“I’ve been absolutely terrified every moment of my life-and I’ve never let it keep me from doing a single thing I wanted to do.” ~Georgia O’Keefe
I came across this quote a couple of days ago and had to add it to my little notebook of quotes. Isn’t that a great philosophy to have? There is absolutely nothing wrong with feeling fear. Sometimes our fears are overblown, and we know the truth of that full well. We welcome that slight tremble of fear, because it is reassuring, comforting and even somewhat motivating. However, there is another kind of fear. That fear can make our knees shake uncontrollably, or it can paralyze completely. It makes our palms sweaty, our voice shake, our thoughts scramble, and our resolve crumble into dust. How many hopes, goals and dreams have been sacrificed to fear?
I have been thinking along this line since last Thursday’s training session, when conversation touched on the potential of a 150 pound bench press and the possibility of testing just what I was truly capable of doing. We chose not to test that day, but I know that day will come and the thought of that terrifies me. While I am not afraid to make the effort, the truth is that I always feel a measure of fear going into previously untested weights for my competition lifts. The source of the fear isn’t always the same though. With a heavy squat, the fear comes from the knowledge that there is the potential to be crushed most painfully and humiliatingly. Deadlift fear stems from the possibility of merely failing to make the lift. The bench press hasn’t always inspired fear within me, even though it has always been my weakest lift. I have experienced plenty of frustration with my bench press, and that, I think, is where the current fear originates. I am not satisfied with being stuck at the same weight for my bench press (or any lift!). I want to improve and get stronger, and frustration breeds a sense of despair which can lead to thoughts of never achieving. The more I want the goal, the more frightening the steps that lead me towards it.
There is nothing wrong with feeling this fear, the twist of the gut, or the uncertainty and doubts swirling inside of my head…so long as I do not let that fear stop me from progressing. This doesn’t guarantee success with every step, of course; however, tenacity and determination go a long way in achieving success despite a bumpy road. I do not know exactly when the moment will come that I will test my strength, but I do know that I will feel fear and nervousness. And I will push past those feelings in pursuit of doing what I want to do.