I stumbled across this quote by Rosa Parks that I love, love, love:
I have learned over the years that when one's mind is made up, this diminishes fear; knowing what must be done does away with fear.
Although I have certainly been afraid, I don't think I have felt true fear at work where my blood stops cold and I'm unable to move. I have, however, been in situations where the 'holy sh*t' pucker factor came into play. I have experienced that fight or flight response where my body just kicks into high gear and does what it has to do to get me through a call and time moves at warp speed but also stands still. Coming off the high of adrenaline rushes, I have had the shakes so bad in my arms and legs that I could barely drive the truck back to the station. The jolt of the alarm bells waking me in the middle of the night would leave me slightly nauseated because my body would be in shock from sleep state to warp speed emergency mode. And I didn't sleep for three nights straight after a particularly sad and devastating call. I think I was more affected by my work in my rookie years simply because my body and my brain were figuring out how to adapt to these new situations. As I gained more experience over the years, what used to shake me up doesn't make me blink twice these days. The human mind and body are amazing... put them into states of duress and they will find a way to get stronger. Where my initial years were about proving myself outwardly (as in trying to prove to everyone that I was good enough, strong enough... that I belonged), these days it's about improving myself inwardly (through self-reflection and self-actualization). It's nice getting to that place of knowing.... knowing who I am and just allowing me to be exactly what I am in this moment and not being so hard on myself when I think I'm coming up short. It's so simple and true... the biggest fears and challenges are in fact all in our heads... once we realize that there is no monster under the bed, we can set the bar a little higher each day.