The Wall of Fear


A few weeks ago I had the amazing opportunity to act as a mentor to a group of five teenagers with varying abilities as they learnt to scuba dive in the Cayman Islands.


You might be tempted to think, as I was, that the bigger challenges in learning to dive for these kids would be mostly around physical limitations. After all, we had participants missing limbs, spinal cord injuries and Cerebral Palsy.

But here’s the thing:
The number one challenge that came up was the same challenge pretty much everyone who learns to dive faces: Learning to clear your mask underwater.

That’s right.
It wasn’t learning to swim using just your arms, or one leg; one arm…
It was facing the fear that comes with stepping way outside your comfort zone in not just trusting the equipment that lets you breathe underwater; but to then let your mask fill up with water at the same time…

In a nutshell; breaking through the wall of fear.

That’s the challenge for all of us, isn’t it?
Isn’t that what stops us doing what we want to do?

The next time you find yourself facing that wall of fear, have a think about this:

Over breakfast one morning, Amanda, a fifteen-year-old born with Cerebral Palsy (CP), said something that stopped me in my tracks.

She’d just mastered how to scuba dive without the full use of her right arm or right leg, and said casually to one of her dive buddies:

“My CP isn’t that bad really” …

Kind of lowers that wall a little, doesn’t it?

How you see really is what you get.


The group I was working with is called Stay Focused.

Learn more about the amazing work they do at:

Archived Comments


  1. Carl Scott says:

    August 31, 2016 at 12:24 am

    Hi Warren,

    You are busy. That in itself, doing things you love motivates. It has me thinking about what I am doing that I love.

    Best to you,
    Carl Scott


    • Warren Macdonald says:

      August 31, 2016 at 1:37 pm

      Exactly, the action inspires the action… A great question we can all ask ourselves: “What am I doing that I love?”
      Thanks Carl for popping in 


  2. Debra Peeples says:

    September 6, 2016 at 6:33 pm

    I really enjoyed hearing the story about your “stop in your track moment” with the young 15 year old with CP. What a revelation for her in overcoming her fear of swimming!
    Such a reminder to us adults to learn to lower our sometimes ever growing walls of fear.
    My greatest fear is in not being able to accomplish all I strive to achieve.


    • Warren Macdonald says:

      September 7, 2016 at 2:04 pm

      Thanks Debra for stopping by  You got me thinking about this in terms of our project. I think the higher we aspire to go, the higher the wall of fear. It has to be that way, otherwise there would be no struggle and life would be too easy; we’d become complacent. But a wall is a wall, whether it’s 4′ tall of 40′; there is a way over, or under, or through…