Facing Fear

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

I am afraid of failure. I have started many things in my life, but have quit when things got difficult.. or have just not even tried to begin with because in my mind I knew I wouldn't be able to do it.

My fear of failing.. or looking foolish because I was inept or to out of shape to keep up.. has recently led me to start and quit Kettlebells.. the gym (because an instructor had the nerve to tell me I needed to take a harder class than the senior one I was in. Various dvd workout programs have been purchased, viewed many times.. but very seldom actually attempted. Different pieces of equipment have made their way thru the house.. weights, elliptical, recumbant bike, and most recently the NordicTrack Incline Trainer endorsed by Jillian Michaels. I also got her Power Walking iFit cards to go with that.

All, except the incline trainer have fallen aside, usually because I was afraid. Afraid it would be to hard.. afraid I would look stupid and awkward gasping away while trying to master something. Running fell into this category too. I've always thought it would be nice to be able to run. Quite frankly I'm not sure why I think that, but I have. I've also always been scared to try because "I'm not a runner... I can't do that... that would be agony and I'd probably die of a heart attack.. and really, how good does anyone look when they're red faced and wheezing?"

A couple of weeks ago I decided I was going to go for it and at least try. Hey, if I couldn't do it.. ok.. at least I could say I'd tried. I think down deep I knew I'd just quit, but at least I could give myself "props" for the effort. I made it thru the first 2 weeks and then came Week 3. Week 3 called for running 3 min straight. Umm, can we say NO WAY! I mean, I was barely keeping up with 90 sec runs and I was damn proud of myself for doing that much!

So, yesterday I was supposed to do Week3Day1 and I went into panic mode. I couldn't do it.. there was no way I was going to be able to run for 3 min straight. I would fail.. why even bother trying. Maybe I could just stick with 90 sec.. nope.. eventually I'd have to face the 3 min one and then I'd be back to this moment again.. better to just quit now and say I tried, but nope, I'm not cut out for running. All or nothing mentality. If I couldn't run for 3 min then toss the whole program out and just quit.

That's what the old Janet would've done. After spending nearly the entire day avoiding the treadmill and driving myself crazy I told myself to go try and if I had to stay where I was then ok, but I was NOT giving up on this. The first 90 sec run came and went.. I was ok. Then came the 3 min run. I told myself to shoot for 2 min and see. I thought I would die at 2 min but managed to tell myself to keep going for as long as possible. That turned out to be the entire 3 minutes!

OMG, I was gasping and wheezing and I thought I might throw up.. but I was grinning like a fool with happiness and pride for accomplishing what I was so afraid I couldn't do. For truly giving it my best effort and managing to succeed in spite of myself. I not only did the 2 sessions of jog/walk.. but I did a 3rd session as well!

I might be in a panic mode next week when I once again have to push harder and run longer... but I'm learning to face that fear of failure. I'm learning that saying you tried is different from truly giving it your best effort.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
  • BILLB000
    Janet...you have good insight into it and you keep trying. That is not failure. And eventually you will make it work. Give Janet credit for this.

    You may reflect on this over some coffee and not a water bottle. But that is just between you and me. emoticon
    4101 days ago
    Good job for not only trying but for facing your fears and going for it! I'm so proud of you and I wish I was right there with you moving onto week 3-alas my knee. Remember, it is OKAY and not a failure at all if you repeat a week. I had to repeat week one and I was so glad I did by the end of it. I'm still reaping the benefits from repeating that one week, and it feels glorious. Even though I can't run right now, I killed my elliptical yesterday and plan on doing it again tomorrow. Every bit helps, every step we take is one step closer to being an *gasp* actual RUNNER!! emoticon
    4102 days ago
  • AWOLF24
    emoticon I KNOW how hard that is! Earlier this year I made it to Week 4 Day 1, then I got sick with bronchitis and quit. I'm back to week 2 but already scared to move on to Week 3 again. emoticon emoticon
    4103 days ago
    You go girl! Pace yourself, no one said you have to do it any faster than you are comfortable with!
    4103 days ago
    Feel the fear and do it anyways! I'd rather fail gloriously than never know what I might have accomplished.

    That doesn't mean that I'm not afraid of failing... I am. But I don't let the fear cripple me anymore. I doubt there's anyone that, on their deathbed, says, "Boy am I glad that I never tried anything new/different/difficult."

    u've got the right mindset. Do your 90 seconds... and then 2 minutes... and see where it takes you!

    4104 days ago

    Comment edited on: 4/28/2010 5:44:26 PM
  • no profile photo CD5483846
    congrats! it's hard to push ourselves... but once we're doing it and accomplished it. what a great feeling it is. take small steps and just do it :)
    4105 days ago
    Congrats on conquering your fear. It is okay to fail, if we didn't we wouldn't learn from it. Keep up the good work. emoticon emoticon
    4106 days ago
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