Have you ever been paralysed by the fear of failure? I used to spend a lot of time playing small and pretending I didn’t really want things, things I actually REALLY wanted, because I was so scared of getting it wrong.
When I was drinking too much (and hiding it brilliantly), I had an awesome group of running buddies.
Once or twice a week we’d head out to the boardwalk and pound along for forty minutes or an hour. At that point in our lives, most of us had babies and small kids, and to be honest, it was just a way of getting some “me time” and some space outside the house. We weren’t super athletes. I don’t think I even knew what a PB was.
And even though I was drinking a lot at night, I’d always get up the next day (with a freaking sore head and furry mouth) and function well. I could Do the Do. I could run.
But I didn’t run very well, or fast. And when our local running club organised a Running Festival, I entered along with everyone else and I did ok. Nothing great, just ok. A lot of people my age (40-something) did a LOT better though, and that pissed me off. I’ve always been pretty sporty and it was annoying that I was in the second half on the results board.
The next year when the Running Festival came round, I decided to set myself a goal. To run the 10k in under an hour. Which is nothing too ambitious. Just enough of a stretch. I trained for weeks beforehand (often with a low-grade hangover), gave it my all on the day – and got 30 seconds over an hour! Dammit!
It was so annoying. So the next year I trained more and tried harder. And still got just over an hour. I was so pissed off!
Then life changed. My frequent attempts to stop drinking started to bear fruit. I went for longer and longer periods of not drinking until months had passed and I felt I could happily say I was a non-drinker. We decided to buy a boat and go sailing for a year (and in all honesty, this was because my life suddenly seemed full of possibilities now I was no longer chained to an endless succession of wine bottles). We rented the house out, pulled the kids out of school and sailed off into the sunset. I forgot about running for a while.
When we decided to be land based once more, fairly recently, sold the boat and moved ashore, I found I wanted to run again. I was a few years older and didn’t expect too much of myself. Some friends said running was unkind to your body and joints. One friend even said it gave you “runners skin”, ie a saggy-haggy face. I’m not sure that’s true, but decided I didn’t care anyway.
I started getting up a bit earlier and going out along the esplanade a couple of times a week. I could only run-walk-run a couple of kilometres to start with. I bought new running shoes, and a visor.
After a while I found I could run 3km without stopping. Whoop! I got some fancy-pants Bluetooth headphones and what Americans call (hilariously) a fanny-pack for my phone and keys. I loved having music to run to, and I got to 4km. I was feeling pretty pleased with myself. I took selfies of myself, red, puffing and jublilant, holding four fingers up. Then five fingers. Then, amazingly, seven.
I decided it was time to go for the big one. The big ten.
I can’t tell you how good it felt, that Saturday morning, to clock up 10km on my Strava. I ran the whole way, and found it pretty hard, but I did it. I made a decision before I started to be in the moment, to focus on one foot in front of the other. I cranked the beats up and just ran.
Amazingly, my time was under one hour. I don’t know if that’s a happy result of being a non drinker. Being alcohol free would make a difference, of course, BUT I’m also a few years older.
Now, I’m pretty happy to say that I run regularly, and when I run 10km, it’s often a sub-60 (as we runners like to say!).
I’m proud of that, but what I’m really proud of is that I just gave it a go. I didn’t know for certain what the result would be, but I realised that I just had to try.
That’s SO SO hard sometimes! We want to know what the outcome will be. We want to know that, when we invest ourselves, we get rewarded.
I didn’t realise that it’s ok to say “I don’t know if I can do that. But I’m going to find out more and give it a go”. That “doing it” is actually the only way to move forward in life. If you wait until you’re ready, you’ll never do it.
I think most of us know this deep down. But it’s easier to procrastinate, because if we put it off long enough, we’ll never fail, because we never actually do it. Ever.
We’ll never fail, but we’ll never move or grow or have a shot at success.
So let the rhythm move you! What are your goals? What do you want?
If you need help with working out what your heart wishes for, do a search for “goal setting” (I personally love Marie Forleo for her empowering and encouraging approach).
If you need help with changing your relationship with alcohol, grab my FREE Get Started Plan. You have nothing to lose.
Live an audacious life!