Thursday, December 8, 2011

Don't let fear stand in the way

There is nothing worse than being paralyzed by fear.

Fear of the unknown - Fear of failure - Fear of letting people down.

These are natural feelings to have when faced with a new situation but truly, it is our response to those feelings that helps shape and define us and the outcome. Some folks deal with fear by ignoring it or never acting on it. Others face it and resolve to let it make them a better person.

What I find most interesting is that this can be true both professionally and personally. So many people think/fear that they can't do something and it literally just shuts them down and prevents them from even trying.

I'd like to think that I take a very pragmatic approach to the fears I face. Whether it's in my new role at work or the goals I set as an endurance athlete. There is often risk. There is often failure (in the purest sense of the word). But they're often calculated risks - hiccups you might say, that limit the damage to myself, others and the situation while still allowing a smooth recovery and an opportunity to learn from the mistake.

For me, this week has been about facing fears and knowing when to pick your battles.

Professionally, I had to fight the fight and dive in. I made some mistakes, I learned some new things and yet, I'm still making things happen. I revel in the fact that I learned (several) new things and am a better person/manager because of it.

Athletically, I've chosen not to fight. I knocked out a possible head cold earlier in the week and though I should be putting in some mileage, I've chosen to rest and ignore what the training calendar says. I'd rather be healthy for my race this weekend than sitting at home curled up in a ball on the couch (although the Ironman World Championships does air this weekend).

Fear of failing should never make it OK to give up before you've even tried. Making mistakes is part of life and if you don't allow yourself the opportunity to know your limits, then you'll never know what your capable of.
"Being defeated is often a temporary condition. Giving up is what makes it permanent."

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