On Facing Fear.

Race in Trafford, my second 400m race ever outside a decathlon.

What is your deepest fear?

I asked myself that question many times, especially recently after having viewed Tony Robbins’ Breakthrough series (pretty good shows which you can find on youtube). I guess I’m looking for answers because I somewhat feel stuck at where I am right now in life.

Fear to me is a funny one, because when I’m not facing it, I don’t remember I actually have it.

I was quite puzzled having done that thought exercise sitting in my sofa comfortably in my apartment, am I fearless? I know that can’t be true, but yet I cannot exactly put my finger on what is it that I was afraid about.

2 Days ago I went to a 400m race to sharpen up my race strategy and I found my answer.

It was a long 2 hour drive up north, coupled with a pretty intense session the day before and training in the morning, my legs and body did not feel fresh. Yet I know it was a realistic replication of how I would feel during event 5 of a decathlon, it was perfect for the purpose I was there for, to sharpen up my race strategy on how to tackle the 400m event during a decathlon.

Warm up was sluggish and I found my mind quickly looking for a reason to bail out.

‘I’m too tired.’

‘My legs are tight.’

‘My back is aching.’

The list went on and on.

As the race start got closer, I found myself more and more eager to bail out.

‘There isn’t a reason to risk it, this is not a decathlon.’

There is this deep gut feeling of fear that started to take over, creeping out from deep within and started to drown me with doubt.

But then there was this beautiful moment of epiphany, when I suddenly realised what was happening to myself.

I was afraid, this was my fear, but I have to face it head on.

It didn’t make the fear go away, but I made my resolve to get through it much stronger.

I know that all I wanted to do was to find out what would happen if I ran the first 200 hard, so the gun went off and I did exactly that, easing off after 200m (at that point I was quite amazed because I’ve never ran that fast for such a long distance before) and then realised I could actually still move pretty well after (but I lost too much pace easing off, lesson learnt).

It wasn’t easy, but I did it, 56.95s, a pb for me.

But the bigger lesson I got out of the race was that I realised what was actually holding me back, my biggest fear is the fear of failure.

For the longest time I thought I wasn’t afraid of failure, after all I made all those big and scary life decisions to take a gamble and pursue my dreams when I was younger, but I realised making those big decisions are easy in a sense.

Because relative to that, it is these small little day to day ones that determine a large part of how your life is lived that I falter.

I realised that I developed a pattern, to avoid my fear, I would bail out and stop before the point that I might fail as a defence mechanism to avoid the possibility of failure and giving myself an excuse. That defence mechanism is seriously flawed because all it does is that by not trying it ensures that I always fail, completely the opposite of what I intended to avoid. And as a result this frustration has been building up in my life and I feel stuck.

You miss 100% of the shots you never take. – Wayne Gretzky

So how can I break through it?

By facing it.

It’s a lot easier said than done, especially once again this is a thought exercise from a comfortable chair where I am typing this from, but it’s the only way.

I have to find the courage to act in the face of fear and see it through all the time, knowing that no matter what, it’s going to be ok.

Somehow having these revelations made me feel a lot more at ease, because I know what I have to do now, and I highly suspect that this is linked to this other negative habit I have which is of procrastination.

This has been a long post, but I hope you find some clues in there as to how to go about discovering what your own fears that are holding you back in life, and I hope that you find the courage to breakthrough.

Live your best life, it’s going to be ok. =)

Will leave you guys with a clip from Ewan McGregor and Charlie Boorman’s epic trip the Long Way Round (which I found amazingly inspiring and absolutely worth watching the entire series and its sequel) where Ewan faced his big fear of getting water into his engine, by getting water into his engine. Face your fears.

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