A Haunting We Will Go: Tackling Life’s Spookiest Obstacles
Tis’ the season for all things spooky and sweet! Bulk candy, giant pumpkins, quaint corn mazes, elaborate costumes, and, of course, the return of haunted houses mark the beginning of the Halloween season. And even though haunted houses are designed to terrify, they are somehow still one of the most classic and beloved staples of this holiday. Year after year people pluck up the courage to charge into the dark and take on the ghosts and ghouls that hide there. This got me thinking, why don’t we tackle real challenges in our lives the way that we take on haunted houses?
We all have things in life that we aspire to or that we want to accomplish that scare us. There’s a quote that says, “If your dream doesn’t scare you, it isn’t big enough”. What’s your haunted house? What is that challenge you are faced with that might seem too big, or too intimidating, or too difficult to overcome? It might be a promotion, maybe a big move, or a conflict with someone that you love. It’s important to remember that whatever the challenge, no matter how scared or uncertain you may feel, you have the power within you to make your dreams a reality.
So, how do we get through our haunted houses?
Even though we know that they aren’t real, we’re most afraid of the monsters and demons! Similarly, in our own lives, we often create obstacles that get in the way of our ability to be successful. This happens because we are affected by our past experiences, expectations, and sense of control or influence. It’s so much easier to get through a haunted house when you remember that there are people like you under the masks. And we can get through our own worries and doubts by putting those things in perspective as well. Check your assumptions for validity, be kind to yourself, and create actionable steps that will help you to continue to make progress. In other words, don’t drive yourself batty. Because more often than not, the things that we worry about never come to fruition and we realize that there was nothing to fear after all.
Sometimes, it’s easier to be brave if you have someone that you can grab onto when that werewolf jumps out at you unexpectedly. Just like you might need someone to walk through a haunted house with, you also need a supportive network of people that you can rely on that will help you navigate real life obstacles. These people can help you to define your goals, overcome fears, and take action. Identify people in your life that have helped you in the past, you think would play a good devil’s advocate, or who have knowledge and experiences that would be helpful to you. Think of the ways that you can return that kind of support to them as well!
I actually won’t go in haunted houses because they scare me so much. I am much more comfortable carving pumpkins, eating candy corn, and watching Hocus Pocus. It’s important to be aware of our own comfort zones and to know what situations push us into the ‘danger zone’. In the ‘danger zone’ we can experience stress, anxiety, and fear that is counter productive to our growth. We experience the most growth in what’s called the ‘challenge zone’. This space might not feel as natural as our comfort zone but it’s where we are actively engaged, learning, and developing through our experiences. So, this year, even though I might not venture into a haunted house just yet, I can still take steps that will get me closer – like trying to watch a not-so-scary scary movie with friends (because baby steps). “Life begins at the end of your comfort zone!”
Don’t let fear or uncertainty stop you from dreaming big and taking on challenges. It will be scary, there will be obstacles, and at times you might want to run screaming in the opposite direction, but be present in the experience, enjoy the thrill, stand up to the ghosts and ghouls, and know that you’ll make it through to the other side, stronger than you were before. The things that scare us the most are often the most worthwhile, we just have to be brave enough to try.
Happy Halloween! Creep it real.
This Hallow’s Eve, after all the trick-or-treaters have gone home, identify the situations and experiences that are in your comfort, challenge, and danger zones. Reflect on why you placed each of those things where you did. Then, choose one of the things you placed in your challenge zone that you would like to work on and bring into your comfort zone. Determine three specific action steps that you can take to learn and grow through that experience. Then, go out and do them! Hold yourself accountable to your own development. And last, but not least, have a fang-tastic time!
*Meet the Author*
Caelan Cooney is another Millennial who wants ‘to make an impact’, a self-proclaimed movie critic, avid explorer, lifelong learner, and Chapman University graduate.