Fear: it can hold you back or propel you to follow your dreams

In a natural environment how to get over fear

“Never let the fear of striking out get in your way.” —Babe Ruth

December and January have always been the most exciting months of the year for me growing up. That scent of sunscreen and hot summer nights remind me of the incredible days I spent on the north coast of São Paulo. I was born and raised in the largest city in Latin America, surrounded by tall buildings and paved streets, a jungle of stones. The summer holidays for me were synonymous with the beach.

São Paulo is about 100km from the coast and going to the beach was something that only happened during school holidays. No one in my family lived on the coast or had a summer house. My parents don’t own a boat and have never practised surfing or fishing. The closest to marine life my father came was working at a fish stall, for example. Even though it was not something that was part of my routine, the sea always fascinated me. That immensity of water with incredible force moves me in a way that I can not put into words.

I have worked in a team that built solar boats, I lived on an island for 5 years, tried to surf many times but I have to confess that I am afraid of the sea. But, Gabriela, what do you mean? It is something that psychology might be able to explain. I love and want to live near the ocean, but I’m afraid to surf or sail, for example.

Solar boat competition in Brazil
Solar boat competition in Brazil

After finishing college in Brazil, I decided to pack up and move to Australia. Not content with the change of continent, I decided to do something different and went to live on a sailboat. Yes, I live on a boat. My idea is to reconcile my career in digital marketing management with life on the water. And who knows, maybe a sailing trip around the world eventually. #dreamsarefree

However, on my first outing in the open water, I felt terrified. So much fear that I could not even have fun. Returning to Brisbane, where the boat is moored, I began to reflect on this mix of fear and passion that I have for the sea. I came to the conclusion that I have two options: either I give up living what I have always dreamed of, or I challenge myself to overcome it.

I cannot change what I feel. But I have the power to decide what to do with it. So the fear of new challenges can lead you two ways: either it blocks you from living your dream, or it pushes you toward what you are looking for. When I see my boat (and my house), tilting at 45 degrees while speeding through the water, instinctively my will was to give up and return to the marina. But if I love the sea so much, I have to get over it and follow my heart.

What do you do to overcome fearful situations? Share your story with me here in the comments! I’m curious to hear about it !!!

Gabriela Damaceno
Gabriela Damaceno

Gabriela is a journalist and the publisher at Vitamin Sea. She’s passionate about the ocean and sharing inspiring stories.

Find me on: Instagram


  1. July 17, 2018 / 09:27

    A great blog – and a wonderful thing to share. We all forget that while we are drowning in our own fears, others are usually going through the same thing!

    There’s a free short-story writing competition (with prize money) on just this, open for entrants right now: https://www.sistershipmagazine.com/writing-competition/

  2. Kate
    July 17, 2018 / 11:30

    Hi Gabriela
    I live with anxiety, but push everyday to extend myself into the dark unknown. My advice is there is no one panacea, rather you need to find the range of things that will help you and thereafter it is a series of little steps. I keep myself in good psychological health and plan my adventures with care. My anxiety journal is a useful reminder of how I am slowly progressing through the various things that frighten me. The path is very individual, by understanding what frightens you, you can set out a plan to take on small components of each activity and develop skills in coping with the fear. Start small and build, but remember you are not alone, this journey is something many of us have experienced. Kate

    • Gabriela Damaceno
      July 18, 2018 / 08:47

      Hey Kate, thanks for sharing your experience with it. Yeah, step by step is the key. And know that I am not the only one takes massive guilt from my back.

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