It’s race day here in New Plymouth, New Zealand. Lotte, my beautiful courageous and talented partner, (I’m her #1 fan and mental coach) is here to compete in the World Cup ITU Triathlon, one of a series of qualifying races for points and Olympic Selection for Japan, 2029. Lotte has been focussed on this race for 2 weeks since her last race in Mooloolaba,Qld where she did great but for her selection, not great enough. Hence, unspoken, even by her coach, Ollie from Tri-Alliance in Melbourne and Eric in Holland, it’s an important race.
It’s a technical bike course. Sharp corners, steep climbs, frightened fast decents and, today, wet roads. Lotte is secretly nervous. And this is what I’d love to speak about as your Inspiration Coach: fear.
Last week I posted on my Instagram (chriswalker_iw ) a short video of a 2 year old at a swimming centre, walking past adults, jumping in a deep pool and adults walking past not even seeing it. Eventually on the video someone rushes in and drags the lifeless body from the pool to begin resuscitation. The end result we don’t see.
I posted this to cause fear. Fear in parents who let their children out of sight at water places, pools, puddles, bath tubs, oceans, lakes and all. I hope it worked. Fear is a powerful motivator of behaviour. In fact, all morals, ethics, laws and rules are made from fear. It works and nature made no mistake in giving it to us.
But here today, at the Triathlon, fear has no place. Fear at a triathlon is like fear in life: it turns the individual into a reactive, uncharacteristicly mean, sensitive to every comment, distracted and hard. Humour is gone, race face is on. As a partner it’s ugly to watch and easy to react to. It’s easy as a coach to say “don’t fear” but deep down, these things can sit waiting for a target. Today, there’s a perfect target, the race.
Lotte doesn’t fear the race. She’s got a pain threshold like a wild tiger. But her habit is fear. When it comes up, everything I do is wrong.
I’ve seen this reaction in people toward their partner who aren’t actually in a life threatening race. They are in life, fearing divorce, fearing poverty, fearing repeating their parent’s mistakes. Fear drives good people into shit spaces and from there, the lunatics have taken over the asylum – inspiration, love, gratitude, kindness are impossible.
Fear drains goodness from the human heart. It drains energy from the body. Fear draws blood in preparation for a fight of flight. Fear drives people to react and beg. It’s understandable in a life threatening sport, but still extremely unhealthy.
Self doubt breeds an unrealistic fear. As we’ve said, fear has benefits, most of which are short term instantaneous bursts of dark, ugly and violent energy. Fight or flight, the energy of fear is terrorism at its worst.
Self- doubt sits beneath unrealistic and unresolved issues that cause a fear trigger. Reactive, sexist, nasty, defensive, reactive. Yes, self doubt looks like real fear but it’s roots are in much less honest mind states. States you can change, if you choose.