QUESTIONS AND TOPICS FOR DISCUSSION
Patty Chang Anker grew up eager to please and afraid to fail. But after thirty-nine years, she decided it was time to stop being a chicken. Motivated initially to become a better role model for her two young daughters, she vowed to face the fears that had taken root like weeds, choking the fun and spontaneity out of life. She learned to dive into a swimming pool, ride a bike, do a handstand, and surf. As she shared her experiences, she discovered that most people suffer from their own secret terrors-of driving, flying, heights, public speaking, and more. It became her mission to help others do what they thought they couldn’t, and to feel for themselves the powerful sense of being alive that is the true reward of becoming brave.
Inspired and inspiring, Some Nerve draws on Anker’s interviews with teachers, therapists, coaches, and clergy to impart both practical advice and profound wisdom. Through her own journey and the stories of dozens of others who have triumphed over common fears, she conveys with humor and infectious exhilaration the most vital lesson of all: Fear isn’t an end point, but the point of entry to a life of incomparable joy.
FEARS INCLUDE: Aging, Becoming Boring, Biking, Breaking bones, Bullies, Chaos, Clutter, Cold, Control (loss of), Crime, Death, Driving, Exercise, Failure, Flying, Heights, Letting go, Looking dumb, Math, Nature (esp. sharks), P.E., Pleasure, Public Speaking, Public toilets, Rejection, Roller coasters, Success, Surfing, Tubing, Unemployment, Unknown, Water, Writing. And Wedgies.
ABOUT PATTY CHANG ANKER
Patty Chang Anker is the author of Some Nerve: Lessons Learned While Becoming Brave (Riverhead 2013), a memoir about facing her fears and helping others to do the same. She is the blogger behind Facing Forty Upside Down, for which she was named a Good Housekeeping Blogger We Love and a Top 25 Funny Mom at Circle of Moms. She writes the “Some Nerve” blog at PsychologyToday.com and her work has also appeared in magazines and websites from Marie Claire to iVillage. When she’s not facing her fears she can be found teaching yoga, publicizing other people’s work, or chasing her daughters across Westchester County.
Regardless of where their respective limits came from (genes, upbringing, fatigue, trauma), people profiled throughout Some Nerve are able to use different techniques to quiet their fears and expand their lives. What shape would you like your comfort zone to take in the future? How will you get there?
Inspiration: “It is not because things are difficult that we do not dare. It is because we do not dare that they are difficult.” -Lucius Annaeus Seneca
In Chapter 2, “Letting Go: Clutter,” Patty discovers her clutter problem is actually a fear of letting go: of sentimental attachments, of past accomplishments, of good intentions (“I’ll finish that/fix that one day”). Neatniks, on the other hand, may fear letting go of control, and put outsize efforts into organizing their environment as a way to feel in charge.
How are your emotional relationships to your belongings and surroundings helping you or hindering you? Do you have a fear of letting go? What do you think that fear protecting you from? What would happen if you let go?
“Love things that love you back.” -Mary Carlomagno, Order
“If you say I can’t, then you won’t. Let’s say, I’ll try.” – Jennifer Paolicelli, Aquabilities with Jennifer
What suggestions given by Patty, Rick Frishman, and Toastmasters can you implement to calm your nerves and enjoy the next time you stand up to speak to a group?
“People know that you’re just human and that $%^ happens.” -Rick Frishman
“Every wobble does not equal a crash. Think of a wobble as a chance to get balanced again.” -Megan, yogini
“The old story saves you from facing the truth.” -Lynn Fuchs, A Woman’s Way Driving School
“In the space between waves. . . we have choices. To jump, to dive, to ride, to play. To face what’s coming without running away.” -Patty Chang Anker
“Whether we fear pain and suffering or not, pain and suffering come to everyone. . . .Why not just keep our mind focused on where we want to go?” -Radhanath Swami
“You’re never going to find perfect balance. Just clap.” -“Joe,” Green Chimneys Clearpool campus ropes guide.