I was the key note motivational speaker at an event recently and when I was talking about setting challenging inspiring goals and stepping outside of your comfort zone someone asked me a question. They asked “but what if you fail !” – Great question.
At some point in our lives, if not at every point in our lives we are held back by our fears. I am reading a book at the moment written by Robert Green and the rapper / businessman 50 cents, called The 50th Law. In the foreword there is a superb couple of sentences.
“Your fears are a kind of prison that confines you within a limited range of actions. The less fear, the more power you will have and the more fully you will live”
I just read this over and over and thought what a great way of describing the fear that limits and the fear that enables.
What is fear and why do you have more or less of it than someone else?
Fear in the dictionary is described as not achieving an desired outcome. I am ont sure I agree with this description. Why ? because if you took on a huge challenge and only missed by a little bit, is that failure or have you just learnt loads about how to get close to a massive goal ? This leads on nicely to what creates fear.
Fear of failure is created in most cases by the unknown. Stepping into the unknown is scary, but it can also be exhilarating. Ask anyone who has done a bungee jump or parachuted. The first time you do it you are terrified, because the fear of failure is terminal ! However, when you step into the fear and do it anyway, and you achieve it there is no high like it.
I remember when I completed my first Ultra Trail De Mont Blanc. I had no idea whether I could complete 106 miles and 9700m of ascent in one go. I was uncertain, nervous, fearful of what lay ahead, but went and did it anyway. I remember the feeling when I finished 40 hours later, after starting in heavy rain for 8 hours, snow on the peaks, and 2 nights of no sleep. I was on a massive high when I crossed the finish line.
What would have happened if I had not taken the step to enter the event or to step over the start line ? I would never have know that I was capable of achieving such a great feat.
Is this not true of every part of our life. No matter how successful anyone of us is right now, we are all held back in our careers, our business, our relationships and the things we do, by fears of some kind, and mostly the fear of failure. If you took on the challenge and stepped into the fear anyway what could you achieve, are there any limits ?
At our races I see that look in people’s faces when they have taken on something they thought was not possible and achieved it. Those moments make the events special for me and the team.
But what if we fail……………. Personally I don’t think the word fail has any place in the English language. If you entered a 100 miles race and the furthest you had ever run was 30 miles. You get to 90 miles and pull out or stop or just have to withdraw. Have you failed ?? You could say I failed to complete the 100 miles, this is true, you do not complete the 100 miles, but you should celebrate running 3 times further than you have ever run before. That is an accomplishment, and the experience will mean that you will achieve your goal next time – so long as you learn from the experience, and act accordingly.
The definition of being a fool is to do the same thing over and over again and expect a different result. Don’t be a fool – learn from your experience, celebrate what you did achieve and go back to hit your goal.
Think about the events out there or the physical challenges, or what ever challenge in other parts of your life, that really scare you. Ones that you think you cannot do. That is a big clue by the way to whether you are looking at a challenge that will really push you. If you think you cannot do it, then you need to go for it.
The author and speaker Anthony Robbins says “If you can’t you must”. What a great way to live you life.
So what big challenge would really energise you, one that would terrify and inspire you ? Whatever it is go find it, and make a commitment to go do it.
This youtube clip may inspire you to step into your fear
Thoughts from an Endurancemind – Neil Thubron
Extreme Energy Race Director