The purpose of Beyond the Fear is to share five invaluable lessons, or principles, that I have come to learn throughout my life. These principles have shaped a perspective on life that has made me happier and healthier, and which has armed me with the tools I need to help others gain a healthy perspective of their own. Along with Tara May, my partner in blog posting/book writing crime, I will be posting weekly entries on subjects that relate to these five principles. You can navigate the site by going to the Home page and reading through our most recent blog posts, or by going directly to a specific topic by selecting from the list of categories.
In addition to the Beyond the Fear site, Tara and I are working on a book that will not only tell my story and how I came to learn these five invaluable lessons, but also provide you with the tools to apply these lessons in your own life. Visit the Book page for more information about the book and when it will be available.
I hope that this site and its content will prove to be an inspiration to all of you. Please feel free to add your comments to any of our posts or send us an email if you have questions or just want to chat. We welcome any and all feedback and would love to hear any stories that you would like to share as well.
For now, here are the five principles we are talking about at Beyond the Fear:
- Fear Happens. None of us is immune to fear, and most of us are powerless to control it. We all experience fear, despite our best efforts to be strong and brave. I've had my share of fear: when I was 13, broke my wrist, and faced the possibility of not getting into the high school I desperately wanted to go to; when I was still in school and took an internship that involved going door-to-door within a war-torn region of Guatemala; when my marriage ended; when I fought a brain tumor, and survived it—twice; when I stepped over the starting line, 100 grueling miles stretching before me as I embarked on my first ultramarathon. Fear plays a part in all of our lives, and it is a constant contender. We can't control it, but we can control how we respond to it, how we let if affect our lives, and the lessons we learn from it.
- Change Happens. We're not always ready for it and, much of the time, we avoid it at all costs. Change is scary. Routine and security is comforting. We can all offer up countless reasons why change is a bad idea; why we should just keep things the way they are. If it isn't broken, why fix it, right? Leave well enough alone. But that's when we stop growing and moving forward. There has been a lot of change in my life: when I was 18, I moved from a small town in Guatemala to a bustling city in the United States. I used to spend my days working in an office and now I spend them running two of my own businesses. I used to be a vegetarian and now I eat meat. Some changes are small, almost unnoticeable, while other changes are big and have huge impacts on our lives. Welcome change, embrace it. Let it be the catalyst that continues to move you forward.
- You Are Stronger Than You Think You Are. Most of us live within our own personal realm of possibilities. We impose limits on ourselves, even if we don't know it. Rather than challenging these limits as we go through life, we abide by them. Sometimes—and usually not by choice—we are forced outside our limits and given an opportunity to test our strength. It is then that we usually surprise ourselves by how much we are capable of. I never thought I'd run further than a full marathon until I made a wrong turn and ended up running 36 miles by accident. Test your limits. Take risks. Step outside your comfort zone and see where it takes you.
- You Don't Have To Do It Alone. Humans are social animals by nature, but many of us refuse to let others in, afraid that it may show weakness or need. We hide behind our tough exteriors and defensive arrogance. But letting others in can provide us with guidance, clarity, and direction. We need to build meaningful relationships, and find the people who will help us reach our goals; in turn, we will help them reach theirs. Running is a singularly lonely sport, especially if you are doing it for 100 miles. You might start out running with a thousand other people, but eventually, you have only yourself to contend with, and your own steady breath and stream of thoughts to keep you company. Even so, running ultras has led me to some of my strongest friendships--pacers, competitors, mentors. These are the ties that give us strength, and help us get to where we want to be.
- Find Your Passion. A lot of people are talking about this right now, and it's a great thing. People are starting to pay attention to what gives them energy and meaning. Everyone has something that drives them; many of us have more than one thing. Too often, we ignore these things and carry on with whatever it is that earns us a lot of money or that others expect us to do. It doesn't matter what it is, or what you decide to do with it, so long as you give it the attention it deserves. Running is my passion, especially competing in endurance events. It has given me confidence, strength—both physical and mental—and a positive outlook on life. Find your passion. Believe in it and give it life. It is the core of who you are meant to be.
And a little about us:
Luis Velasquez, the quintessential multi-tasker, research scientist, international business consultant and entrepreneur. He is an endurance runner, brain tumor survivor, and the most optimistic person in the world.
Tara May is a freelance writer and editor. She writes and edits for BeyondTheFear.com and GrowingPages.com, as well as does editing for VelasConsulting.com. Tara also writes occasional articles for Medium. Her latest project is a memoir/guide she is compiling with and about Luis Velasquez that will be published this year.