On the Other Side of Fear and Exhaustion
I am competing in a 30km ski race (the Spirit of the Rivers Loppet) that takes place tomorrow morning in Prince George. I’ve never skied that far in my life and I get the impression that some people think I’ve had a mid-life crisis or something when I mention signing up for races like this. In reality though, I have discovered that life is so much more meaningful when you get out of your comfort zone. Deep down we all want to know what we are capable of accomplishing. We all want to believe that when we are faced with a challenge that we will rise to the occasion, and that we won’t give up under difficult circumstances. But so many of us have come to seek a life of comfort and we avoid any situations in which we might fail and be embarrassed in front of others. I know that I’ve been guilty of this most of my life.
This morning I was privileged to be a judge at the Toastmasters International Speech Competition for our district. It was so inspiring to witness the courage of each of the speakers who shared heartfelt messages with the audience.
There is something similar between pushing yourself to greater distances in endurance racing and getting up in front of an audience to give a speech. In both of these situations you risk failing in front of other people.
There is something so gratifying about getting past your fears and giving a moving speech to an audience. I could see the joy in the faces of the speakers this morning after they were finished. And there is something equally satisfying about pushing yourself past that point in a long-distance race where you tell yourself, “I can’t go any further” and somehow you fight through the exhaustion and the pain and you find a way to push through to the end.
I know that tomorrow when I hit those big uphill climbs around the 16-20km mark of the race, I’m going to want to quit. But I also know that I’m going to find that part deep down inside me that is going to rise to the challenge. And damn it is going to feel amazing when I cross that finish line!
Whether you are overcoming your fears by getting in front of an audience to deliver a heartfelt speech or pushing past your self-imposed limitations in an endurance race, the rewards are the same: knowing that you rose to the occasion in the face of a challenge and you did not back down. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Now I ask you, dear reader: how could your life change if you pushed yourself past your comfort zone?
Finally, if you know of any young men who are struggling and could benefit from working with a life-coach who has been where they’ve been, I encourage you to put them in touch with me.
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That is the face of a man that just skied 30km! I did manage to complete the race in a time of 2 hours, 9 minutes and 27 seconds.