The nose of the plane dipped suddenly and I started hurtling towards the ground. I was out of control and there was nothing I could do.
I knew I was going to crash.
The “ultralight” contraption was built from a kit with a lawnmower engine to propel it through the air. A friend had invited me to take flying lessons from a man who had advertised “buy one lesson, get one free.”
I was the free!
Surely that should have been a sign! But if it was, I ignored it.
My whole life has been a series of adventures.
I nailed my first two practice sessions so I was feeling confident when I took off for my first real solo flight.
But as I climbed twenty, then forty, then sixty feet into the air… something went wrong. I managed to stall the plane.
I had no idea what I was doing wrong. I tried giving it more gas. I arched my back and pointed my toes. But it was clear that I had lost complete control of the plane.
Holding on for dear life, I watched as the ground rose to meet me and my flimsy flying machine.
As a kid, I was considered a tomboy and was always sporting a fresh bandage or sling. My favorite thing in the world was to climb the tallest tree and tie the corners of my bed sheet to different branches.
I would simply swing in the breeze in my homemade cocoon (yep, some of my bandages came from my lack of knot-tying knowledge!).
But my happy little rough and tumble life in Miami, Florida took a wide turn when I was eleven.
After reading an article about rafting down the Colorado River, my mother (bless her gypsy soul) announced to my sister and me that we were heading out west to the deserts of Arizona.
Within six months, she had married a handsome dentist and I had acquired a step dad. Yep, we were packing our bags and moving yet again.
That was number seven in a series of moves that now tops 55 and counting!
Me, Mom & Sis
But this flying adventure was turning into a disaster!
Me with Danielle
On impact, the ultralight plane crumpled into a mangled mess of metal and my body lay broken and bleeding in the Arizona desert.
The bag of rocks that was tied to my chest (to add weight and stability) had exploded and punctured my skin. I knew I had broken my tailbone as pain oozed from ever pore.
In that instant, I could feel the bravery drain from my body.
I thought about my little daughter. I had chosen to keep her (amid a sea of negativity) when I found myself pregnant at only 18 years of age. Thinking back, that was one of the bravest things I’ve ever done!
But as I laid motionless in the desert that day, I wondered how long it would take help to reach me (this was well before cell phones). I worried that I would never walk again. Would I have to quit my job? Who would take care of my daughter if I was paralyzed?
As I waited for help, the fears grew louder and louder in my head.
Those feelings of fear brought back memories from my childhood and the times my step dad gave me my first “bravery lessons”.
He wanted to teach me to snow ski so he took me to the top of the lift and left me alone to snow plow my way to the bottom. I was terrified but did it anyway.
He coached me to slalom water ski and encouraged me to jump the wakes high into the air. He taught me to ride a dirt bike on perilous mountain paths. Some of the trails I explored were 10,000 feet in the clouds with sheer drop-offs on either side!
While unconventional by anyone’s standards, my step dad’s methods turned me in to a fearless adrenaline junkie and challenged me every day.
I obviously survived the crash and thankfully wasn’t paralyzed… but in that instant I came to know fear.
My newfound fear impacted nearly everything I did!
I started to fear dying, and for a while, I let fear take over my life!
The idea of traversing mountain trails and shushing down the slopes became distant dreams while I worked hard to heal from this terrible accident and build a life for my daughter and myself.
But I longed to rekindle my fearless spirit.
I dreamt of getting back to my life of adventure. I needed to feel that “rush” again!
So I practiced being brave.
I took baby steps at first but as I built my confidence, I took bigger risks. Before long, I was running towards things that scared me and challenged me.
I had resumed my “bravery lessons”!
One of the first challenges I undertook was opening a business.
I started a children’s consignment shop with the outgrown baby stuff in my garage and $2,000. I sought out mentors and learned from my mistakes. It became quite a success and I sold it five years later for 10 times my investment.
Becoming an entrepreneur is not for the faint of heart! As the years went by and I started a dozen more businesses, I had to practice bravery every day.
Like the time I stood in front of my peers to give a presentation as an “industry expert.” I little voice inside me was saying “Who do you think you are?” but I did it anyway.
I also practiced being fearless when I asked banker after banker to loan me almost a million dollars to build my first massage and esthetic school. After a dozen “no’s,” I had polished my pitch enough to get my coveted “yes!”
Or the time I testified in court against the employee (and trusted friend) who had been caught embezzling $72,000 from me. I spoke up against the injustice in spite of my fear of facing him in court. It made me feel powerful!
I really had to be brave when I lost my business, my home and my life savings in the wake of the Great Recession. I knew starting over would be hard but in order to be successful, I had to be fearless and do it anyway!
Each time I practiced being fearless, I grew braver.
I got back to skiing and even bought a dirt bike. My life of adventure had officially resumed! I learned how to scuba dive (a serious passion to this day) and I started traveling solo. I met people and saw places I would have NEVER seen had I remained afraid.
And then last year I faced my biggest fear of all… my fear of heights!
I had the opportunity to drive the Pacific Coast Highway, a scenic road snaking its way along the California coast. The road is set just feet away from ragged cliffs that fall to the shore below (the stuff of many of my nightmares).
I learned years ago that bravery is like a muscle. The more you flex it, the stronger it gets!
So instead of taking a train and avoiding that route altogether, I planted my butt firmly behind the steering wheel of my rented car and practiced bravery!
Because I knew that tackling my greatest fear would give me the strength to tackle other challenges, especially the ones I regularly encountered as an entrepreneur.
And to be honest, I didn’t know a thing about being an entrepreneur when I started that first business 35 years ago.
Being an entrepreneur can be really scary! There’s a lot to learn and a myriad of systems and procedures to navigate. There’s legal stuff to understand and taxes to pay.
Owning a business can keep you up at night. You worry about making enough money to pay the bills or making a mistake so big you have to close your doors. You worry about the opinions of others and wonder who to trust.
I know, because I’ve had ALL of these fears at one time or another! Being an entrepreneur takes real guts!
But so does changing jobs, moving homes, traveling to faraway places and (yikes!) maybe even moving to another country!
It takes guts to really step into a life you only use to imagine!
Over the years I’ve gotten really good at flexing my bravery muscles. And as an entrepreneur and coach, I’ve been fortunate to help thousands of others do the same.
Oh, and my “bravery lessons” are a lot of fun too (not the scary kind my step dad use to practice)!
Just recently I took the biggest leap of all! I mustered up all my courage and sold the massage and esthetic school I owned for 18 years. Then I gave away nearly everything I owned, packed three suitcases and moved to Belize!
Now I’m living the laptop lifestyle in paradise and inspiring others to be brave and follow their dreams.
Saying goodbye to mom as I head to Belize
I practice being fearless every chance I get, whether it’s scuba diving with sharks or rappelling waterfalls in the jungle.
When I’m home, I work from my deck with the wind in my hair and the Caribbean Sea so close I can smell the salt in the air.
I live a truly fearless freedom lifestyle!
I’ve also trained as a certified Dream Builder coach and nothing lights me up more than helping women define their dreams, overcome their fears and finally live the life they deserve!
But here’s what I see time and time again…
Women who dream of making a change or growing their business or traveling the world, only to be paralyzed by fear. They make excuses, procrastinate and piddle around with non-productive “busywork” just so they don’t have to face their fears.
~ Fear of failure
~ Fear about being judged
~ Fear of rejection
~ Fear of technology
~ Fear about speaking in public
~ Fear of being an impostor
~ Fear of asking what they’re worth (and making what they deserve)
~ And on and on and on!
But here’s what I say…
Run towards your fears!
They are a gift just waiting to be opened. Your fears will teach you so much about yourself and they’ll propel you towards your dreams!
As your Fearless Freedom Coach, I can not only show you how to design your dream life, I can help you navigate the gap between where you are now and where you want to be.
Let’s work together to build the bridge that will get you to the other side.
I have the tools if you’ll make the time!
Your Fearless Freedom Coach