Goals, Challenges and Fear
A good friend of mine recently set off on a massive challenge that he didn't manage to complete all of. After chatting things through on the phone after he got home we both realised that despite this it had been a success. This got me thinking about goals, challenges and our fear of failure...!
Speaking from my personal perspective I can tell you that I have a very strong tendency to set myself goals that I'm really fairly sure that I can complete. I'm a big planner and will have it all mapped out as to how I need to train, what skills I need and what I need to plan to complete a particular challenge. But this got my thinking; does this mean that I don't set myself challenges I don't think I can comfortably do? Would I experience a very different aspect to these challenges if I "winged it" just a bit more or picked things that I couldn't confidently say I could complete?
I work with runners of all levels and have rarely had anyone come to me with a goal that I don't think they can they can go. Well, sometimes the timescales are a little on the dangerous side, but generally I'll always do what I can to help. From the work I do I'm a great believer in "feel the fear and do it anyway" but somehow I'm not as good at putting it into practice myself...!
So I'd love you to try an exercise that I set myself recently. I spent 20-30 minutes in a quiet space with a pencil and paper really letting my mind go wild with big dreams and ideas I've had over the years and, without over thinking things, I just wrote them all down. From my childhood dream of becoming an astronaut to my wish to travel the whole of the England Coast Path on foot, and a long held goal of getting my Motorcycle licence which is yet to happen.
What's on your list?
It's also an interesting idea to do a similar exercise with what you love about running. For me doing this when I was recovering from a big surgery worked well as I had lots to reflect on running and what I really missed about it. It surprised me that it wasn't the races, or the track sessions, it was the long slow runs, on trails exploring with a map and compass. Those years of chasing PBs were fun in a way but it turns out long offroad stuff is where my heart lies.
So what would you do if you could pause the fear of failure for a while? A what, really, is stopping you from trying them? Because even if you only complete part of a fun and epic adventure or challenge it's still epic and you'll learn a lot from it! :)