By Carrie Sharpe
For any Michigander, the Mackinac Bridge is a 5-mile symbol of our state. It's the massive suspension bridge connecting Michigan's upper and lower peninsulas. When someone says simply "The Bridge," we all immediately know what he's referring to. The Mighty Mac is part of who we are, and it's something that means Pure Michigan, through and through.
So when Ryan and I were offered the chance to climb to the top of one of the bridge towers, our answer was YES.
But here's the thing: that tower we'd be standing on is 552' above the Great Lakes (Lake Huron on one side, and Lake Michigan on the other). Friends, it's high. Soooooo high. And there isn't a staircase to get you to the top... there are tight spaces to squeeze through, ladders to climb, and a lot of required shimmying.
Sometimes we have to ask ourselves if the end result of something is worth the journey it takes to get there. In this case, the end result was definitely worth the journey!
When we first stepped out onto that tower 552-feet in the air, we weren't thinking of nerves, anxiety, or fear. We were too stunned by the view. We were, quite literally, speechless (which doesn't happen often for two people who talk as much as we do! haha!).
Fear is a funny thing. Sometimes it's rational and keeps us from doing dangerous things that would harm us, but other times it's irrational and can stop us from doing amazing things.
I tell you this because the day before we went to the top of that tower, my blood pressure skyrocketed due to fear. Don't laugh when I tell you why. It was because I had a dentist appointment that day. Not even kidding. I was more nervous about the dentist than I was to climb to the top of that tower. I have an irrational fear of doctors and dentists that leads me to sometimes cancel even simple appointments like dental cleanings.
Irrational fear, friends.
I can't always trust feelings of fear. Sometimes fear is helpful (hello, machete-wielding murderer running straight at me!), but other times I really need to analyze fear before acting on it so I don't miss out on something of value. Like healthy teeth. Or the views from the top of the Mackinac Bridge.
When it came to the bridge climb, I was too excited to be fearful. And honestly, looking at the photos and videos now makes me more woozy than I felt when we were actually at the top of the bridge. I know heights and tight spaces are fears for many people, but I'm glad I didn't let anything like that stop me from climbing to the top. I would have missed out on so much!
And that's fear. It's kind of like that statement on car mirrors: Objects may be closer than they appear. When it comes to fear, the reality may not be anything like it appears in your head. The image may be totally distorted, when the reality may be absolutely remarkable.
Take time to analyze whether your fear is rational (so you don't jump out of a plane without a parachute!) or irrational (like me being afraid of a dental appointment). You don't want to miss life-changing opportunities like giving a speech, being interviewed on a podcast, networking, or going Live on Facebook just because of fear. If your fear is irrational, work through it so you don't miss out on something amazing!
Check out this video of our trip to the top of the Mackinac Bridge:
Looking for a supportive community where you can talk about overcoming fear and things like stage fright? You're invited to join us over in our Speaking Society. Click here to join.