I have a terrible fear of heights…more of a phobia because it is more than just fear or dislike. I’ve never shared this because this isn’t something that I am proud of. If I am being completely honest, I’m embarrassed about it.
When I got to college I decided that I didn’t want to live in fear anymore. I wanted to start living the life I dreamed of so I began rock climbing. The first time I attempted this sport I climbed to the top of a boulder and didn’t want to come down. My friends yelled up and described how to get down, but then I said no I can’t even look because I’m terrified of heights… they all broke out in laughter. I recall not caring much that everyone thought it was funny. I had an adrenaline rush and shortly after somehow gained to courage to climb down. I was ecstatic! It goes down in my book as a pretty big win. I knew my fear of heights wasn’t cured, but I continued to rock climb, got better, and ultimately felt a little safer.
A few months ago I was given the opportunity to photograph an engagement session on the helipad of the U.S. Bank Building in Downtown Los Angeles. When the bride to be first told me of her plans I was so exited! I thought, WOW a helipad in Los Angeles?!?! HECK YES! Then after a few weeks and the brainstorming began it hit me like a ton of bricks… I am going to be shooting on the TALLEST building west of Chicago, Illinois. I felt sick and I almost backed out of doing it. I didn’t think I would be able to get through it. I imagined I would be kneeling down, holding on to the ground, too scared to stand up. My family tried to talk me out of it as well, but I felt an obligation to my clients and I knew that an opportunity like this doesn’t come around often so I followed through.
If you have ever been to the Empire State Building or the Willis (Sears) Tower you know that to get to the top you have to go up at least two separate elevators. The U.S. Bank building wasn’t any different. When we got to the roof we had to climb some cold metal stairs to the actual helipad. My heart has never raced so fast… Once I was on top of the building I closed my eyes, took a huge deep breath, and opened my eyes.
It felt AMAZING. I was on top of the city I love and living out my dream as a photographer.
I wanted to share this story with you because if I would have let my fear get in the way then I would have missed out on an incredible experience, opportunity, and an epic view. This experience taught me that success doesn’t come from playing safe or staying in my comfort zone. It comes from facing my fears and taking risks.
You can’t be afraid to fall…Don’t let your fear of failing, embarrassment, or not being good enough ever get in the way of your success. In the words of my Nana, “You can do anything you put your mind to.”