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What Can Winter Olympic Athletes Can Teach Us About Overcoming Fear?

Posted Feb 19 2010 1:45pm

Fear or Folly! Scared or Jolly!

I’m going to make a bold statement.  The biggest thing holding all of us back from achieving our full potential is FEAR! And what’s so interesting about this is what terrifies one person, seems like a fun and exciting thrill to the next guy.  Just look at the breakneck speeds and heights the Winter Olympic athletes achieve for the thrill of their sports!

What’s sad about this is that for many of us, FEAR stands in the way and blocks us from even attempting new things, or taking the necessary steps to break old destructive patterns.

I say this in the first person, because I too am human, and actually conscious of at least a few of my self-limiting fears.

  1. Let the big ugly FEAR monster get the best of us.
  2. Take a deep breath, move forward, and see what happens…

Chances are once we’ve made it to the other side of a fearful experience – we can check that off our list and be proud to know that in that moment – fear did NOT get the better of us.

“I don’t really have nightmares a-about being up in the air, because I love it so much. And you know, the funny thing is, I’ve never gotten hurt in the air, it’s only when you land.”

Whether you’re flying through the air on skis, or flying through some other mental or physical fear, without actually moving through fear you won’t know where you’re going to land, or when you’re going to land, or how perfect that landing might be…  But if just like an Olympic athlete, you’ve done the right things to prepare, and have the knowledge and skill required to reach the goal – regardless of where you land, going up means you’re going to come down so why not land on the other side of your fears.

You can’t really decide if it’s fear or folly and your scared or jolly until you’ve taken that deep breath and moved forward through your fear – whatever it might be!

  • Would  I do it again?
  • Did I love it?
  • Hate it?
  • Is this now one of my most fun and favorite things to do?
  • How do I feel about myself and my accomplishment?

A few weeks ago I went snowmobiling for the first time.  Mind you I have a fear of motorcycles, speed, and lack of doors and seatbelts!  The first hour was ok, on very flat trails at my 12-15 mph pace, but the two daredevils that I went with were itching for more, so we headed up the mountain and I saw my speed increase to 17-25mph in an attempt to keep up…  I’m sure that some of you are laughing at this snail’s pace, but for me it felt like 100 mph and on the edge of out-of-control!

And of course once we got farther up the mountain, I was faced with the fact that now I had to go head-first, straight down!  I sat on the edge of the precipice, looked at my fiancé – and said…You guys have fun – I can’t do this!!!

I was terrified.  We had another 3 hours left on our snowmobile rental and I knew that I was letting my FEAR spoil the day.  So I took a very deep breath and plunged head first down the hill!  AAAAHAHAHAHAHAAAAAUGH –  I was screaming the whole way!

And you know what…it was scary – but not as bad as I thought it was going to be.  I did a lot of hills during the next 3 hours and while I cannot sincerely say that I loved my snowmobiling experience and look forward to doing it again – I am proud that in the moment, on that day on the mountain, I overcame a big moment of FEAR.

*****

What have you done lately that scared you and how did things turn out?  Any words of advice to share?

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