Saturday, February 16, 2013

The Evil Twins: Fear and Doubt

"Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear, not absence of fear."
-Mark Twain

Here I am again. Ten days out from the race that has been my focus for the past 356 days. I've trained harder than ever. I've done more race specific training than ever. My body is more ready for this than for any other event I've ever done. And I'm still plagued by fear and doubt. They tear at my mind, clawing into my peace. Fighting to make great workouts, good. If I'm not careful, I could lose everything I've worked so hard to gain before I even step up to the starting line. 

Why does my mind always navigate to the "What if's?" My vivid imagination creates various elaborate scenarios that all involve me falling or failing in some form or another.
As I've said before, training is a reflection of life. All the time we face challenges that loom bigger than we are. In training and in life, if we want to become better,  we've got to overcome fear and doubt. My faith plays a great role in helping me-- there's a verse that says "We walk by faith and not by sight," (2 Corinthians 5:7) which is so very true. We must continue to step forward, even when the path is unclear. Practically, here are a few strategies that have been helping me shake the fear and doubt:

Replace those bad mental images with good. As soon as thoughts began to spiral down and the mental picture is one of failure, change the channel-- watch yourself succeeding instead.

When doubt starts creeping in, ("I'm not fast or strong or smart or _____ enough") begin to focus on all of the preparation that you've put in for this moment. Trust your training.

Find a quote, verse, or phrase ("mantra") that you can repeat to yourself that will instill confidence in you. Some of my favorites are in this post.

Finally, enjoy every moment. Chances are, this one thing you are facing is not the end. There will be another opportunity after this one to prove yourself. Each failure is an opportunity to become a better you.

*I actually stopped and started this post many times. I'm very much a work in progress.

So, tell me, how do you overcome fear and doubt?

1 comment:

  1. You make such a good point about the race not being the end. That takes some of the pressure off when you're racing. Great post!

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