Why is that even when we are moving towards something we want, fear creeps up? You know it’s true. It’s what keeps us from starting the book or beginning a new exercise program or taking that first class for the hobby you’re thinking about. It’s crazy and crazy making.
In order to succeed there will be an action, or two, that isn’t comfortable. One that either feels just a little beyond what you’ve done before or that brings you closer to what you want. Which seems just a little crazy doesn’t it? That getting closer to what you want can inspire its own kind of fear? No one said we’re rational all the time.
Defining and aligning your goals
In 2019, I decided I wanted to become more fit, so I looked for events that might help me better commit to the goal. In January a post by an acquaintance got me thinking about the potential of the annual MS cycling fundraiser. It was a big challenge, greater than one I would ordinarily set out for myself, which was exactly why I considered it. I’ve been trying to really live my life in a bigger and more present way. In the past too much of it was spent in the shadows, so the last 5 years have been about coming further into the world. This bike event seemed in line with that goal.
In our area this event occurs over two days and is 150 kms in total. Much further and in a shorter amount of time than I’d ever considered. I felt drawn to it for two reasons, the first was that I enjoy cycling, the second was that it intimidated me. I’ve found that the best way to grow is to pair an existing enjoyable activity, or curiosity about something, with an action. Otherwise, it remains a “could be fun” rather than “it is” fun.
By the way, intimidation is not a good enough reason not to do something. In fact, I’ve found it a good marker to look at something more closely, because it usually means we are rubbing up against a belief we have about ourselves that might just be ready to be challenged.
What is helpful is your curiosity, because it tends to help pull you into your dreams. You wonder about what it might involve, how to start or where to find the materials or resources you need. Embrace all those questions because you will need them as you move along.
Fear comes knocking
Fear or anxiety tends to come around at various stages and each time you might find yourself doing a little dance with it. This is how it showed up for me as I prepared to move forward on the cycling.
- Pressing the confirm button on the online sign up form. I had to ask myself if I really wanted to do this “crazy” thing.
- Not having anyone to do my practice rides with. I don’t know any women who bike, so I counted on my partner joining me. However, when the weather turned nice, he was sidelined by rapidly progressing cataracts. His vision wasn’t good enough for him to feel confident on his bike. Which meant solo biking.
- Finding bike routes I felt safe on. Our city isn’t as bike friendly as it could be, drivers aren’t always accommodating to cyclists.
- Realizing a week before the event that the bike I had wasn’t the one recommended in the event FAQ.
I countered those feelings by doing the following:
- Asking myself if the event was in line with my goal towards better fitness and trying something new. It was and because I like cycling, knew that it would be easier to commit to. Being clear about my goals helped me commit.
- I re-embraced the idea of being more independent and self reliant. I focused on what I could do, rather than what I couldn’t. That mindset is key in creating the life you want.
- I experimented with times and days of the week. Soon enough, I began to enjoy my early Sunday morning jaunts. With less traffic I felt confident going out of the city and into the countryside where I found quieter country roads and more nature. It was lovely.
- Reminding myself that the event is not a race and that I’d been training for months. My goal wasn’t to be the fastest, it was to participate and finish.
The biggest hit of fear was the moment right before I hit enter on the online sign up. Yes, I know, that seems crazy and yes, it is a little crazy making. Now I just smile with some self compassion. I’ve come to realize that all those fears and seeming obstacles are just little pushes to get to the starting gate- of whatever “thing” I’ve set my sights on.
Every stage will bring it’s own version of fear
It seems that every decision to do something more with my life has had these same stages of fear and intimidation. What’s becoming apparent is that by recognizing them and then moving forward, the thing you fear isn’t such a big deal after all. Plus, the true benefit is building stories of success in meeting and beating those fears.
So here we are, with 2019 quickly approaching its end and 2020 with its unknown potential. I have more goals, personal and business and accept that fear and anxiety are part of the price of admission. I’d like to say it gets easier, but what is easier is recognizing the signs of fear’s arrival. When you know what fear looks like for you, then you might want to try what I do – take a breath and do.
If you have some goals that you’re ready to act on and would like some encouragement and support, then you’ve come to the right place. From the blog to my book, the online program Emerge or one to one mentoring, there’s something here for you. If you have questions, drop me an email, I’m happy to hear from you and see how I can be of help.