A funny thing happened on my way to the gym last week…I started to get nervous.
During our vacation the week prior, I hadn’t worked out with the same frequency, or intensity, that I had become accustomed to since we launched Fit Culture in April.
So, as I headed to Tabata Boot Camp early Monday, a little voice in my head started asking a series of annoying questions:
“What if it’s too hard?”
“What if you can’t keep up?”
“What if you embarrass yourself?
Has this ever happened to you? Have you ever gotten nervous, anxious or scared in this way before? Does the little “gremlin” that lives in my head, live in yours, too?
If so, what do you do? How do you face that fear? How do you get past it?
A technique that I find particularly helpful in situations like this is what I call “Best Dad.”
A Smart Strategy To Help You Face Your Fear
“Best Dad” (or Mom) is a simple process in which you take the fear that you are facing, and imagine that it’s your son or daughter who’s dealing with it.
Specifically, you imagine that these “little voice” questions (e.g. “but what if it’s really hard?” “what if I can’t keep up?”) are coming from your child and answer the way you would if you were being the “best” parent you can be.
Done well, this technique strips the questions of their emotion (e.g. fear) and allows you to address the questions in an objective and principled way.
For example, in this situation, here’s what my inner dialogue sounded like:
What if it’s too hard?
“Best Dad”: That’s OK. You want it to be hard. Hard is good; if it’s not hard, you’re not growing.
What if I can’t keep up?
“Best Dad”: It’s not a competition. You don’t have to “keep up,” you just have to do your best.
What if I embarrass myself?
“Best Dad”: Never let uncertainty hold you back from trying something you’re not-quite-sure you can do. That’s not embarrassing, that’s courageous.
Needless to say, after completing this short thought exercise I felt a lot differently about the workout ahead of me. I made it to the gym on time, gave it my all and, loved every minute of the butt-kicking I received 🙂
Even better than the physical workout? The knowledge that I had, once again, exercised my ability to face my fear and work through it.
Where is fear holding you back? How might you use the “Best Mom/Dad” strategy to face your fear and work through it?