Turning your fears into strengths

Posted: March 14, 2011

  Does fear or the possibility of embarrassment stop you before trying something new? Do you have ideas in your head that you want to try, but when you picture that new scenario, you get butterflies in your stomach? Do you have that negative inner voice that is so powerful and so common to you, that you never move toward a new goal?  Many people never realize what they are capable of achieving, because they are too afraid to fail.  I doubt if many things would have been invented, let alone perfected,  if people didn’t try in the first place, or persevere after the first setback.

   I did something new yesterday.  Something that was in front of close to 100 people that I had never done before.  I entered a kettlebell competition as an amateur.  I entered with using the lightest kettlebell that you are allowed to compete with, a 8k kettlebell.  Guess what, I was the ONLY one there using that light of a kettlebell and the only one in my weight class.  I had to complete at least 80 reps during a ten minute period, with only one hand change, in order to get to a rank 4. During my set, my judge corrected (out loud), and didn’t count 5 reps…in the end, I got a total of 101 reps!

  Now as much as I like having a platform to speak on, I am not a fan of the stage. I know, I competed in two figure competitions, but that was such a stretch for me, that I had to go through a complete form of meditative exercises, and change my inner dialogue, in order to walk out on that stage.  I researched different ways of breathing, and used those techniques and visualized myself “winning”BEFORE I got on the stage.  I used the same techniques again this time, concentrating on slowing my heart rate down by taking slow deep breaths right before I was ready to compete. It really paid off because let me tell you, when the timer went off, and my judge and my “counter” gave me my number of 101 reps, I was elated!!   All my hours of training, positive visualization, and learning a new way to calm my breathing paid off!   My husband, family and friends were right in front of me yelling and cheering me on.   Not many feelings are that awesome!  Walking up at the end of the competition, to get my medal, was what doing something new was all about!

  Over the next hour, it was amazing how many people remembered my name, and that it was my first event.  So many top instructors came up to hug, and congratulate me, that it made me want another turn!!  I spoke with a few Master of Sport instructors, about how I could move up to a higher level, and asked about ways to develop better form, and strength, and they all gave advice freely.  We all agreed that doing anything for the first time, and getting something completely new under your belt, is such an empowering feeling, that rarely does someone walk away with anything less then feeling great about their accomplishment.

  With this being said, I urge you!! Step outside of your comfort zone!  Go into the gym for the first time. Hire a trainer, lift some weights, sign up for that race, or that class, or that event that scares you.  Educate yourself about how to make it happen.  Positive thoughts create positive actions.  Change your inner script from not only, “I could never do that, or I doubt I’d be any good at that” to ” I’m going to learn how to do this, and give it my all”…and who knows, you too could walk away with a medal.  At the very least, it will boost your self esteem, and your confidence to a level that says “I am in charge of what I accomplish” and no-one but you, can do that!

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