This morning, I caught up with a good friend for cardio and girl talk. When I asked her about her 2013 competition plans, her demeanor changed from bright and cheery to a little defeated and down. With her eyes gazing down, she said, “I don’t want to think about it.”
When I asked her if she still wanted to compete, she explained that she really wanted to make it back to the stage but didn’t know if she could. Her confidence was crushed after having had a challenging 2012 where, despite her hard work, she never felt ready for stage.
Questioning whether she has what it takes to get ready for a show, she posed the question, “What if I can’t?”
Hearing those words, I got a familiar knot in my stomach. That sentiment really hit home.
At the beginning of many contest preps, I have faced the same self-doubt and fear of “failure.” I have pondered things like…Will I be better than the last show? Will my body hold up? Or my favorite…Will I still be able to successfully compete with women 10+ years younger?
Self-doubt and the fear of failure is a combination that knocks a lot of people out of the game, and keeps them from realizing what they are capable of achieving. All of us face both at some point or another in pursuit of the stage, or any goal for that matter.
In my experience, in order to dismantle the fear of failure, you must face it and reason with it. I ask myself: What am I really afraid of? If my “worst case scenario” was to come to fruition, how would that change my life? Is my definition of “failure” accurate? Will I be a “better” for having pursued this goal regardless of the outcome? Would I prefer to not know what I am capable of rather than finding out that I might fall short of perfect?
When you really start to think about the root of your fear, you realize it isn’t as intimidating as you thought. The worst-case scenario that you fear is not nearly as frightening as not knowing what you are capable of, passing up on the opportunity to make your dream reality or looking back in ten years wishing that you had worried less and done more.
Once you start breaking down your fear of failure, you continue to chip away at what’s left by having small victories every day. Recognizing and celebrating your daily effort and success grows your confidence and fuels your motivation to continue. The more you work and have daily victories, the more your confidence flourishes. Before too long, that which you feared is no longer your focus. Instead, you’re caught up in the journey, busy doing the necessary work and eagerly anticipating the result of your efforts. Fear is no match for a confident person exerting relentless effort.
For many years, I allowed fear to keep me confined to safe choices that wouldn’t expose me to judgment, criticism or failure. However, if we allow ourselves to be prisoners of fear, we will never achieve our best. We will never make our unique contribution to this world. We will never know what could have been. Now that’s scary.
“Don’t let fear stop you—it only means you are facing great opportunities.” – Rich Gaspari
Until next time, keep pushing toward your best.
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Jaime Baird can be contacted for appearances throughwww.fmg-fitnessmanagementgroup.com