There is a syndicated column that I always read in a small local paper written by Katiedid Langrock.  In her young life, she has done so many things that I can’t imagine doing.  One of her columns mentioned how she and a friend were in Italy and how this one cheese delicacy had worms (maggots) in it and how the two friends had the courage to eat it! Of course, I thought, “EWWWW” like you just did, but, her adventurous nature said something in that article that really hit me.  She said, “Eat the worms, before they eat you!”.   I let that sink in.  Being a person that has a ton of anxiety issues, it sometimes gets so hard to see the deep truth in that.  No matter what I do in this life, it’s going to end with my death, right?!  So I need to have some adventure, take some risks and enjoy some crazy things before I am eaten by worms!  Graphic, I know, but true.

How in the world do I go about fighting all that fear and anxiety and actually accomplish some of those crazy things? Well, there are a few things that seem to be helping me along the way.

Experience Absorbs Fear – One thing I have noticed is that the more experience I have doing something, the less fear I have about it.  Things that used to terrify me as a young mom have vanished in the wake of 4 kids and 5 grand-kids and even more new fears (like new tasks with my new job) are slowly disappearing as I do those things more often.  I think this applies to those who do high risk or high stress jobs as well.  Once you face certain things over and over again, you learn not only how to manage the fear, but, you learn how to accomplish the task more and more efficiently which makes the initial jolt of anxiety become nothing more than a blip in the time frame of the task.  

It’s OKAY to Look Foolish – One of the other big things that keep people from “eating the worms” is that no one wants to look silly or foolish.  If you can become de-sensitized to the effects of looking foolish, then you can see yourself doing most anything.  If looking foolish might just make something a great success, then why not give it a go?  If you hold back and don’t take that risk, you may not look foolish, but you may never get the success that you really want either.  A famous TV real estate agent, Ryan Serhant, takes that risk of looking foolish all the time and he has had HUGE success in his career.  When he has written about fear of the future, he has said that “the best way to predict the future is to fear the future”.  If we fear the future, we don’t take any risky steps so we always know what will happen next.  This will keep big things from coming your way.  With big risk, comes big reward.  Not only literally, but emotionally.  When you have taken that big, silly looking step, you feel GREAT that you faced whatever it was and it didn’t paralyze you!  Sometimes the actual outcome doesn’t even matter as much as you being able to stand tall and proud that you accomplished something that has had you tied up for years.

Only YOU are in Control – One thing I think a lot of us forget (especially if we are people of faith) is that we are the ONLY ONES that are actually in control of our lives.  I will give you a minute to catch your breath so you can read what I will write next…  Even if we believe we can give up our control and give it over to God, we still have to be willing to do that!  No one is standing over us forcing us to have faith.  We have to choose to do so. We also don’t just choose faith once and then God just runs us around like a robot until we die, we continually make the choice whether we will have faith or not.  We have that power.  Yes, circumstances beyond our control can happen in and around our lives, but, how we choose to face those things, whether we choose to have faith (or not), whether we take steps forward (or backwards) or whether we decide to “eat the worms” or not are all choices we will make.  On our own.  Even if we FEEL we have no control or choices in our lives, that doesn’t mean that we actually don’t have any control or choices.  Feelings can be so powerful that we believe things that aren’t true. So don’t trust in just your emotions, either.

I hope that you choose to “eat the worms” in your life; that you take some risks and have some amazing adventures!  I hope that you can face those things that scare you and stare them down until they cower in your gaze and I hope that for those things that just seem impossible, that you can have faith that you will get through whatever it is.  Let’s all “eat the worms before they eat us”, shall we?!

Until Next Time!

Jen Lush–Associate Broker and Mother of Managing Broker
Photo Credit: Sylvanus Urban

This content is not the product of the National Association of REALTORS®, and may not reflect NAR's viewpoint or position on these topics and NAR does not verify the accuracy of the content.