Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Dreams Die From a Fear of Failing

You know those dreams that you carry around for years? The "wouldn't it be nice if..." ones that you like to imagine happening, but aren't totally sure if you'd ever really do or not. Yeah, me too.

At the beginning of 2012, I set a personal goal for myself to run a half-marathon. I have a milestone birthday coming up next year, and thought it would be a good time to make what has long been a far-off dream into an actual goal. I had started running in college, and had worked up to some distance running, but mostly since then ran a few miles here and there to stay in shape and nothing more. I wanted to do something more, though, and had carried around the dream of someday running a half-marathon. And then, of course, proudly sporting one of those 13.1 stickers on the back of my car.

But there was one problem: I didn't know if I would really follow through on it or not. Even at the beginning of the year, in the hype of the new years resolutions, I kept this personal dream to myself, afraid to tell people and then not end up doing it. So I waited. And waited. I ran my usual 3 or 4 miles, and that was it. 

I don't know what it was exactly that caused the shift in me, but there was a shift one day. I began to realize that if I never took the energy to turn my dream into an actual goal, I would not ever complete it. As a psychotherapist myself, I knew how to help others in similar situations, so I began asking myself some of the questions I might ask a client. Things like, "What Am I really afraid of? What is holding me back?" After pinpointing a fear of failing, and being afraid of what others would think if I didn't follow through, I had an epiphany. If I didn't try, I'd still be failing. The fact that this was my dream and I wanted to do it for me had to be enough motivation to get me started. And I had to start telling people. That's the funny thing about fear. When we have it in moderate amounts, it can actually be a good motivator.

So now I am 5 weeks in to my official 12 week training program. I have been running 4 days a week, and have already run further distances then I've ever run. I figured the next step of being fully committed to the process includes posting my intentions on the Internet (hence this blog post). But I'm not worried about not completing it at this point. I'm resolved in myself and I've effectively turned my pipe dream into an attainable goal. Now I just have to buy the sticker...

What would you do if you weren't afraid of failing?