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Sweeten the Taste of Fear

August 10, 2012

Trying something new is scary.

Often our natural reaction is to avoid feeling vulnerable and exposed. Duh, right?

Except we know those are exactly the types of experiences that help us grow. Learn. Be better.

It was this (annoying but true) perspective that inspired my first triathlon last weekend – the Tri for the Cure.

Hugely motivated by the sweet friends who were willing to hop on board (for similar reasons or just because they ROCK) I still felt major panic.

Now that it’s (happily) over, I’ve been reflecting on a few key things that made it work (aside from the awesome early morning hairdo).

Whether it’s a race, new hobby, or old lingering fear, these universal tips for tackling the next “no-thank-you-but-yes-I-kind-of-want-to-but-I’m-really-scared” challenge may come in handy.

5 Ways to Sweeten the Taste of Fear

1. Declare It

Say it. Say it loud. Spray it if you need to. Tell anyone who will listen. It will become a self fulfilling prophecy and you’ll have people to be accountable to everywhere you turn.

2. Rally the Troops

Ask (beg or bribe) others to do it with you. Having friends/family/co-workers engage with you offers sweet opportunities to incorporate the preparations into your regular routine, providing a sense of normalcy (Kirsten and I often combined our early morning swims with breakfast meetings). You also get to cross-motivate, share stories, and complain about required sacrifices.

3. Do (but don’t overdo) Due Diligence

Gather information. Ask for tips. Watch youtube videos. Get comfortable with what you’re taking on. But also be careful not to gather so much info you get overwhelmed.

My bike was doing just fine until I learned details about tire pressure, freaked out and ending up with a flat tire at 7 pm on the eve of the race. I really doubt the extra 10 psi I was concerned about made even a 10 second difference.

*Speaking of information – for anyone considering a triathlon, Kirsten found this great Triathlon Training blog post from Healthy Tipping Point. Good stuff.

4. Get organized

Get your supplies ready in advance. Practice setting up if needed. Geek out on this to minimize any day-of anxiety.

There was a huge sigh of relief as I took this photo. Kind of like that oddly warm & fuzzy moment when you sit down on the plane for a big trip knowing you did all you could and you’re S.O.L. on anything you missed. Love that feeling.

 (*Huge thanks to Jen & Mason for the compression socks that kept the blood flowing at 5 am.)

5. Sit in the Fear

Even with all the prep, training, positive affirmations, and killer pink knee highs, a moment arrived while waiting to enter the water when the fear really kicked in. Seconds from jumping in, a Blake Lively look-alike in pro gear grabbed me by the shoulders, looked me in the eyes and said “You’re going to freak out for 15 seconds. Just keep swimming. It will be ok.”

She was so right (except it was more like 15 minutes). But I was ok. I knew I was going to be scared and when it happened I was able to just sit in it and be scared. I kept swimming (thank you breast stroke) and let the fear percolate. And slowly, like all things in life, it passed.

Sunday was a day of growth. Good stuff. Topped off with a sweet celebration at the end and the bonus aspect of modeling how to take on new challenges. This one definitely involved our village.

Proud of mommy (or excited to get to the sweet jumpy castle at the after race party?).

Huge congratulations to Rachel, Kirsten, & Carla (who ranked 2nd in her division!!!) for rocking this day!

Share with us – how do you sweeten the taste of fear? 


4 Comments leave one →
  1. August 10, 2012 11:03 am

    Way to go! Congratulations to all of you! Surmounting the challenges that come your way is the way to enrich your life!

  2. August 10, 2012 11:19 am

    Hi, Kristi, congratulations on your first tri! I did my first one four years ago, and just completed my second Half Ironman this last Sunday – and am considering Ironman Wisconsin in 2013. It’s addicting, isn’t it? 🙂 Triathlon is just one of many new things that I’ve tried in the last few years – including learning how to swim, gettiing my first (now I have three) bike, getting certified in scuba diving, learning to ride (horses), Spanish lessons, learning to shoot, etc. I agree with your premise about fear. I wrote a similar post about my experiences a few months ago, here:

  3. August 10, 2012 12:45 pm

    Awe Sarah – you are awesome!! So love your commitment to continued growth and striving to be your best! Looks like you’ve had a full few years! LOVE your post and share your take on the shooting experience. Best of luck with your continued accomplishments! sweetly,kristi

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The Blog of Author Tim Ferriss

Tim Ferriss's 4-Hour Workweek and Lifestyle Design Blog. Tim is an author of 5 #1 NYT/WSJ bestsellers, investor (FB, Uber, Twitter, 50+ more), and host of The Tim Ferriss Show podcast (400M+ downloads)

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