As we get older it’s tempting to play it safe. For women in particular, hitting the menopause is a time when our world’s get smaller and we challenge ourselves less. Anxiety plays a big part, as we start to feel nervous about travelling long distances, meeting new people or trying new things, for example.
Did you know that doing something scary and facing your fears is actually good for you? Whether its something big – like travelling on you own, starting a new career or even bungee jumping – or something that may seem minor to anyone else – driving on a motorway or trying a new hobby – doing the things that we are tempted to say a big flat no to are what make us stronger.
Fear itself is an anticipation or belief that something is likely to cause us pain or anguish. Take driving; it you’ve turned into one of life’s catastrophisers as you’ve got older, you may fear breaking down or being in a car crash. If it’s starting a new job, perhaps you envision being a failure or not being able to cope with the added pressure.
Eleanor Roosevelt is famously attributed with the quote: “You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, ‘I have lived through this. I can take the next thing that comes along.’ You must do the thing you think you cannot do.”
I couldn’t agree more. And in fact I’m living proof of this. Let me share with you … I’m someone in the throes of menopause (thankfully TRT - Testosterone Replacement Therapy - keeps me sane!) and I’m also someone who has enjoyed the safety net of a successful surgical career both in the NHS and private practice. But for many years I have dreamt of launching my own clinic; somewhere I can proudly display my name above the door. And with the support of some great friends, that’s exactly what I have done.
Last month I opened my new Dr Julia Sen Health & Wellness Clinic in Worcester. The decision to do this was huge; I have tackled so many things that are totally out of my comfort zone, from finding the right premises to liaising with builders and electricians. I have had to deal with endless red tape, I have had to make snap decisions and yes there have been tears. But that moment seeing the signs erected – literally seeing my name in lights – has made it all feel worthwhile.
So my advice? Put those big girl (or boy) pants on and do that thing that scares you. No matter how huge or small your challenge is, it will make you feel stronger and more resilient. Fear doesn’t just go away, certainly not with age, but facing it head on helps make your world that little bit bigger again.
Tim Ferris, American entrepreneur and lifestyle guru, sums this up perfectly in his TED Talk; “Fear is your friend. Fear is an indicator. Sometimes it shows you what you shouldn’t do but more often than not it shows you exactly what you should do. And the best results that I’ve had in life, the most enjoyable times, have all been from asking a simple question: What’s the worst that can happen?”