Guest post by Debbie Croft:
At the beginning of summer, I told myself I was going to do the Sprint Triathlon at Nyon as it had been more than 2 years since I had entered an event; yet it was the 3rd week in July and I still hadn’t signed up. I was training but rather half-heartedly. So, what pushed me to sign up and properly commit 2.5 weeks prior to the event? It was my 8 year old daughter. She asked me if she could do the ‘Tri Kids’ having seen a poster at the pool, and at the same time, explained that she was nervous. I heard myself ask her, “what are you nervous about?”. We discussed it and then, I shared the thought that “it’s good to be scared because you feel such a great sense of achievement afterwards”. As she reflected on that, I reflected on my own question, “so, why are you holding back Debbie from signing up?”.
We know the theory – we know that if we truly step out of our comfort zone and do something that scares us, it does gives us the great sense of achievement – it also boosts our confidence, self-esteem and generally puts a ‘spring in our step’ ; we feel empowered. Suddenly, we have more courage and conviction to tackle other challenges too and we ‘grow’ as a result. So, given that we know all these benefits and the positive impact ‘stretching ourselves’ has, what holds us back?
A common theme is that our fear is stronger than our desire for fulfilment. That fear, which leads to self-sabotage comes in a variety of guises – in the coaching world we label it as the voice of an internal Saboteur. The Saboteur may recite an old litany of judgement, rules and limiting beliefs. It says things like “you can’t do this”,” who do you think you are?”, “you need to be much more skilled and specialised to do this”, “you’re wasting your time”, “you’re too young/old/fat/thin”.. In fact, whenever people take the initiative to change their lives, an alarm sounds and the Saboteur will awaken!
Over the summer, you may have started to think about changes you would like to make but they seem ‘impossible’. It could be around fitness, weight loss, re-training or considering a new career which will work around the children. It is likely that the Saboteur is having a party, telling you all the reasons why you should not make any changes! So my request is to please watch this clip and then reflect on the below 2 questions:
- Where am I holding myself back?
- What is/are my dream/s?
Making time to even consider your dreams and focusing on what you would like allows you to take steps and make commitments to create the future and fulfilment you desire. The desire for fulfilment then becomes stronger than the fear and the voice of the Saboteur!
To conclude my story, both my children ended up doing the TriKids and loving it. My eldest was nervous even though she really wanted to do it, and I could really empathise with her fears because I had them too! Maybe your children are also on the cusp of something new, be it crèche, school, new teacher and they have fears about the pending change. You are probably full of great advice and reassurance. I wonder what opens up for them when you can also say that you are doing something new, making a change and you’re nervous too? It ‘normalises’ the fear and they see their parent facing a fear and doing it anyway.
As for me, I was in the water at 08:30 in the morning on Sunday, as the rain came down, with a nervous, sick feeling in my stomach. I did a couple of strokes to acclimatise to the water and that was my turning point. I thought to myself, “you’re in it now, you know what you will feel like at the end, so enjoy it and know you can do this!”. Of course, at the finishing line, I was delighted and proud of my achievement, although had less of a physical ‘spring in my step’ on this occasion!
Certified Professional Co-Active Coach, CPCC, ACC
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Note from the blog owner, Michelle:
I was planning on participating in the Triathlon this year too (Geneva or Nyon), but a cuboid injury following the Geneva half-marathon “sabotaged” my dream. So instead I volunteered, with my son, through Swiss Olympic, and saw Debbie at the finish line with a great big smile on her face: accomplishment.