My heart was pounding out of my chest.
I couldn’t get enough air into my lungs.
A small wave of panic rolled in every time I look skywards to the distant summit.
Of course, I was never in any real danger. It was just my mind…messing with me…as it so often loves to do. The scenario I’m describing above was just this past weekend as my husband and I hiked up Mount Sanitas in Boulder. I’m a flatlander, you see. A native West Texan – home of the flat, brown and ugly landscape.A friend of ours had told us to try out the Mount Sanitas hike. “The locals do it on their lunch break,” she said. But then she also added that the first time she had tried it right after she’d moved here a few months ago, she thought that she (and her dog) were going to die.Of course, Rob and I were undaunted. We’d just completed a hike up to Lost Lake the day before that was at way higher elevation. I don’t we doubted for a second that we’d handle it no problem.What we did not realize is that there was, as in life, more than one way to get to the top. Of course, we chose the steepest. And quickly found ourselves in what was essentially a mile long, rocky stair case up the side of a mountain.I repeat. I thought I was going to die. My heart was pounding and I was gasping for air. Both of which sent warning signals to my brain, which replied: “DANGER. DANGER. Cease what you are doing immediately. Turn around and go back to the safety of your car. Are you crazy? You are too old for this!”This is brain’s job, you see: to tell us stories that are designed to keep us safe. Sometimes, however, the brain lies. Or maybe it’s better to say that it exaggerates the truth substantially and often beyond all reason. But all in the name of keeping us safe.I was never in any real, physical danger. I had plenty of water and took lots of breaks to adjust to the rise in altitude. Since I KNEW all of this to be true, then it was up to ME (as opposed to my brain, which are two separate things) to tell the brain to relax. We were going up the mountain. Come hell or high water.I could have let my brain stop me. But I didn’t. Because I wanted to climb to the top of the mountain more. Because I didn’t want to let my husband down. Because I knew, that despite what my brain was trying to tell me, I knew there was no real danger. No one was going to die.This pretty much describes exactly what I went through when I quit my corporate job. And it’s what keeps most folks from ever getting out of the car/cubicle/corner office every day. Fear. Lies. The brain trying to do it’s duty and keep us safe at all costs. Even when that “safety” is sucking the life out of us and making us feel like we are wasting away our lives, our potential…our dreams.Anyone who has ever walked away from security for the sake of their passion has had this conversation with themselves. Their brain told them that it was too risky. They had too many responsibilities. They were too old and had too many people that depended on them.But that’s just the brain talking. The brain that tells you the whopper that you will die during a one mile hike up a mountain, is the same brain that tries to convince you that terrible, terrible things will happen if you quit job.I can promise you this: No one is going to die. I mean, we all will eventually, of course, but all the more reason to get off your butt now and take that big risk. Quit your job. Find your True Calling. Make manifest the life of your dreams. Be Bold. Be Beautiful. Be Badass. Or Die Trying. Because how else would you rather die? In a cubicle? Or at the top of the mountain? I’ve already made my choice. What’s yours?