Fear Flows

Mental Skills

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Photo by Vadim Bogulov / Unsplash

What’s wrong with being scared shitless?

Fear is only fear until you have met the challenge. Once you are present with the challenge, the fear gives way and your attentive focus takes over.

Much of our fear in sport arises in the vacuum created by a lack of self-belief. Half the time, we are more scared of our own judgments than we are of the external factors.

A lack of self-belief is wrapped up in us being worried that we don’t have what it takes to meet the challenge. But it’s not the challenge we are failing to meet, it’s ourselves.

When we don’t meet ourselves, we disassociate. It’s like a waiting room, waiting for the session to be over, waiting for the prep to be over, waiting for the race to be over so I can finally relax. Why wait?

Meet your fear and relax right now.

If you didn’t lack self-belief, you’d be present with the feeling of your fear, which is what we are really talking about here, aren’t we?

Fear says, hey, this shit is real and is right here, stay here on the edge with me. Don’t run away to the waiting room again.

The avoidance of discomfort is the mind's best protection tactic, it’s way old, formed when you were a little kid, and hey, it did a great job. But it’s now an outdated subscription that is doing anything it can to move you away from the feeling of fear.

It’s such a paradox, right? Because we do things that scare us on purpose.

We are now adults, and we’ve experienced fear countless times in our lives. So, the feeling of fear is totally safe. No one ever died from the feeling of fear. You are still here reading this, it didn’t kill you, nor did any of that other shit you worry about.

So here’s the thing, when you stay with the fear long enough, you start to figure out that actually, the disassociation is just a fear of the fear. It’s not real.

Staying with the fear brings you into your body and the acceptance of what you are feeling, boom, you are fully present in your body. Now, that feeling of fear you are experiencing right now in this process informs your mind that hey, I can stay present while I feel fear.

Furthermore, the more I feel it, the more alive I feel.

Ahhhh, that’s why I do things that scare me on purpose!

Hot on the heals of that little realisation is self-belief.

If I’m present in my body in training, I’m training myself to be present in my body in a race situation, which includes any experience that I have, including fear, which, by the way, always leaves as soon as the gun goes off. How many of us have noticed that?

That message is clear; live now, live intensely, live right here, don’t leave again, to waiting rooms or projections.

Meet this thing as it is, and you be as you are, and the two rivers meet at an intersection called embodied flow.