Overcoming Fear and Starting to Do

“The way to get started is to quit talking and start doing.” – Walt Disney

These wise words from Walt Disney have been inspiring people to take action for decades. As someone who has struggled with a fear of running due to past knee injuries, I truly understand the mental block that words can create versus actually taking that first step.

That’s why I decided it was time to stop just talking about getting back into shape and challenging myself and to finally do something about it. I signed up for a 5k Spartan Race happening in Shanghai in April 2023. While 5 kilometers may not seem like a long distance to many, it’s a big challenge for me given my history of injuries and lack of consistent exercise lately due to business travel (which I am extremely grateful for).

I know to overcome both my physical limitations and mental fears, I need to adopt a mindset of continuous progress over immediate perfection. Instead of worrying about my speed or comparing myself to others, I have decided to celebrate every successful run, no matter how short or slow. Taking walking breaks does not mean failure – it means listening to my body and ensuring I can complete the entire distance.

I’m working with a wonderful coach Kelly Chen and some days the psychological battle seems bigger than the physical task ahead. But I’m finding that with patience and by taking things step-by-step, my endurance and confidence are growing each week. The support of friends and family cheering me on also helps drown out the doubts creeping into my mind.

My goal with this race is not to win any awards, but to win over my fears. To prove to myself that I can challenge my limits, be uncomfortable, and overcome. I’m learning the importance of embracing both success and struggle – it’s in those tough moments that we often experience our greatest growth.

From a coaching perspective here are some tips on developing a growth mindset, self-motivation, and focus:

Developing a Growth Mindset to Achieve Your Goals

We’ve all been in a situation where we want to make a change or achieve a new goal but seem to lack the motivation or clarity to get started. It’s easy to feel stuck like our abilities are fixed rather than something we have the power to develop. However, research shows having a “growth mindset” allows us to stay motivated even when facing challenges or setbacks. So how can we cultivate one?

Gain Clarity on What Inspires You

The first step is gaining clarity on what truly excites or fulfills you. Get clear on your “why” – the deeper purpose that drives you. Ask yourself what specific areas of your life or work you want to grow. Having that crystal clear vision of your “True North” helps you make progress even on difficult days.

Believe Improvement is Possible

Those with a growth mindset believe qualities like intelligence and talent can be developed through effort, good strategies and input from others. Replace beliefs that you can’t improve or change with the idea that every day is an opportunity to learn and grow. Commit to ongoing learning in your interests and work.

Welcome Struggle as Part of the Process

Understand that struggle, risk of failure and plateaus are natural parts of progress. Instead of fearing challenges, reframe them as opportunities to expand your capabilities. Celebrate small wins each day that move you closer to your goal. Shift your focus from results to enjoying the journey.

Find Accountability Partners

Surround yourself with others also committed to growth. Form study groups, workout partners, or mentorships to challenge and motivate each other. Getting an outside perspective helps you remove blind spots and stay resilient when motivation wavers.

Practice Self-Compassion

We all have times when self-doubt creeps in. Remember to encourage yourself with the same compassion you would a friend. Affirm your strengths daily and appreciate each step forward, not just the result. Developing a growth mindset is a lifelong journey – focus on continuous progress over perfection.

With clarity, belief in yourself, and an ongoing dedication to learning and developing new skills, you have the power to achieve any goals and overcome any challenges. Stay determined and let your growth fuel further growth!

How will you challenge yourself this year? What walls are you ready to break down, both physically and mentally? I invite you to join me in taking action towards your goals, one step at a time, so we can finish 2024 even stronger than we started.

The journey of a thousand miles begins with one single step. I’m eager to walk alongside you!

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