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Do One Thing That Scares You

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From travelers who hike for days in dangerous areas to people learning new skills for the first time, doing something that scares us is one way to not only test our own patience, but also our resiliency. Let's push the limit to understand what's possible.

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Stories (6)

  • Jelena Woehr

    So I'm not scared of public speaking at all, but, weirdly enough, I totally AM scared to do it in front of people I know! Strangers? No problem. Coworkers? Eeeeeek. Ended up getting to go accept a DoGooder award for excellence in new media on behalf of GOOD, alongside the fantastic Gabe was with GOOD as far back as the Reason Pictures days. Found out at the last minute that acceptance speeches were part of the deal and spoke totally off the cuff, and my heart was totally pounding knowing that multiple people I work with and know were in the audience.

    It went great! In fact, a GOOD member I didn't even realize was there emailed me this morning to say they liked what I had to say :)

  • Alessandra Rizzotti

    I'm starting to learn how to beekeep. I've never been comfortable around bees, but learning about how important they are to our food system made me realize how I could get involved. I'm now a volunteer and member of Honeylove, which is an organization tryign to legalize urban beekeeping. We're promoting bee rescue: http://magazine.good.is/articles/why-i-nominated-rob-chelsea-mcfarland-for-the-good-100.

    I've helped raise money for Honeylove at a gala and this weekend, I'm educating people at Whole Foods. I've started to get mentored on the field as well. Below you'll see a hive pretty populated by bees with some capped honey!

    Beekeeping takes patience. When I helped transfer an entire colony out of my mom's fence (last picture), we tried to let the rest of the leftover swarm find their way into a temporary hive/swarm box, but they moved on and insects crawled into the temporary habitat. But that happening was awesome. It taught me that nature is always on the move and we can disrupt it or choose to coexist.

  • Bartees Cox

    Well,

    For as outgoing as I’ve always been, it’s always been a little difficult to go out on a limb and try something new with people. I moved around a lot as a kid, so making friends was something I just didn’t do. When we finally stopped moving I was close to 16 or 17. It was hard to adjust to my place in Oklahoma, but like every other city I lived in I was very good at blending in. I basically copied the actions and mirrored the sentiments of my peers for years. Really to the point to where I don’t think i ever really got to know who I was. The outcome of my blending was meeting new people and forging meaningful relationships. But they were built on shaky ground, faulty towers, backslidden buildings etc.

    College came around and I got a scholarship to play football at a university. I ended up quitting on account of injuries and other things. Moved back home and started over. That was the scariest thing I ever had to do at that point, but that's not what this write up will be about.

    Fast forward. After many relationships with people, including romantic, I had the hardest time being honest with them about who I am. not because i didn't want to, but more so because I wanted them to just like me. I I just never thought people would be totally down for the real me.

    I live in DC now, I have a fun job, life is great, I have an apartment that's modest but something I'm very proud of. but the problem still remains, being myself, making connections, and fully opening up. Then I met a person that made me feel like myself. It was like a key that opened the door to who I really was.

    I know that's hella corny, and super awkward, but it was and still is terrifying for me to be myself around her. Play the songs I like, go to places I enjoy, let her listen to my beats, dress the way I do, talk about Oklahoma, which is where I'm from. But somehow she was OK with that. She'd let me go on for hours. Talking about why buffaloes mean so much to me, and why net neutrality is such a big deal, or the reasons why Braid is the best band that ever came out of Chicago. Because seriously, Braid is monstrously gorgeous in too many ways. Have you not heard age of Octeen?

    I haven't known her long. But she helped me face the thing that scares me the most, myself. And thanks to her I've realized that I'm not that bad. 'Preciate ya for real.

  • Morf Morford

    One time I took a group of people in the drug rehab program to the local zoo. Most of our group had been to prison – some for years. Most were felons. Most of the women had been prostitutes as well as addicts. Most of them had been homeless, had lengthy criminal records and had, as a group, used virtually every drug; heroin, meth, crack cocaine – and had used every deception, scam or theft to acquire their drug. In short, they had been desperate in ways – and to a degree most of us could never imagine. If you think a hungry man will commit extreme acts for food to keep from starving, an addict will commit acts a hundred times more extreme. There are few acts an addict will not do.
    And yet, few of these former addicts had ever been to a zoo.
    One of these people, a woman in her mid-forties couldn’t contain her excitement as we walked into sight of the resident animals. She shrieked and ran from exhibit to exhibit. Until she saw the elephants. We happened to catch the trainer as he was giving a little question and answer time. This woman had endless, little kid type questions about how elephants ate, slept, how they lived and where they came from.
    We could hardly pull her away.
    But once we did, she shrieked and ran from exhibit to exhibit all over again. She was like an eight year old – she wanted to see everything. And in the petting zoo, she had to touch every animal. It was as if she was trying to reclaim some semblance of a normal childhood. She became frantic, perhaps even obsessive as she moved among the actual children and the petting zoo animals. She reached out to every duck, goat, lamb and whatever else there was that day.
    As her excitement peaked, I was feeling more and more sad. I suddenly saw, in a tangible sense, her desperate hunger for companionship, belonging, connection – with anything – anyone. I couldn’t imagine what a horrific vacuum her childhood must have been.
    This woman, who had been a prostitute for many years, had a loneliness, an emptiness of such immensity that I could see it, like a gloomy possessive presence over her. She had what we had come to call “man hunger” – and each man in her life had, with her assistance, dug her ever deeper into her own version of hell.
    She, and who knows how many men, had spent years, decades perhaps, creating this vast weight of emptiness that hovered over her like an eternal, impenetrable darkness.
    When it was finally time to leave, I drove the van, and she sat in the back, like an exhausted child. She slept most of the way back.

  • Celeste Hamilton Dennis

    I never wanted to play the drums. At least, I never knew I wanted to play the drums. I realized this late last year when I began noticing I was increasingly fixated on the drummer with every band I saw. There I was, trying to copy the drum patterns with my fingers at each show. I knew I had to try it out.

    Then an opportunity presented itself: a ladies only weekend-long workshop by the awesome women who run Girls Rock Camp here in Portland, Oregon. I had volunteered with them a few summers ago and was already enamored, but what was even cooler about Ladies Rock Camp (LRC) was that my tuition would paid for a girl’s that summer. So I signed up. And immediately started panicking. Could I really learn the drums in one weekend? Form a band with random strangers and write a song together? And then play a show at Mississippi Studios in front of actual people?

    The November weekend arrived soon enough. I picked up the drum sticks that first day and shook slightly. The four of us beginners in the basement started to hit our drums - awkwardly at first but by the end of the day we were in unison and on beat. Slowly, I got the hang of it. And slowly, I started to feel less afraid. There were many of us in that same boat that weekend, women who’d never before picked up an instrument. The shared fear and vulnerability was empowering. Exciting, even. Full of karaoke, epic band rehearsals, and good conversation, the weekend flew by.

    The day of the show, I donned make-up I don’t normally wear, dressed my daughter up in the most ridiculous toddler rock show outfit I could think of, and told friends last minute what I was doing. I got on stage and together with my band, rocked the song we had written together. Our fear had transformed into art. And now I’m hooked. If you know of a good, affordable beginner’s drum kit, let me know.

  • Alessandra Rizzotti

    I recently ran/walked a 5K marathon after falling off a cliff in 2008. Although my ankles couldn't handle a complete run, it was exhilarating being with a huge group of people who had one goal in mind to cross the finish line. I've always been afraid of running, but the support of the crowd helped open me up. I appreciate that my GOOD co-workers were there also. It helped raise some morale with our team. I'm probably going to try another marathon soon!