Written for the Scintilla Project based on the prompt
Fears come in different sized packages. Tell the story of a time you had a face a fear, big or small.
When I told my firm that I wanted to be considered for an overseas posting, I fully expected them to send me to the US. That is where I thought our company needed staff. I expected to be told that I was going to be sent to Atlanta or New York. I was prepared for that. What I wasn’t prepared for was for them to come back the next day and say ‘How do you feel about moving to Germany?’. I remember that moment like it occurred just hours ago. I was sitting on this horribly uncomfortable see-through plastic chair that screamed ‘look at me I’m trying to be hip and cool’. I remember the paralysing fear that swept over me. Germany? I wasn’t prepared for Germany. I almost immediately said no. My manager no doubt noticed the fear in my face and how close I was to turning it down. He started talking up the offer, the amazing opportunities I was to have there and how much they really needed someone with my skills there. I started tossing it around in my mind. Germany. On second thought it didn’t sound too bad. Hey, I could learn German, that would be cool. I remember the one question I asked – ‘Does it snow there?’ My manager didn’t know. In hindsight I can say to myself, ‘Yes, sweetie it snows there. It will be cool until it is still snowing in March and then you will hate the sight of it’. I told my manager I would think about it.
I thought about it long and hard. I goggled ‘Hamburg’. It looked gorgeous. I was still scared, really scared. However, wasn’t this what I wanted when I asked for an overseas posting? A chance of a new life. What could be so different to my life in Australia than a life in Germany? The next day I told them yes. I was still scared.
I was scared as I packed up all my belonging and tied up all my loose ends. I was scared as I boarded the plane. I was scared when I sat in my first tiny apartment in Hamburg after just arriving, not knowing a single soul. I was so fucking scared.
Almost three years on, I’m so grateful that I didn’t give in to that wave of paralysing fear when the chance to move to Germany was offered to me. I’m glad that didn’t let it make me turn this opportunity down. Yes, moving to a new country is scary. Moving to a country where you don’t speak the language is doubly so. However I would not be person I was today if I said no. I would still be trapped in the same mindset I had when I lived in Australia. I would not have experienced the personal growth I have had since I moved here. My life would be the poorer for it.
Facing the fear allows you to learn just how strong you are. What you can (and can’t) deal with. It allows you to find out what you are truly capable of. However, facing the fear once doesn’t mean that you can do it the next time fear stares you in the face. It is a challenge every single time. Sometimes I rise to the challenge and other times I don’t. I still have to learn to find the courage I had on that day I said yes.