I was listening to another one of Tom Bilyeu’s podcasts the other day when he had Amelia Boone on as a guest. Boone is a hugely successful extreme adventure racer and a 60 hour/week corporate bankruptcy attorney for Apple.
She talked about a lot of things, but one of the topics that struck a cord with me was on fear.
Now, when someone talks about fear and people that experience it, I don’t jump up thinking I’m one of those people that feels it all that often. Sure, I get nervous about things; but, I don’t feel like I’m walking around every day in fear of anything in particular.
However, when I searched a definition for fear and found Merriam-Webster’s take on it as “an unpleasant often strong emotion caused by anticipation or awareness of danger”, I realized that I probably fear more things than I’m willing to admit.
Amelia Boone talked about how fear is one of those things that the more you expose yourself to it, the more comfortable you are with taking it on head-on in day to day life. That the rush you get from overcoming fear makes you fear fear less and less with every fear-inducing experience you go through.
I think that’s a world record for the number of times the word ‘fear’ is used in a single sentence.
But, I think it’s totally spot on.
If you allow yourself to live a life that’s too comfortable, predictable, and safe, you will become completely paralyzed when you do finally encounter a situation that is a source of fear for you on some level.
The more I think about it, I experience fear on a pretty regular basis. I fear difficult conversations with friends, family, or customer service workers. I fear workouts with barbells and rowing. I fear being honest with people about how I really feel.
But, I think it’s more about how you deal with that super powerful emotion of fear that dictates whether it’s an emotion that cripples you, or one that you’re able to use as fuel to become a stronger human being that constantly growing and moving forward.
I think a lot about tough conversations I’ve had to deal with. I’ve gone through the periods of time when all you do is feel the weight of the talk, the anticipation of the interaction, and the nervousness that comes along with having to criticize someone about something. But, I also know the feeling afterward when the conversation was over…particularly, when it went well, of course. It’s amazing. It feels so great to have it be past you so you can get to a better place with that person and in your own head. It’s so awesome that it takes you to a new level of confidence when dealing with people on all sorts of other levels in your life.
I also feel that when I’m training, but in a different way.
I’m not what I would consider the “strong” girl in the competitive world of CrossFit. I’m a lot more comfortable doing handstand push-ups and muscle-ups than I am with a heavy barbell on my shoulders. So, whenever I walk into the gym for a strength session, I inevitably have at least a moment of fear rush through me about whether I can lift the weight I’m supposed to that day.
I doubt myself and I can physically feel fear in my body.
But, I also know I have the power to change my mental approach to that sort of training. And, the moment I make that switch in my head to use that fear as the fire I need to do what I need to do, I feel the fear replaced by a sense of confidence and I hear the voices of Tom Brady and Julian Edelman in this year’s Super Bowl howling, “LET’S GOOOOO!!!!”
It’s where I go to in my head to chase away fear so I can keep plowing down the road to being the “strong” girl in CrossFit.