the same amount of disrespect.
As I’ve said before, fear only gets loud when you do things that matter. And it always tries to appear larger than it really is. It twists and turns and shouts and tries to chase you right out of the picture of your dream. Posing for a photo casually with it seems foolish, but you’d be amazed how small your fear really is when you capture it on film. I’ve been doing that for years and am continually surprised by the results.
That’s why I took this picture in 2008.
That was the first blogging event I planned. I thought it would be huge. I was afraid nobody would show up. That was my fear. And guess what? It happened. Two people came that night. What did I do? I posed with a photo. That night I posted that photo on my blog and suddenly the fear wasn’t that big. It was actually kind of small and silly. It didn’t have a whole lot of power over me.
Fast forward four years, and that’s still my policy with fear.
Here’s a photo I had taken at a book signing event I did with John Maxwell.
I’m on the left, staring out over the horizon looking for the first person who wants my autograph. John Maxwell is on the right with a line of 100 people. Brutal. I was afraid no one would come to my line. That was my fear. And I was right. It happened. There were people in Maxwell’s line with armfuls of his books. They’d get out, come see me and say, “I love your blog, not in a buy things kind of way, but in a read things kind of way,” and then jump back in line so they didn’t lose their spot.
I took a photo.
In addition to sharing it on Instagram, I used it during my main stage speech at Catalyst. I showed 13,000 people this photo.
Fear doesn’t get to win.
It’s not the boss.
It’s just the background of my awesome dream.
Say “cheese” fear.
What is something about your dream you’re afraid of?