My body was betraying me.
Even just writing this, and remembering, my fingers are tingling with shooting adrenaline pains, and my palms are sweating.
But that’s okay — you can’t fall off a laptop.
Back then, though, 30 feet up a sheer cliff face, clinging on with all the strength in my fingers, sweaty hands were the last thing I needed.
Yeah, thanks body. You fuckwit.
I was rock climbing with Joe and I had never been so frightened in my life. I mean real, visceral, blind panic.
The world had shrunk down to the rock face in front of me, and the 30 foot drop onto more rocks below.
I’d forgotten about my rope.
I’d forgotten about my belayer.
All I could think was that I was going to fall and I was going to die.
All I could see was my white-hot ball of panic, blotting out everything else.
All I could hear was my own brain screaming at me that this was wrong.
Panic got in the way of my plan — which was simple really. Climb the last few feet to the top of the cliff and don’t fucking die.
The climb wasn’t even that difficult — but panic had warped everything. Distances were stretched, strength was misjudged, and time was distorted.
Because that’s what fear does.
It eats your sanity, bite by bite, and swallows you whole.
Fear takes away your ability to see what comes after. It creates a lower circle of hell in which you thrash around like a fish caught in a net. Round and round. No way out.
That kind of fear will devour your business, if you let it.
The fear that you have a big tax bill to pay, that’ll clean your account out.
The fear that you’ve just lost a big client, and have to find another one — pronto.
The fear that you’ll be stuck in this cycle of bullshit feast and famine for yet another year.
It consumes you, so you can’t see clearly. Your plans — such as they were — go to pot. And your brain spins madly.
It’s a natural reaction: fight or flight.
And it’s useless to you right now.
What you know you need to do is take a step back and look at the bigger picture.
Find your way out of the jungle of panic.
But how the good holy fuck do you do that?
Find a machete.
Cut a path through the panic.
I will be your machete. Just take my hand and follow me:
Vicky Fraser is a copywriter, author, and entrepreneur. She really did run away with the circus… but when she’s not swinging from a trapeze, she’s showing other copywriters and small business owners how to work with better clients, make more money, and stop missing bathtimes, first words, and dinners with angry partners. In fact, she wrote the book on it. Get your copy here.