Confronting Fear In Business - Lessons Learned BMX Racing
The story I told centered on how I’d learned to force myself through periods of discomfort to find progress. I’ve learned that anxiety or fear can sometimes present themselves before new experiences and opportunities to grow.
So often, the thing that feels like Fear, is truly Uncomfortable Progress.
It feels unfamiliar and uncertain. It might feel risky.
Learning to harness that feeling, and reasoning within it, has been a great help to me as I navigate new hurdles, new offerings, and new partnerships. I share this with you because I hope that it will help you, too, when mild (or bold) pangs of doubt or concern begin to hover in your mind.
If you are in new territory professionally, particularly if you are leveling up in your business, the chances are high that you are feeling uncomfortable, and that discomfort is disguised as fear.
I used my experience as a relatively new BMX Racer in my fear analogy. Here’s a little more background on that.
My whole family races BMX. Our kids are super serious about it, and are getting pretty good at it! My husband and I enjoy it, and we love the time together as a family. Here we are in our Get A Grip BMX Racing Team Jersey’s at a race.
I’d been training and was starting to feel pretty comfortable with my skills. I practiced the track in the video below several times and felt confident that I would, at least, finish the race in tact.
This photo was taken on a practice lap. I was feeling nervous, like I always do before a race.
I lined up to practice with my husband. The best way to get over nerves is to practice, right?
You can see what happens here. I’m the one that doesn’t get past that first berm. Don’t worry, it only takes about 21 seconds to get to my unceremonious crash.
I’ll spare you the gory images, but most of the points of my body that protrude were missing skin for awhile. I broke my ribs. I was unable to ride my bike for nearly two months while my body, and my pride healed. (For the rest of the post, I should note that I had no idea that I had broken my ribs and wouldn’t know that for several more days until they really started to bother me.)
You can see the damage I did to my helmet here when I skidded and rolled after my pedal hit that asphalt curve. (One reason I’ll never NOT wear a full-face helmet, by the way).
The bottom line, is that the crash was unexpected.
I didn’t even know what happened right away because it happened so fast.
It was SCARY.
And, even though I tried to act like it didn’t,
IT HURT LIKE HELL.
But, when I realized what happened, and that I was on the ground, all eyes watching, I had a decision to make.
I briefly considered limping off with my twisted-up bike. I did think about it. People might not have even blamed me for doing that.
I’m glad that I didn’t, though.
I untwisted my handle bars because they had spun around on themselves, garbling up the brake lines.
I rode the rest of the track. Not fast. And, not necessarily well.
I had another race to race in an hour or so.
I wasn’t wearing gear I should have had on. So, I went to a vendor, and I bought it and put it on.
I asked some of the more experienced racers about how to approach the curve.
I realized that I pedaled deeper into the curve in the race than I had in practice. I hadn’t crashed in practice. Why would I do something I had not practiced?
Even though I had crashed, and I had been nervous, and scared, and embarrassed, and little wounded, I still felt even more ready to race the second race.
Here I am after putting on that new protective gear before race time.
I raced the second race.
That, too, was not a great race.
Being an entrepreneur is so much like this BMX Race where I made mistakes, terrible mistakes, and learned from them even though fear, and obstacles, were with me every step of the way.
I came out of that second race smarter than I was before.
Now, I approach the curves differently.
I wear all the protective gear.
I practice what I’ll do in a race.
Progress was waiting on the other side of fear.
Are you feeling anxious or a little afraid to move forward in your business?
Breathe & Go.
Remember, even if you fall off your bike, you can get back on. And, you might just become Better.