Be Anxious, Then Go Do It

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.

But I’ve also been here before when I’m supposed to run 3 miles as fast as I can to test my heart rate.

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.

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Comments

  1. Hello David,

    thanks for sharing. I’m glad you published it.
    I find myself again and again in this situation again. Therefore, it is good to read that it is not just me. And it applies to the whole of life. Not just training or sport.

    “So feel it. Let it flow through you. And then go do it anyway.” Thanks for that.

    Greetings,
    Sebastian

  2. This is gold! Well done for hitting the publish button. I’m glad you did.

  3. Karen Reyes Benzi says:

    Great Post. 25 years Navy Corrpsman, over 7 years Oncology RN…when a student or Sailor tells me they are nervous, I say “SO FKN WHAT? You think you are the first? IT ISN’T GOING TO KILL YOU. Your hands will shake and you will sweat and you will breath hard and your heart will HAMMER out of your EARS. You train train train and still it happens, but the training will kick in and you will get it DONE.” Seems to me we have started raising people to be so scared of TRYING!!! b/c they will feel uncomfortable. They have no idea what they have in them, what resilience, what courage, that they gotta fail or fall short some of the time…that preparation helps you PUSH THRU THE SUCK.

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