Saying Yes To Fear

Kelly Roberts

Fear. Four letters that wreak havoc on my life. It wasn't until I ran my first marathon that I realized my overwhelming fears of loss, failure, and rejection were controlling my life. I was too afraid to take a step into uncharted territories after I graduated from college. I was too afraid to let myself be vulnerable and open about what I had gone through with the loss of my brother. I was terrified of being judged for my weight gain and eventual weight loss. And I was petrified about trusting anyone with my heart. The fears and insecurities were exhausting. I felt like I was running in circles and I couldn't tell which way was up or forward so instead of fighting, I gave in and immediately realized that I was the only thing standing in my way. So I started embracing fear instead of pretending like it wasn't there. When fear arose, I stopped jumping to worst case scenarios, what if's, or every single possible negative outcome and decided to trust that I would figure it out. My life changed.

Fear is like a giant mountain that we often convince ourselves we aren't capable of climbing. “I don’t have time” we tell ourselves, “I could never do that”. “The timing isn’t right", “It’s not worth it”, "I'll look stupid", or "what if I only make it half-way and have to give up?" Don't let your fears ever stop you from trying. What do you have to lose? Will you die of shame if you don’t end up finishing? Will you break and shatter into a million pieces if you give something everything you have and then fall short? No. The only way you'll fail is if you fail to try.

This past Sunday, while filming my daily vlog, I asked my community on Instagram if they had any questions for my sister Samantha. Someone asked her what my most embarrassing moment was and we both struggled to come up with an answer.

In hindsight, I wish I would have said that every single time I doubt or have doubted myself are my most embarrassing moments. You see, it's not that I don't have embarrassing moments, it's just that I've worked really hard to remove the shame from those moments because I believe that embarrassment comes from shame. Instead of trying to hide my embarrassment or forget that something happened, I put it on blast and talk about it because more likely than not, someone else is going through the exact same thing as me. And having that connection and shared experience reminds me that I have nothing to be embarrassed or ashamed about. Sh*t happens and you learn from it, laugh about it, and then you move on.

Terrible and awful things happen everyday and tomorrow is never promised. If there is one thing I've learned, it's that life can change in the blink of an eye. Time is a precious gift that's wasted if you let fear dictate your choices. Every time you hear yourself say, “let’s get this over with,” ask yourself why you are doing whatever it is you're doing. Check in with your life! Ask yourself if you're happy, satisfied fulfilled, and challenged. Are you doing everything you can to be the strongest you possible? Are you giving more than you're receiving? Ask yourself these questions whenever you feel yourself giving in to fear.

Sometimes you have to listen to the hairs that stick up on the back of your neck. But more often than not, fear is a cue that you need to defy reason and take a leap of faith. You're never going to have things figured out. Playing it safe will do nothing but hurt you. That's just the way life works, you don't get to be comfortable for long. 

After I crossed the finish line of my first marathon, I promised myself that I was going to at least attempt anything that felt impossible. I decided that I was going to wear my heart on my sleeve and live as vulnerably and honestly as possible regardless of the very real possibility of loss and failure. Today I still find myself giving in to doubts or staring down fear and insecurities. I'm not perfect but instead of pretending like they aren't there, I'm trying to run towards them.

Fear shows you exactly what you should do, so pay attention when it pops up. Throw right and wrong out the window and ask yourself what do you actually have to lose? Lean into that discomfort and put your heart and soul on the line. Dare to fail, dare to lose and never be afraid to ask for help. Until next time, #RunSelfieRepeat.

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Kelly Roberts

It all started when a silly joke made headlines back in 2014 when I took selfies with hot guys “hottie hunting” my way through the New York City Half Marathon. But ironically enough, I haven't always been a runner. As the self-proclaimed former President of the "I f*cking hate running club", I spent most of my life finding ways to avoid physical activity. Growing up, I missed over 70 days of PE my senior year. Working out was something I thought I had to suffer through in order to lose weight. 

Then, in 2009, my younger brother passed away unexpectedly and struggling to manage my grief, I gained more than 75 pounds. With the weight gain came a new fight to regain my sense of self and learn to love the body I saw when I looked in the mirror. Then one Thanksgiving morning, drowning in grief and self doubt, I decided to go for a run. I didn't make it half way down my street before I had to stop to walk but for some reason, struggling forward made more sense than getting back into bed. It turns out that running is a lot like grief, neither ever really get easier, you just get stronger. 

Over time, I realized that while some people are in fact born runners, others are made. I created this blog Run, Selfie, Repeat and my new podcast by the same name with the hopes to inspire others to say yes to themselves while making them laugh hysterically because laughing, in my opinion, is the solution to everything. 

Named by Women's Running as one of twenty women who are changing the sport of running and by Competitor Magazine as one of 12 Influential and inspiring runners under 30, my mission is to inspire others to get embrace a healthy lifestyle and pursue the strongest version of themselves possible.