One of my toughest fears to conquer was the fear of heights. For as long as I can remember, I have been petrified when I was in high places. It did not matter if I was on a ladder, a rooftop, or even inside a tall building. Yes, I said that, even INSIDE a tall building! For more years than I can remember, I would avoid anything that would put me in a high place. At amusement parks, I would declare, “Oh, I just don’t feel like riding that” or “I am not feeling too well now so I will have to sit this one out.” A different day brought up a different excuse.

When I was about 12 years old, I went to Six Flags over Texas in Arlington. I must have forgotten my fear of heights because I decided it would be cool to go to the top of the tower so I could see out for miles. On the way to the top, my fears took hold of me. As soon as I got on the elevator, I could barely stand up. They closed the doors, and I realized that the elevator was not glassed in. “Ok, I’m about to die!”was all that was on my mind. As it ascended towards the top, my heart and breathing took on critical status. We finally made it to the top, and I was so grateful that it stopped that I stepped out of it. Bad idea! My first steps had my knees buckling, and I knew I needed to get to ground level as soon as possible. The elevator was already on the way down so I thought I would just take the stairs down. It couldn’t be any worse than the elevator, even though it would take longer. You know, once you have one bad idea it seems that you are presented with another one that is even worse. I went down one flight of steps, and then it happened. I looked down and saw the open gap between the steps that allowed me to see all the way to the ground! I immediately stopped and crawled back up the one floor to await the elevator.

When the elevator arrived, I got on and closed my eyes and waited for the wind to blow the elevator off its track. I did make it out alive, but I swore never to do that again. I did nothing to address the fear of heights over the next 28 years. What is interesting is that when you do not address your fears, one of two things is destined to occur, and sometimes both do. They will get more intense, and/or you will develop more fears. For me, my fear of heights took the first option; it became more intense the longer I avoided addressing the fear. For years, I simply avoided anything that was high off the ground. It was so bad at one time that simply watching someone else high off the ground on the television made me anxious enough to sweat.

Fast forward about 18 years when I was 30 and enter what I like to call the Sears Tower of Terror. I was on a vacation in Chicago with my lovely wife. She was dead set on us going to the observation deck of the Sears Tower. I adamantly used every excuse I could think of from “I really just don’t feel like it” to “You are not going to make me do this!” Well, this beautiful, lovely person was not going to take no for an answer. She assured me that it would be completely OK and that I had nothing to worry about. I can still remember the angelic look on her face while saying these words of assurance, all the while carrying a devil’s pitchfork hidden behind her back! I reluctantly said something like, “Ok, I’ll give it a shot since you are sure it will be fine. I trust you babe.” Famous last words of a fool!

As we ascended to the top, I couldn’t believe how fast the elevator went. The doors opened, and the terror began. As soon as I stepped off the elevator on the observation deck, I nearly passed out. I looked out, and we were ABOVE the clouds! Not near them, ABOVE them looking down. I started to get very nervous, and all I could think was “I AM GOING TO DIE! The building is going to fall over, and I am going to die a slow and horrible death!” I stood with wobbly knees at the farthest point from the windows next to the elevator that was already on its decent. Then believe it or not, it got even worse. I felt something strange going on and realized THE BUILDING WAS MOVING! Yes, my fear of the building falling down was actually happening! As the building swayed back and forth, I thought I was going to pass out. I screamed to the evil twin impersonating my wife that we needed to GO! And GO NOW! With angelic eyes, she said she wanted to actually look out the windows before we left. Imagine that! I said it again with the persistence of a 3 year old needing to go to the potty.
I was suctioned to the inner wall and too frightened to move when finally the evil twin reluctantly agreed, probably too embarrassed. I closed my eyes and prayed that the elevator would come before the building came tumbled down.

The wait for the elevator was excruciating. It seemed to take at least 2 hours for it to make its way back up to the top. As I got on the elevator with the evil twin impersonating my wife, I thought all would finally be ok. Then, yet another crazy thing happened. Several other people got on elevator with us. And none other than Damien (from the Omen movies) was one of them. As soon as the elevator started down it felt like someone had cut the cord holding us up, and we were free-falling to our death. To make matters worse, Damien was jumping up and down causing the elevator to swing back and forth. Then about 2.2 seconds after we started, the doors opened, and I wanted to fall to my knees and kiss the floor. On the way down though, I believe Damien put some spell on me because I was really nauseated. When my wife turned back to the loving and caring mate I had always known, she said something like “Honey, you look a little green.” Dad-gum Damien! She quickly got me a soda to calm my stomach as I sat sprawled on a bench like I had just run the Boston Marathon. At that point, I decided I would never ascend beyond the fifth floor again! I had a plan, and I was going to stick to it from now on.

As you can see, avoidance is not going to conquer any fears. I had worked on myself and my fears for well over 10 years. I thought I was completely over all of them, well, that was until my wife bought me a hot air balloon ride for my 40th birthday. You have got to be kidding me! The thought of me in a 4’x4’ casket, er, I mean basket was just about the very last thing I ever wanted to do. To find out how I overcame my fear of the heights, read “That’s a Lot of Hot Air!” coming soon.

Author's Bio: 

Bill King is a writer, speaker, and consultant. His latest website teaches the Law of Attraction from a completely different point of view. It’s called, and it is built on the premise that negative thoughts stink. His approach is geared toward Law of Attraction newbies, and he uses humor to break down the barriers many people have to taking full responsibility for the circumstances of their lives. There’s a quiz they can take to check their stink-o-city, tons of easy-to-follow exercises, and even a kindness meter where they can log kind deeds.