Life Coaching Tip: As humans, we often allow fear to stand in the way of doing the things that will bring us joy. And to add insult to injury, the fear is typically about a narrative we’ve created that isn’t even true! This story is a reminder that you always have a choice about what you focus on. You can focus on the scary things in the world that you can’t control, or you can focus on the things in life that bring you pleasure and fulfillment. My friend, I encourage you to choose the latter!
I didn’t grow up in the country, so when my family and I moved to a rural area several years ago, I was amazed by the stunning sights and sounds of our new environment.
When I looked out my kitchen window, the horses playing in the field across the street delighted me. And the vast sky view on a clear night was just breathtaking!
I also remember cracking up the first time I saw a family of turkeys cross the road. The little ones were just mini replicas of their parents, waddling and gobbling all in a row.
And, of course, my morning walks by the lake surrounded by expansive natural land bursting with abundant wildlife was just another great perk of living further away from the city.
My enthusiasm for nature came to a screeching halt, however, the first time I saw a coyote getting a drink from the lake early one morning!
I was walking my dog who was a puppy back then, and we stopped at the top of a cliff to enjoy the beautiful view. As we looked down at the beach, the coyote turned its enormous head and made eye contact with me. This was my first coyote encounter—and it was much bigger and more intimidating than I could imagine!
I freaked out, quickly scooped up my puppy, and hightailed it to the car!
It took me a few weeks to return to my morning walks at the park. However, a discussion with a park ranger finally calmed my worries. He said coyotes are timid loners who have no interest in attacking people.
That thought reassured me. I decided to believe that most likely there was only that one coyote in the area and it had moved along. With time, I rarely thought about coyotes anymore.
Until one evening. When walking with my husband, Jerry, and daughter, Marissa, in a part of the Lake Erie Bluffs that was being newly developed as park land, we heard an ambulance sound in the distance.
The sirens wailed on for quite a while, long enough for me to really listen. When I tuned in more carefully, the sirens began to sound like coyotes—lots of them!
No, I thought. It’s an ambulance.
Then, Nope, it sure does sound like coyotes.
It was at about that time when Marissa whipped around and shouted, “Oh no! It’s coyotes!”
And my daughter, who was a collegiate cross-country runner at the time, left us in her dust as she sprinted for the car!
I was in the midst of recovering from a tendon injury, so I handed our pup to Jerry and told him to save himself as I hobbled behind all of them.
I could hear the coyotes getting louder and louder as I made my way to the car. There were lots of them, and it sounded as though they were chasing prey that was heading in our direction.
Well, obviously we all made it back to the car alive, but, geez, it was scary! That park ranger was a big, fat liar! There were plenty of coyotes out there and they did not sound timid at all!
Since that evening, I’ve had several similar reminders from Mother Earth that scores of coyotes reside in the area, especially after an ambulance siren sounded on the nearby road. For a long while, this resulted in a short break from my favorite morning routine until I could regain the courage again to go walking.
Then one morning, when I was the only human in the park and deep into my walk, I heard the faint sound of an ambulance in the distance.
Noooooo, I thought. I don’t want to know how many coyotes are here today!
But despite my plea, the coyote chorus began. And there were lots of them!
I was amazed at how many directions their howls were coming from. They were in the woods all around me!
My typical reaction was to run, but this time, I took a moment to reflect rather than let my emotions take over. The obvious then occurred to me . . . .
The coyotes didn’t just appear when the ambulance siren sounded. They were there all along—and not just on that day—but every day. I imagined they watched me walk by on most days, peering out from their dens, afraid and hoping that I wouldn’t see them.
I had let my fear create a ridiculous story that had at times kept me from doing one of the activities that I truly enjoyed-walking in nature!
I smiled to myself and was finally able to release my fear and appreciate the magnificent songs sung by these shy, beautiful creatures.
Later, when I reflected on this situation, I thought about how often we humans allow fear to stand in the way of doing the things that bring us joy. And the fear is typically about a narrative we’ve created that isn’t even true in the first place!
We all have a choice about what we focus on.
We can focus on the fact that there are frightening things in the world that we have no control over, or we can focus on the things in life that bring us pleasure and fulfillment.
I’m wondering, what coyote-type stories are you scaring yourself with?
If fear is holding you back, I encourage you to challenge it.
What is your fear costing you?
What are the facts?
What part is a story that you created about what “might” happen?
Here’s the good news . . . .
Worrying is just visualizing the manifestation of your fears.
If you’re going to think about the things that can go wrong, give equal attention to everything that can go right!
Visualize the actualization of your dreams and see what happens.
I promise, my friend, it will be worth the effort.
And here’s better news . . . .
On the other side of your fear is where the delicious part of life lives!