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Our Fears Are Traitors

"Your fears are a kind of prison that confines you within a limited range of action. The less you fear, the more power you will have and the more fully you will live." --Robert Greene

Today my husband, Greg, and two teens fly to San Francisco then to Seoul, Korea and finally Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia.

I planned every bit of the itinerary. Greg is leading the trip.

They will explore the ancient capital of Chinggis Khan, ride Mongol horses across the steppe, and camels in the Gobi Desert.

As a family, we've traveled to 35+ countries on five continents.

But we started doing specific trips like these for our teens. They are part of our 'curriculum'. Adding that extra element of challenge and adventure that's difficult to do with small children.

They're intentionally designed to help our children forge character, face fears, do hard things, and get out of their little corner of the world.

Past trips have included trekking in Iceland, hiking to Everest Base Camp, and a WWII European Tour.

Sometimes I go on the trips. But if I don't, there's always some trepidation when I say goodbye.

What if I never see them again? What if something happens to them? What if...?

Courage is knowing what not to fear. Plato

But I recognize this old nemesis, fear.

He is not rational. He is a traitor. He kills #dreams and keeps too many people from fully living life. They're too busy worrying about the 'what ifs'.

If I face my fears and think through them, I realize their irrationality.

For many people, fear exists because it represents the unknown. They don't know what may or may not happen, or if it is safe.

I've felt that fear many times. The first time we crossed an international border -- from the U.S. into Mexico.

The first time we traveled to Africa. Which was also our first time in an Islamic country.

Both times (and many others) I didn't know what to expect and I was terrified.

Every time, my fear has been unfounded. The people were wonderful. Our family was safe. Fear was a traitor.

Now I have an advantage. I've traveled enough to know that the same level of danger exists in doing any daily activity in most places in the world.

I'm not afraid when Greg goes to the grocery store, or when my kids go out driving with their friends. (If you are afraid of those things, that another level of irrational fear that needs to be addressed).

Yet statistically those are more dangerous than taking a flight halfway across the globe.

Would I be afraid if they went shopping at the mall? Then why not at a market in Seoul or Ulaanbaatar?

Only when we are no longer afraid do we begin to live. Dorothy Thompson

Face your fears. Think through them. Realize you're really only afraid of what you don't know.

What the mind doesn't understand, it fears. Understand more so that you can fear less.

It's only when we overcome or push through our fears that we are free -- and we truly begin to live life fully.

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