I think the first time I saw the phrase “Do one thing a day that scares you!” it was on a Lululemon bag. The bag was filled with inspiring quick thoughts like that but that one struck me. My first thought was “Yes!” it’s important to get out of your comfort zone and push your limits. But, then I thought about something that really terrifies me – – flying – – and I though “hell no!” Why should you do scary things unless you absolutely have to?
So, what is the answer? Is it good to do things that scare you? I guess it depends on what it is.
Lately, I’ve been having some seriously scary workouts. I don’t think I have ever truly been afraid of completing a training session in all of my 15+ years of running. Of course I have felt intimidated by pacing or afraid I wouldn’t be able to hit certain numbers in speed work or, that I would fall apart on a long run during marathon training, but I never actually looked at my training plan and thought “I don’t know if I can finish this.” However, that is exactly how I felt last week when I saw this:
Thursday: 2,500 yard swim/55 minutes followed by 10 mile run/1 hour and 20 minute run
Friday: 40 mile bike ride/2 hours and 30 minutes followed by six mile run/45 minutes
I was even more afraid when I started those runs! I seriously could not get out of my head for the first several miles. I started thinking of what I would do or who I would call if I was out in the middle of nowhere and just couldn’t finish. At the start of each of those runs, not finishing felt like a real possibility.
But, I shifted my focus to stay present, to run only the mile I was in, I didn’t dare look at my watch and I just tried to listen to my music, my breathing, the birds, anything to distract myself from the pain or the fear.
I also thought, why am I doing this? What 41 year-old mom does this? Is it worth it?
So, what is the answer?
I started thinking about other things that have scared me in the past, how I have gotten though them and, how I felt on the other side of the fear:
I never wanted to have kids, until I did. I got pregnant quickly, once I had decided I wanted to, and then of course got the shock of my life when I found out I was having twins. Nothing, at the time, could have been more terrifying. I was all set to have a perfect little one baby pregnancy and then all hell broke loose.
I adjusted. I researched. I listened to my body. I leaned on family and friends.
Everything turned out amazingly well (so far) and having my boys is the single best thing that has ever happened to my life.
None of my fears have come to pass, and dreams I didn’t know I had have come true.
SELLING MY PERSONAL TRAINING STUDIO
I could say I didn’t have a choice. My aunt had been lovingly taking care of my boys since the day they were born and it allowed me to continue working and running the business I had worked five long years to build. I made it though my maternity leave and then, about two years later, my aunt started having some serious back issues and was no longer able to watch my sons.
I was devastated for her, for my kids and for me. I immediately started looking for a nanny and then realized that it just wasn’t worth it to rush into a relationship with someone I didn’t even know to be in charge of the two most important little humans in my life. I didn’t have to work but I wanted to, until it was a choice between my studio and my kids.
I was very afraid of being a stay-at-home mom. Very afraid.
But then, I started this blog, and over the days and months and years, began writing more and more. I have made countless amazing friends, have traveled all over the United States and the world to compete, and even have a pretty good freelance writing gig.
None of my fears were realized and dreams I didn’t know I had, have come true.
I’m not really sure how this fear manifested itself so it’s more difficult to overcome. When I started to realize the fear had become larger then something I could handle, I went for the quick fix and got a prescription from my doctor.
However, I have made a conscious decision, knowing this is an irrational fear, to do two things:
- Never let it effect my travel/life plans
- Never show my kids how afraid I am when they’re flying with me
That second one is pretty difficult but so far, my husband has been able to distract them when he knows I’m about to lose it.
So now, when I’m faced with real fears I think “what is the worst possible outcome?” For all my fears (except for flying!) the worst possible outcome is not that bad at all.
I’ve realized one of the most important things about fear:
You can do scary things, as long as you’re not afraid to fail.
I’m set to do the hour long swim and hour and half run today and, probably a few more times in the training cycle. I’m still afraid of how
much pain I will feel during it but, no matter what happens, I know I will come out stronger on the other side.
Ultimately, my answer is YES, you should take the advice of the marketing people at Lululemon and do scary things! You may realize dreams you don’t even know you have.
[Tweet “Should you do scary things? YES! But only if you’re not afraid of one thing… #train4life”]
I will also face one of these fears tomorrow morning, as I board a plane to Breckinridge Colorado, to see if they have any snow! See you all on Monday, March 21 when I celebrate 41 years on this planet!
Do you do scary things? Tell me about them!
I DONT live by the EVERY DAMN DAY!!!!! adage here.
Because for me I think that’s just not how I live.
BUT if something looks enticing to me or an opportunity presents itself to me do I ever let fear scare me away?
HELL NO 🙂
I always remember “fear is excitement on pause” that a very wise (ass) woman once told me 🙂 Thanks Carla!
I needed to read this this morning. I have a hard workout in a bit that I’m nervous for. I’ve had plenty of workouts and races I’ve failed at and you are right. You can’t be afraid to fail because if you live your running life in fear you’l never grow from harder workouts.
YES! I hope you killed your workout Hollie!
Great post Allie! It is amazing how things we fear can turn out to be such huge blessings! I was really scared when I brought home a newborn (probably like most moms) but now it ain’t no thing. I love my little sidekick. I was also really scared when I moved out of the country (twice!) but it has always worked out for the best. So yes, I think you should do things that scare you!
I think you’re unbelievably brave for all the moving you have done! You just acclimate and explore and find adventure and I admire that so much!! Keep being brave…and parenting is the scariest thing you can do for sure…
Ah….fear still holds me back from a few things…. getting off the bunny slope when skiing because I didn’t start ski trips until just a few years ago, and learning as a 40 year old is different than learning as a kid…. also still having trouble doing handstands, etc in yoga… fear of flipping over and breaking something. But I’ve discovered that if I want something badly enough, I’ll forget the fear and do it. If I don’t want it badly enough… fear still holds me back.
Excellent point! It’s always a matter of “how badly do you want it!” And, when I’m out on the mountain I’m overly cautious and not at like I was in college. I need to save this body for triathlon!!
I always look forward to reading your post! Thank you for another great one!
Those work outs sound just way way intense! But I know if anybody can do them, that is you!
Flying is plenty scary! any little shake or bump is scary! I totally feel you on that!
Nowadays I find it scary to sing up for races… it still gets me every time! and then when I have to face family and say “so… I registered for this half marathon”… but I’ve come to embrace the Wendy Rivard way of “Register first, explain later”.
But one of the scariest things I’ve done is getting divorced and moving out. For the first 2 months I was scared of everything! How would this affect my son? How was I going to pay the bills on my own? How would I tell my parents? would I be alone the rest of my life? and most importantly What was that noise in the kitchen ? (When alone in a new apartment). And I remember telling myself everyday, just one day at a time, one day… and that noise was the birthday balloon hitting the fan!
Thank you so much for saying that!
I love the “Wendy Rivard” method of racing 🙂
I give anyone a TON of credit for getting a divorce. There is SO much involved, as I have realized by having several close friends make that decision BUT, each and every one of them came out on the other side knowing they did the right thing, and a lot happier and healthier for it. Good for you! That is truly very brave.
I cried so much when I read about Rita:( RIP little one, and thanks for lavishing your unconditional love on us humans, expecting nothing in return!
Great post, as always! Flying irrationally terrifies me also, even though my dad is an aerospace engineer and has explained how it works to me thousands of times. But I’ve found that the more I fly, the less scary it is – when I studied abroad I flew a lot to the point it didn’t even phase me for a while. But still, I’m sorry for anyone who has to sit next to me on a plane.
Enjoy your time in Colorado! Hopefully there’s beautiful snow and mountains waiting for you.
I can’t believe your dad is an aerospace engineer! That job terrifies me:-) and it’s true – the more you fly, the better it is but since I usually only fly 2-3 times a year… Thanks Laura!
Since I’m the only male here, as I read the responses to your post, I can’t help but suspect gender interpretation of fear to be chasms apart. There is no judgment here, just observation.
THERE IS NOTHING TO FEAR BUT FEAR ITSELF! FDR’s words I live by. I think somewhere along the way, JFK said them also. I mumbled them repeatedly to myself the 1st time I jumped out of a C-130 in jump school; I had LOTS of fear, and anyone who doesn’t is lying big time! (3 days b4, the Army times of Ft Bragg, NC. had reported a diving fatality after a jumper’s reserve chute didn’t deploy).
After a deep sadness for my fellow paratrooper and analyzing the situation with a cool head; my response?- So!, that’s 1 in a million jumps, IRRATIONAL!, I’m going out there and enjoy rushing to the earth at terminal velocity!
When I hit the ground, I think, is when I followed this 1st mantra with a 2nd one: ‘Embrace your fear and learn to love it’. I’ve been scared many times and still am: black diamonds, scuba diving, 15 foot surf, sharks vs Triathletes, bikes vs cars; public speaking, and yes, especially for you Vita- Flying!
I think it is very healthy to have fear, probably imperative; the issue is how you deal with it? I think Vita should learn to fly, get your private pilot’s license. Think of all the races you could go to? Heck, you could even take your Dad for a flight, I think He would be so proud, and thrilled!
Anyway, I have a story about how I helped a Woman student get over her morbid fear of water. A few years later, after I had lost sight of her, She called to tell me She nearly completed Scuba School, and was flying to Cozumel for her check out dive (She wasn’t a fan of flying either). I’m proud of that accomplishment:).
What a beautiful studio, what beautiful kids, it’s all about dealing with it. Gotta love ‘Airplane’, a classic- Actors and 1 liners- ‘ Jive-ass dude don’t got no brains anyhow! Shiiiiit’ (Jive lady).
Breckenridge Colorado?, Your’e almost on the West coast, you could come out and swim with the sharks! 41 year old? careful, you’ll catch up to me! Happy Birthday:)
You are so amazing! I found myself nodding yes throughout this post. I lived so many years safely inside my comfort zone. Unwilling to fail. Fast forward and I’ve created a life I didn’t even dare dream of. I still have to push myself outside my comfort zone but every time I have my worst fears did not come to fruition. I stopped making decisions out of fear years ago.
YES!!! So glad this resonates with you and you have inspired so many by living your life out loud!! Thanks Jill
oh my gosh! Have fun in Colorado!! You are so amazing. If you are even close to afraid to finish a training sesh I know it must be hardcore! I’ve been pushing myself out of my comfort zone lately, but it’s been a good push, I think things go all kinds of wrong when you push too hard. I hope your flight is perfectly zen. Can’t wait to hear all about it!
So true – there is a fine line between a good push and a too hard shove! Thanks Nellie!!
THE ONLY TWO THINGS I WILL NOT DO:
– Sky Diving
– Bungee Jumping
Yeah. No thanks.
MAYBE… For $2 Million.
MAYBE….. $500k? LOL
My husband has always wanted to do that but I’m like – you are on your own!!!!
Hope you are having a great time in Breckenridge!! I just got back from there last week and it was fabulous. Of course the day we skied at Breck (the other days were skied at Vail, Keystone, Loveland) we had a white out! But as far as Spring skiing goes, I can’t complain at all.
Gotta say, that part about becoming a parent choked me up a bit! I didn’t think I wanted kids either, until one day it just hit me hard. Motherhood is quite the adventure, and the best ever. Your boys are adorable 🙂
We had such an amazing time!! So worth the trip!
And YES to motherhood being the ultimate adventure 🙂 Thanks!
Fear is an interesting one. Fear has definitely held me back in the past, from little things to bigger things but I feel like as I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized that I can’t always let it get in the way as much. Don’t get me wrong, there are things I’m terrified and that I will never do (like sky diving) but I also draw on the fact that I’ve done a lot of scary things that I would never have thought I would do, like becoming a parent. And you! You’ve done lots of scary things (you’re workouts still scare me) and I draw inspiration from you! Have so much fun in Colorado!!
Thanks so much Christine and I think you put yourself out there a lot and much of it has paid off!! But, nothing is scarier than parenting, right?
Colorado was amazing!!! Totally got my snow fix and now ready for summer 🙂
I often hesitate to do scary things! It is so easy to talk yourself out of what you want and and to convince yourself that you can’t do something. This is something that is especially pervasive for me as a perfectionist. Lately though I’ve been trying hard to work through these things and to not let fear get in the way. Doing triathlons has been scary for me as it is so new however I am embracing the learning and the new challenge. Finishing those scary workouts always feels so much better when they are done and then you feel strong and proud. Have kids is scary from the moment it begins but also offers so much happiness and incredible love and growth that it is sooo worth it! Good luck with those insane workouts and have a blast in Breckinridge!
Thanks so much Sandra and yes, triathlons still scare me but I feel even more accomplished at the finish because of the fear factor!!!
New jobs have always been scary for me, and just the thought of going back to work makes me want to puke. I figure I have three years to gear up for it.
I like thinking about the worst case scenario – it helps me put my fear into perspective. Happy early birthday!
Thanks Dana!! And a full-time job is terrifying!!
Funny story about flying fear… Vegas used to be scared of flying. In order to get over it, she decided she’d just learn to fly a plane. Crazy, right?! But now that she has her pilot’s license and understands how it all works and the engineering behind it, she’s fine with it.
Not crazy at all! I’ve thought that a million times and I think that is incredible that Vegas actually did it! Total bad ass!!!
I hope you are having a great time on the slopes! The older I have gotten the more I am determined to not let fear overcome me. From a slight fear of heights and making myself bungee jump, look over tall ledges etc. to open water fears and making myself jump off the boat to the silly irrational fear of spiders/insects and making myself kill them instead of yelping for help 😉
Your workouts scare the bejesus out of me so I can only imagine what it is like to have to tackle them.
That is awesome Gianna!! Small steps but not giving into the fear – I love it!
Colorado was more amazing then I even thought it would be!