Fighting fear

Posted on December 31, 2013 by Sherryl Tarnaske

Every year, the winter solstice gives cause to peer into the dark corners of my metaphorical closet, and drag regrets out into the light. Some are dusty and broken from neglect. Others were recently put aside to suffer the same fate.

Similar regrets pile up onto of each other filling the dark space with self-doubt, second guesses, hesitation, unspoken words of assertion, sadness. or love. These regrets develop into a self-sustaining eco-system of fear. Spiders work for generations to create an intricate system of webs between seemingly unrelated instances of regret. But drag them all out by the light of a fire and they sparkle with deep describable connections.

They flicker and dance before my minds eye, depicting a long chain of self-deprecating mantras held up as an excuse elegantly linking one regret to another though one single word.

In 2012 the word was FEAR. Fear of speaking up, being vulnerable, stepping out of my comfort zone, fear of judgment, love, lack of love, conflict, death, not having enough money or being alone. The mid-winter fire lit up the fears one by one; outlining the web of fears that covered my ambitions turned regrets and shoved in the closet.

Fear is an emotional response to a perceived threat, compounded by an inability to find strength and confidence in vulnerability. To conquer fear we must be able to see things as the truly are. Assess the root of that fear and take action. I needed to get on the Judo mat.


Nothing puts your fears and vulnerabilities in your face like learning to fight. Every conflict that was laden with regrets project in the mind like overlapping movies. All the shoulda-coulda-wouldas turn into one big ball of blinding adrenaline that throws you face first to the mat long before your challenger does.

In Judo an Uke is the receiving body who takes the throw. Being hurled upside down, held down or choked is going to happen and you must let it happen. You are NOT in control of what is happening; you can only control the reaction. There are no more shoulda-coulda-wouldas; there is only here and now.

I spent months in weekend family classes being hurled to the mat, pinned and choked in the hands of 8 Sensei, and their kids. Every break fall brought a reminder of the lesson to release my white-knuckle grip on control. Eventually earning me a yellow belt. That yellow belt had been woven from bruised ego, arms and knees, then dyed with sweat, fears and tears symbolizing the journey. The effort was rewarding but paled in comparison to the fight that earned me an orange belt.

My opponent was one of the Sensei who had been teaching me every Saturday for well over a year. She was not done yet. A yellow belt facing a black belt was not a match of skill. It was a challenge to face failure, insecurity and uncertainty. Opportunity to acknowledge my inexperience, face my fear, trust my judgment and set onto the mat anyway. 

The fire from within persevered through grappling, immobilizing hold-downs and searing arm bars ending with my submission in both matches. The burning web of fears incinerated my rusty pile of regrets, laying a path of ashes before me to stand upon.

I CAN do this; I AM strong; fear will NOT stop me. 2012 removed the fears to build upon courage in 2013 and never again hold storage for regrets. More on 2013 and my yoga journey in my next post.  

Cher Rae Arts and completing my Yoga teacher certification are two manifestations of my re-discovered courage. Thank you all for your love and support. I am truly grateful for the past lessons that have brought me to dedicating 2014 to balance.


With love,

Sherryl (Cher Rae)

Posted in 2014, Cher Rae, courage, fear, judo, personal growth, Yoga

Unlucky 13

Posted on October 06, 2013 by Sherryl Tarnaske

 Without a doubt, marketing automation is a fantastic platform for a brand to communicate with buyers based on contextual interactions. Many brands have enjoyed huge success in strategic integration with marketing automation to bolster digital strategies including responsive web and email design. Yet some brands still miss the importance of context. Without contextual content a brand’s efforts to engage new buyers risk becoming negative social blunders that turn people off.  
Here's how my recent experience played out:
On Friday, September 13th,  I was shopping out of town. I got lucky. I'd bought what I thought would be my new favorite brand of jeans. The brand spoke to me, and my efforts to buy socially responsible apparel. The quality of the product met my expectations of quality and price. The in-store brand ambassadors were helpful without being overbearing. It was SO perfect I gave them my coveted email address. You know, my REAL one. Not the one I use to get an offer or download a whitepaper without having to deal with the flood spam or sales calls that follow. 
I reviewed my first email with the scrutiny of a seasoned digital project manager. The email well-crafted, the design smartphone screen and passed me through to a website that supported that digital promise. My first experience with the digital version of the brand reflected with my in-store experience. Confident in my choice to share my email, I was optimistic about the possibility of developing a long-term relationship with this brand.
Then it started. 
During the four days after the first purchase, I received four email promotion offers, one for a 20% discount, the second for 40%, and last two for 20%. I chalked the frequency up to a new brand that was eager to get acquainted. All three emails were deleted without looking beyond the subject line. I did my best to see beyond the awkward communication zeal and look forward to some alone time before my second date with this brand.  
They kept talking when I had stopped listening.
My optimism for a budding relationship with the brand waned when the next 5 offers arrived. Each email had the same subject line, lacked any context to my name or my interactions with the brand. The time to deletion of each incoming message became exponentially faster with each attempt they made to reach me. Interest in the brand moved from buyer to a professional interest in monitoring this needly plea for attention. How long would take before they clued into the fact that I'm now ignoring them. 
Four more emails in the last 7 days with the same subject line—unopened. I'm still subscribed after 13 emails in 3 weeks, but I am no longer engaged in any positive way with the brand. Soon I'll unsubscribe, disengage all together and likely never make another purchase from that brand in-store or online. 
It is always disappointing when a promising experience falls back into late night infomercial style marketing—pushing repetitive information instead of communicating with buyers in context to device, location and relationship history.
Alas, there won't be a second date.


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