What if I can’t make it through?
What if I have a breakdown?
What if things go wrong?
What if others criticize me?
What if I don’t know what to do?
Have these questions ever consumed you? Have they kept you from performing your best, or trying new things?
Fear is a funny thing. By definition, it is an unpleasant emotion caused by the belief that someone or something is dangerous, likely to cause pain, or a threat. It may be a real threat or it can fully imagined. Fear can keep you from being faster and stronger. It can keep you from being the best competitor that you can be. It can limit you, hold you back and it can completely consume you.
When it comes to training and sport, you may have doubts about your abilities. You may be afraid of failing, or getting uncomfortable. You might be fearful of the unknown or of a particular environment. Maybe you don’t want to look stupid, or be wrong. Maybe you don’t want to show people your imperfections or vulnerabilities. You might hate giving up control and don’t like feeling like you’re not the one in charge. The ‘what-ifs’ take over your thoughts and completely hold you back from action.
Those fearful thoughts will continue to chase the hell out of us, until we decide to work through them.
If you want to be better than ever, then start thinking differently and taking action. Remember that you can always go right back to where you were if it doesn’t work out.
Here are 5 steps to take to overcome your fears
1. Admit – You have to be honest about your thoughts and emotions. Embrace and understand your fears. Recognize that you are feeling fearful and having doubt. Take time to understand why you may be having certain fears and whether they are real or made up.
2. Share – You are living in fear of your fears until you share them with someone in your support circle. You are not weird for having fear and believe me it will feel great to talk about it. Voice them to people who care about you and don’t worry about their reaction. The more you share them, the less power they have over you. Get the crap off of your chest, seriously. The sooner you do this, the sooner it will be gone.
3. Prepare – Here are 3 key aspects to preparing yourself to face your fears or anything that you’re feeling anxious about
A) Know Your Motivation – Write down why it is important to you to face this fear and overcome it. There has to be some type of benefit to getting uncomfortable. The most important part of being mentally prepared, is understanding exactly how you can be better by facing your fear. Know why you want to do this.
B) Be Optimistic – You need to start saying positive reminders to yourself and speaking positively about the situation. Practice visualizing yourself adapting and having a positive experience and outcome.
C) Break It Down – Break your fear down into smaller parts. You don’t necessarily need to take it all on at once. You can write down your fear, and then write down small and simple action steps that you can start taking. Remember, no step is too small, and it is more important that start chipping away.
4. Attack – Accept that there is no such thing as a perfect situation and give it an attempt. Know that you are ready and that the best way to learn is to try. Remember why you want to do it and surround yourself with positive support. If it doesn’t work out this time, you can always step back and try again another time. Try, try, and try again.
5. Reflect – Take a moment to be proud of yourself for going for it. Share your thoughts with your support team and reflect on how good it felt to feel fear, but do it anyway. Take some notes about what you learned from the experience. Celebrate the little victories and know that you made the right choice by taking the necessary steps. You can easily repeat this process for other fears in your life.
It is time to get rid of your doubts and overcome your fears. Accept that you might mess up and that things might not look pretty. Know that it might be tough but that it will be okay, and that the worst-case scenario is not that bad. You will get over it, through it, and you will be so glad you faced it.
If you don’t take these steps, you will wonder forever. You will continue to replay the fear and worry in your mind, and you will build it up even more. You can either choose to conquer it, or you can continue to let it limit you. Whichever option you choose (action or inaction), will create a pattern. Each time you choose to deal with it, or not deal with it, it will make it more likely that you will pick that path again. Your choices become habits and literally define how you approach training and life.
Choose to attack your damn fears.