Fear of achieving your goals
It was in the final days before my first Ultra run that I noticed a strange question popping up briefly in my mind: "What if I will make it?".
It was a fear that surprised me.
Intuitively I knew why. If I was going to succeed, I was not only going to put myself through it again, but also would want to improve on time and distance. I would shift the measuring rod up higher. And that meant more hard work than ever before. More pain. More mental games. More of a lot of stuff I do not really want.
With every change comes challenge.
With every change comes discomfort.
When you succeed at something, not only you have to keep putting in the work that brought you there to stay there. Also it triggers the fact that - since you accomplished this - there is probably way more in the tank. Much more is possible. And with every change comes challenge. With every change comes discomfort. And if one thing we as human beings like to avoid it is probably pain and discomfort.
Fear of failure
Personally I do not know anyone who hasn't ever experienced the fear to fail at something. It is a well know and well documented human condition. As are the methods on how to beat it.
Nevertheless every form of anxiety has one common aspect to it: discomfort.
Fearing failure, we are anxious to loose the comfort of being good enough.
Fearing the achievement of your goals, we are anxious about the new norm and the discomfort it brings.
Embrace the suck
At the end of 2019 I read the just released book by David Goggins, "Can't hurt me". This book is a story about his life and how he beat both fear of failing and fear of succeeding. Definitely a recommended read (I really enjoyed the audio version which I listened to during my runs).
One thing for me stood out from all the roughness David Goggins lays out: embrace the discomfort. Embrace the suck. Embrace the pain.
Why? Life is on the other side of pain. Happiness is on the other side of discomfort. Discomfort pushed you to grow.
Why embrace it and not resist it? Whatever you fight you feed. It grows. Harness the pain and the discomfort and use it to propel you forward. Stop resisting it and feel miserable about it - it won't make it go away...
I have goals, desired outcomes, results I want to achieve in 2021. On many levels. There's no way I will get there without getting out of my comfort zone. Without going through suck. I decide to look forward to it, knowing it will make me stronger and a better human being.
Wishing someone a happy new year? Experiencing true happiness is a journey involving pain and disccomfort. Be careful what you wish for 😉.