Last fall I joined a friend for a fire walk. For the record, risk avoidance has been my operating system for most of my life. Sure. I love an adventure and by that, I mean a carefully curated adventure. I have learned to shift my relationship with the unknown over the past year, but I am not a thrill-seeker. Skydiving is out of the question. I did not put much thought into the fire walk part of the event. I was interested in meeting people who would go on a fire walk. The fact that I was about to be one of those people did not dawn on me.
The risk-avoidant part of my brain compartmentalized the fire walk until 24 hours in advance at which point, I panicked. I exacerbated my agitation further when I googled fire walk images which yielded photos of charred feet. I promptly closed my laptop and decided to delay thinking about it. Hello freeze response. I didn’t even talk about it. I just went.
The facilitators, Daphne and Lucy, taught us how to walk across the burning coals and reminded us that no one was required to walk. They encouraged us to trust our wisdom and make our decision with full consent.
Next, the group of about 25 people walked outside together. It was a windy night with a storm heading our way. I could see lightning in the distance. We gathered in a circle around the fire while the fire tenders finished the preparations.
The fire walk was open to anyone.
I realized that I wanted to walk.
One moment. One decision.
After watching everyone else walk across the fire and line up to walk a second time, I edged my way toward the front of the fire.
I remember the moment that I chose to walk. Another participant walked with me to the front of the line and encouraged me to imagine that my future dreams were at the end of the fire.
I visualized that version of myself 12 feet away on the other side of the burning coals. It was a significant moment of clarity for me because I decided that I wanted my trailblazing future more than I wanted my fear to stop me.
My nervous system relaxed and I felt certain. I backed up another 12 feet, focused my eyes on my heart’s burning desire waiting for me on the other side of the fire, took a deep breath, and walked steadily across the coals.
I walked across 1200-degree coals twice that night.
Neither the desire for a daredevil adrenaline rush nor a people-pleasing pressure motivated me that night. I walked because my potential mattered more to me than the comfort of my limitations. And, I did it scared. In case you are wondering, my feet were not burnt.
I often reflect on that moment before I first stepped onto the coals. It’s a guide when I’m confronted with a choice between my goal and fear.
I ask myself a question: What does a trailblazer do?
Each time I choose my desire over my limitation, I also build confidence with more evidence of my courage. You can too. Confidence is available to everyone. Join me on the trailblazing journey. The world is ready. Are you?