Με χαρά φιλοξενούμε στο Trail Girl το άρθρο της φίλης αναγνώστριας Κατερίνας Παναγή από την Λευκωσία της Κύπρου! Κατερίνα σε ευχαριστούμε!
“Like many other runners, I have endured the ‘pain cave’, my legs feel like bags of sand, my stomach is doing back flips, I’m breathing heavily and my confidence is in a heap on the side of the trail. I don’t know if I can do this. But here’s the thing: I am not special. I am just like every other person in the running community who is trying to work through fear, vulnerability, and doubt to reach the finish line.
If I dig deep into my bucket of courage, I can capitalize on these uneasy feelings in order to learn something about myself, hanging on until the possibility of failure doesn’t seem so scary anymore. This is where the magic happens.
The same is true for most growth opportunities in life. Facing challenges head-on is the best way to learn from our experiences, even those that result in failure. The more we practice working through something difficult, the better we get at navigating it. Carol Dweck coined the term “growth mindset” to capture this idea, that we develop our abilities through effort and dedication to learning. When we are committed to growth, we understand that failure is a necessary part of the process by which real learning occurs. We fail time and time again, learning from our mistakes until we figure out how to solve a problem. When we adhere to a fixed mindset, on the other hand, we view our ability as unchangeable and believe intelligence is something we’re born with. We are afraid to make mistakes and decide that not trying is better than trying and failing.
The key to success is finding the courage to try, even when it opens the door to failure. The past weekend I had the opportunity to run Amiantos Trail Run Race with other members of the running community, whilst getting lost in an unexpected kilometer. The idea of being lost in the deep dark woods can evoke thoughts of hopelessly wandering in circles, shivering as you forage for berries to stay alive, ‘into the wild’ style. However, cruising across the finish line, with scratches on my hands (and yes they were painful), mud on my shoes and clothes, the cold breeze and the endless pain after slipping and falling down many times, caused one of the greatest feelings of my lifetime. In talking with other runners after this event the most asked question was “how did I continue running for 12+ kms?” All I could ever find to reply was “I finally decided to not let the fear of failure keep me from success.”
As runners, we spend a lot of time training physically. If we’re not willing to take at least 20% of the time we train physically to train mentally, we are training ourselves to be disappointed in our efforts.
It didn’t surprise me that I found one of the best articles I have read on overcoming a fear of failure written by Taylor Thomas on their site. Thomas is the owner and founder of Thomas Endurance Coaching so his article “How to Overcome Your Fear of Failure” really resonated with me as I struggled to overcome a mental block that was keeping me from performing at my best.
When I asked myself the ‘afraid to fail’ question, I began to discover that I was afraid of letting down friends that I have trained with, but most importantly myself because I was so preoccupied with the fear of failing, I was beginning the race trying not to fail, instead of trying to succeed. As 2022 came to an end and I began setting goals and training for 2023, I resolved to spend time training myself mentally as well as physically, that I believe will propel me forward to continued success.
Visualizing my runs simply meant that I would replay portions of trails that in the past seemed to trip me up and cause me to run slower. I would picture myself running a rocky, rooted, and twisting upward trail instead of falling flat on my hands or face, I would picture myself picking my way up or down the trail in a way that kept me over my core and balanced instead of out of control or walking.
My hope for all of you is that you will embrace the mental training as much as you embrace the physical training and you will see breakthroughs like never before in 2023. Value the process over the outcome. Growth mindset requires courage and challenges us to view learning as an opportunity to explore our own pain caves. We all have aspirations we’re scared to share because we’re afraid we won’t succeed. Failure is uncomfortable and can be embarrassing, but it is a critical part of growth and learning. Unless we change our mindset and choose to value all parts of the learning process, we remain stagnant. As Brené Brown puts it:
“You can choose courage or you can choose comfort. You cannot have both.”