Back in March, I took a mountain biking trip through the High Atlas in Morocco; so far it’s been the best trip of my life. I came back from this trip high on life, and ready to mountain bike my summer away. I mountain biked better than I’d expected on the trip, so I felt quite confident of myself when I hit the trails upon returning. On a lunchtime ride, I pushed my new sense of confidence and found myself flying over my handlebars to avoid hitting a tree. I didn’t think I’d hurt myself at first until my ribs starting hurting as I pedaled back. I didn’t think much of it even then, but a few hours later, it was clear I’d bruised a few ribs.
It took well over 8 weeks for my ribs to heal and during that time, I didn’t mountain bike much at all…so when the time came for me to really get back on my bike on a trip to Lake Bled, I noticed something of great concern. I noticed I was riding my breaks. Once I noticed I was riding my breaks, I had to be honest with myself – I was scared. I stopped on the trail and was met with a plethora of emotions. I was disappointed in myself, I was upset fear had crept in on me, and I knew I needed to get over it.
Getting Over a Fear
One of the major things I work on with my clients through the Loop of Confidence is how to overcome fears. Step 1 to overcoming a fear, is to understand it and to know what it’s rooted on.
The fear I was facing that day on the trail (and still working through) is not the fear of crashing on my mountain bike. No, this is a much more powerful and deep rooted fear. It’s the fear I have of being injured in a way that prohibits me from doing the things I love. I hate not being able to do the things I love. I don’t want anything stopping me or slowing me down…because of that, I’m afraid of getting hurt in a way I got hurt from my mountain bike crash. The bruised ribs kept me from biking, hiking, running, the gym and all the other physical activities I love. Mountain biking became correlated to a threat to everything else I love.
Fear Robs What You Love
Fear became an enemy to my love for mountain biking. I needed to remember I love to mountain bike. It’s worth the risk of getting injured in order to keep doing something I love. The key being, remembering I love to mountain bike.
To remind myself I love to mountain bike, I decided to climb up a hill and told myself I would let it rip going down, avoid using the breaks and “whooooo” all the way down. The whooing was necessary to overwrite my brain telling me: “I’m afraid, I don’t like this.” The whooing would ensure my brain would start thinking:”Wow, this is fun, I love this.”
It worked, I got down the hill without using the breaks and I felt more exhilarated. Unfortunately, I didn’t have time to do it a few more times to really re-program the damage the fear had cause, but I’m continuing the work on it.
Fear Teaches You about Yourself
Again, sounding like a broken record, but the only way to overcome a fear is to understand it and then face it. As I also mentioned, the real fear I have to get over is not of crashing on my mountain bike, but the actual fear of life without being able to do the things I love if something serious was to happen where I would have to stop all my physical activities.
While I work on reconnecting with my love of mountain biking, I also have to acknowledge what this fear is letting me know, I have too many attachment and dependencies on the activities I love. I clearly can’t imagine living a happy life if I wasn’t able to travel, bike, hike, play outdoors and hit the gym. These things have become the most important aspects of who I am and do. In order to make the fear go away, I have to face it. I have to face I’m off kilter. I have to regain a better sense of balance and connect with other things, activities and people in my life that are important, and that don’t require me to be in top physical health. I can’t go on thinking a certain type of injury is going to ruin my life.
Our lives are never fully free of fears; no matter how committed we are to overcoming them. The key is to acknowledge and face them to find out what they might be stealing from our lives and/or what they have to teach us.
Ready to Overcome Fear?
Have you found these tips helpful? If so contact Ann Bernard, Confidence Builder here. You can also sign up for Ann’s Loop of Confidence course. This course will teach you everything you need to know to have the confidence to thrive in life and all your future adventures! Contact Ann Bernard today.
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