A Story of Fear and Confidence (Tips)

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Stuart Miles FreeDigitalPhotos.net

So you want to do a triathlon?

Great. Let’s do it.

But, Oh…

You’ve never done anything like that before – your idea of exercise is having to fetch the remote control. You can’t even imagine doing a whole triathlon, you probably can’t even do it… right?

You would start out all excited, motivated. But then your child needs to be driven to soccer, there’s dinner to cook, you don’t have time to train properly and more importantly, you’re useless anyway, you can’t run for the bus, much less run 5k…

And you don’t want people to see you running, they will think you are terrible, ridiculous even. You’re bike isn’t the right one and you look awful in a bathing suit. You probably wouldn’t  even finish, and with all of those people watching, it would be a total failure. And, and, and it would be the end of life as we know it. Maybe next year.

Sound familiar?

This used to be my thought process – and not just about triathlon. An uncontrollable spiral of doom.

For some of us it is a daily fight to and it used to be for me too. We allow fear to hold u s back and prevent us from reaching our goals and dreams. I’m using triathlon as an example here, but n reality, this applies to anything, everything.

A couple of years ago there was a challenge floating around. I don’t know where it originated, but it was featured on the local radio. It was called ’52 New’, and basically, it challenged you to try something new every week for a year.

I was discussing it with a couple of friends one day. Honestly, we thought it was rather silly, but it would be good for a laugh.

Over the next few weeks tried so many new  things: origami, stand-up  paddleboarding, I went to the batting cages, signed up for a soap-making class… Nothing was too small It was fun trying out random things – some of which I was truly awful at, and others I still dabble in to this day.

It was fun, but then we moved on.

It was about a year later that someone commented on my confidence, in a “I couldn’t do that” kind of manner.

Surely she wasn’t talking about me?

I laughed, I’m not brave! In fact, it wasn’t so long ago that I felt that way myself, indeed I frequently still do.

But I was intrigued

Then I realized, the 52 New challenge. That’s when things changed for me.

I hadn’t seen it at the time, but the challenge had given me permission to try something and be absolutely awful at it. It even came with a built in excuse “Yeah, I’m doing this dumb challenge thing…”.Who cared if I was good or not? I was just checking this week’s box. I had little investment in being successful at these activities, but I was practicing for a time when I might care.

A low risk environment to practise being more confident

What’s more, during that conversation, I realised that this person, far from thinking me stupid or inadequate, actually envied my confidence!

Who knew?

So, it’s not like I’m suddenly this super confident daredevil. I still have that dialogue in my head every time I try something new, but now I know that I can conquer it.

And here are my top tips for overcoming fear and getting things done:

  • Start small – Break a big goal down into smaller steps.
  • Don’t judge – Sometimes the success is in having tried.
  • Safety in numbers – Sometimes it helps to have at least one person you know.
  • Fake it till you make it – Just do it! You might surprise even yourself.

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