“I did it, babe. I did a big wall.”My boyfriend is a rock climber. He’s been honing his skills for years with trips to Seneca Rocks in West Virginia, and earlier this week, he drove from Pittsburgh to Las Vegas to climb at Red Rocks. Today he climbed the multi-pitch Solar Slab, “5.3 for some of it and then some long 5.6s” (in climbing terms, pretty damn hard for most of us earth-dwellers) and with a summit that required 11 rappels to get back to the ground. “I was so relaxed and focused, but the exposure was crazy. It was amazing.”The idea of being up on an exposed wall of rock with my life in the grip of a few seemingly tiny cams and nuts scares the living shit out of me. I’m not totally freaked out by heights (not like Jimmy Stewart’s character in Vertigo or anything like that), but, let’s say, I’d greatly prefer not to experience that.A few months ago, it struck me that his love of rock climbing was no different than my love of public speaking: Most people think it’s terrifying. I don’t.There’s something to be said about loving something that most people are conditioned to fear. You don’t always know how to react to your pleasure in it. Is this normal? Do I really enjoy this, or am I pretending to? What happens if I’m suddenly terrified, like I’m supposed to be? Like people are expecting me to be?For me, there’s no thrill in the I’ve-done-this, you-haven’t. There’s no thrill in doing something that makes people use the word “brave.”For me, there’s a thrill in the focus and clarity and relaxation I feel when I’m up in front of people, the almost out-of-body experience I have when I know I’m doing something that feels so natural. I’m acting instinctively, purposefully, and honestly.We’ve gotten pretty good at understanding that we humans won’t all like the same things, but many of us are still stuck in thinking we should all fear the same things. Climbing mountains and public speaking are two big ones, but there are more. Changing jobs. Speaking your mind. Taking chances. Trying new recipes. Playing live music. You name it.Your big wall? It may surprise you. Ask around. A skill and thrill you love and take for granted might be someone else’s most-feared challenge.I hope you find it, and I hope you love it. And when you know it’s right, I hope you climb every big wall you find.We’ll be here on the ground, cheering you on.