I’m nearly a mile up in the air sitting in the open door of an airplane. It’s nighttime. I’ve got fireworks strapped to my leg. On my back there are a couple hundred square feet of nylon that are supposed to save my life. Nylon and fire don’t usually mix well. Down below, I’ve got a square of concrete not much bigger than a basketball court to land in, surrounded by people and multi-million dollar airplanes include the Navy’s Blue Angels. I don’t feel like I can do this. I could climb back inside, and while it would hurt my pride tremendously (and my team in terms of completing their performance) at least I wouldn’t be taking an ambulance ride (or worse) if I failed.
But I’ve been here before.
On basically every skydive I’ve made before I’ve landed in the same size area or smaller – over 800 times. I have the skill and the ability.
I’ve been here before when I’ve gotten under the bar for a new PR squat.
I’ve been here before when I’m pulling on a PR deadlift, the bar isn’t moving (much) and I’m wondering if this is when I find out all those rumors are true and your spine will really shoot out your ass from deadlifting.
I’ve been here before when I’m on the first mile of a several-mile tempo run and I’m sure I can’t possibly keep this up.
I’ve been here before when I’m stepping out on the platform to attempt a weight I may have never done before, or is at the very edge of my limits and everyone is watching.
It’s okay to feel that anxiety, that fear, that nervousness. There’s no sense in pretending it’s not there, because it is. And it’s either going to stop you from taking action or it’s not. So feel it. Let it flow through you. And then go do it anyway.
If you can’t do it, take a small step backwards to whatever makes you just a little bit less nervous and then do that.
But if you’re not stepping through that anxiety sometimes, you’re not winning. You’re not finding out what it feels like when you overcome that anxiety, when you inform your senses, your intuition, your judgement that you are in fact capable of more.