Smutty Fitness: Fear of failing
Fear of failing is a common theme in many of the emails that I receive, countless emails from women who are afraid to join a gym because they do not know how to use equipment, or women who are afraid to try a class because they are fearful they will not know what to do, or women who are afraid to join a running club because they think they are too slow and will not be able to keep up. I have women who email me who know they are overweight and living a very unhealthy lifestyle but are afraid to make changes. I hear every excuse as to why someone cannot do something but rarely do they admit it is because they are afraid to fail. It is hard to put your ego aside and take on a new challenge while at the same time allowing yourself to be vulnerable but it is how we grow.
That is what I did this weekend when I attempted my first mountain bike race: I put my ego aside and I went into the competition with zero expectations. With less than a year of biking under my belt, I showed up at the start line completely green. I had to be shown everything from how to put my number on my bike, how to self seat myself and what to wear. I was ready to fail. Through 45km of rain, mud, roots, rocks, and hill after hill after hill I did my best to keep the voice inside my head, the one that wanted to tell me I sucked, quiet.
I tried not to care that I was almost last, I tried not to care that I had to walk a lot of the course, I tried not to care that I was WAY out of my league and I tried not to care that near the end of the race I had to push my bike up the hills because my legs just could not do it anymore. In the end I did not fail because I did not give up. I may have come in almost last place (I think I only beat 6 people) but as many times as I wanted to pack it in, I did not. All the times I fell and all the times I had to get off my bike (some of those moments even contemplating why I was doing this) was not failing but rather succeeding. The only thing that would have been considered failing was not doing it, not believing in myself that I could finish. There were 10 times more moments I thought I could not do it than there were moments I thought I could. And even as I crossed the finish line and saw most of the other riders already showered and eating I was proud that I had finished. For someone who is used to being in the top 5% of finishers I was proud of my bottom 5% finish on Saturday.
If you are someone who is afraid to challenge yourself because you think you cannot do it, or you are afraid of not knowing how to do something, or you are afraid you will not be able to keep up or that you might not finish, you need to put your ego aside and believe in your own strength and ability to be successful. You will never know your own boundaries until you push them and the only time you fail is when you do not try.
Attached -- Krysten Ritter out for a walk with the dog.