I still remember the panicked feeling as I was sinking under the water.
Our family was visiting my parent’s friends who had a pool. I didn’t know how to swim because we lived in a rural area and the opportunity to swim wasn’t an option. As I was sinking and screaming, instinctively learning the “doggy paddle”, suddenly someone grabbed me and pulled me to safety.
The sensation of coughing and choking as I was held by my feet was scary yet comforting, knowing that I was out of danger, but the emotional damage was done, deeply embedded fear was cast.
Flash forward forty some odd years, I’m still afraid.
Do you have something like that? Is there something that still lingers from your past, still haunting you and keeping you from fully living? How can we overcome that fear?
Facing My Triathlon Fears
For me, the seed had been planted by some friends to do a sprint triathlon. It is a 460 yd. swim, 13-mile bike ride and a 5K. I’m always up for a challenge, having run the NYC marathon a couple of times and am comfortable riding a bike (although I had been hit by a car on my bike at 13 yrs. old, that was another anxiety I had to overcome …crazy, huh? LOL).
Those two components were totally doable, but then there was that swim…ugh…it’s time to face it and conquer it!
The training for the biking and running was a breeze, but the swim, that was something else. I started going to the aquatic center at 5:00 a.m. and hired a coach to teach me.
I have to say it was not fun but with the training, coaching and encouragement I got to the point where I could swim over 900 yards without stopping, I was feeling pretty confident and strong.
That is …until the morning of the triathlon and I got my first view of the course on Lake Lanier. “Wow!!” I said to myself (well actually I might have said something a little more colorful). FYI, there is a BIG difference between an aquatic center and a lake!
The time had come and my age group, aka the old ladies group, was called to enter the lake. Lots of self talk…. Another thing I hadn’t thought about was 88 other people in the water at the same time, heading in the same direction!
And off we go, boom–a foot in my face, ugh…an arm whacking me on the side, oops, down goes a big gulp of water. I flip over on my back and start to freak out (another tip: choking up lake water while doing the backstroke…not good).
To make a long story short, I finally finished the swim. I may have been the last one. But when I came out of that lake having pushed myself, faced my fear and having persevered, the sense of gratification and accomplishment was priceless.
What Fears Do You Need to Face?
What is it that is weighing on your heart, but you’re letting fear keep you from taking action?
It doesn’t have to be a triathlon, it could be walking a 5K, going back to school, learning a new language, starting a business, hiking, signing up for some class or contest that your passionate about, making that call and saying you’re sorry?
There is a saying that the only time we’re growing is when we‘re out of our comfort zone.
Taking the initiative can be tough, but it’s worth it! Move forward and don’t let fear paralyze you from living your best life! You deserve it! Feel the fear and do it anyway.
Gotta run and work on my building my new company (after leaving the comfort of the corporate world)…talk about scary!!! This entrepreneur stuff is not for the faint of heart!
Would love to hear from you, leave a comment sharing your challenge or connect on Facebook or Instagram with thoughts…