As an ex-soldier, ex-boxer, and practicing mountaineer, fear is something I’ve come across, and overcome, many times in my life.

There were four of us and our instructor huddled together in the back of a small Cessna Light Aircraft as it started to circle and climb above the airfield. “500ft,” the instructor called out to let us know what altitude we were at.

We were supposed to be familiarizing ourselves with how things looked on the ground but I was terrified. It was all I could do not to close my eyes and keep them tightly shut. The aircraft continued to circle and climb.

The instructor kept us informed of the height every 500ft until we reached our target altitude of 3,000ft. This is where we were all expected, one at a time and when told to do so, to jump out of the aircraft. I’ll tell you how that worked out for me later…

Fear, the very emotion which exists to keep us safe, can also be overpowering and lead to irrational thoughts and actions. Indeed at some point in everyone’s life, fear in some form or another needs to be overcome before we can reach a goal or live our finest lives.

As an ex-soldier, ex-boxer, and practicing mountaineer, fear is something I’ve come across, and overcome, many times in my life. I’ve learned several different ways to overcome it, some or all of which can be brought into any situation, and it’s enabled me to change my life for the better.

The tokens of fear conquered are everywhere for me to see. My boxing trophies, mostly from my childhood, take pride of place in my mum’s living room. On the dressing table in the hall of my flat is my General Services Medal from my time in active service and a picture of Everest taken from over 20,000ft hangs above the fireplace in my living room.

I would not go so far as to say that the techniques discussed in this post would cure actual phobias. Where they may help in such circumstances, I feel phobias are a different level of fear and one which would need to be addressed separately. In this post, I look at several times in my life when I had to face up to my fears and what I was able to bring to bear in order to conquer them.

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