I can take no credit for this intriguing title but I’m pretty sure it caught your attention. It comes from an African saying prompting you to face your fears. Author Melissa Haynes learned this expression when she decided to challenge her personal fears and head to Africa to answer an inner calling.

Have you ever had one of those inner calling kind of conversations with yourself where you think it might be a fun thing to do something but your logical brain says hell no, that’s way too over the top, too complicated, too scary, too whatever? And so you stay in the tried and true path of life. Hey and why not it’s a comfortable place.

In Africa, there are animals that can kill you pretty damn quickly, in particular the lion. Fear can be sensed by animals (and humans). This can get you into trouble if you are feeling scared and vulnerable. Melissa was struck with how facing the fear of a lion in the jungle speaks to facing our fears of living a passionate life.  The fear has you feeling like a chicken so you’re frozen from moving forward. In the jungle that will get you killed, in modern life it kills your dreams. So how do you go from feeling like a chicken to thinking like a lion?

Africans say that if you “Learn to Play with the Lion’s Testicles” you are facing your fears, remembering and showing how strong and powerful you are. When you choose change you can let go of fear and answer your life’s calling.    

Last month at an Inspired Victoria speaker night Melissa shared her story with us. She gave us a preview of the talk she will do March 4th in Vancouver at TEDx Stanley ParkHer website gives you an enlightening time line on the TED process, and it is in a word, daunting.

2 stuart-mclean2 face your fearsI wonder if Stuart McLean ever thought about rocking the stage at a TED talk? This beloved and extremely talented Canadian storyteller has recently died leaving so many people (including me) feeling like we’ve lost a very dear friend.

Stuart was a master storyteller with a razor sharp focus on the small things in life.

The Vinyl Café radio show was a place you wanted to drop in, to catch up on the latest bit of news. I always loved its motto “We may not be big but we’re small.”

In my life and work I have found it is the precious moments where the small stories are most poignant, touching a place in our heart. In order to find those moments you need to be ready to listen and that is one thing Stuart was also a master at, listening.

Stuart wrote about fear and shared it in this quote from a story about his (our) favourite character, Dave.

“He considered the hard times in his life. All the things he had been afraid of. All those wasted years, he told himself, because I was terrified of being different. That’s why all us fifty-four-year-olds end up looking so much alike. All of us are terrified of being different”.

I am pretty sure if Stuart had known about this African advice that he would have recommended that Dave learn to play with the lion’s testicles.

For me, starting a new business while already having a successful landscape architectural career certainly felt like a leap into the fear zone. Creating Visual Life Stories to help people tell stories visually has been so rewarding.

We help businesses explain their history or teach their staff. We help people collect their memories and capture their life’s journey. It’s sharing the personal stories that feeds my passion. Do you have stories you want to share but aren’t sure how to tell them? Maybe we can help.

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