I don’t like to face my fears. Not many of us do. Fear is uncomfortable. It’s agonizing. It’s irritating. Fear is hard!
It’s harder to face your fears than it is to run away from them. But facing them makes you a better person.
One of my biggest fears is falling. When I played baseball I didn’t like to dive for the ball…same thing with basketball. I only played football for one season and I didn’t do much more than ride the pine—I just didn’t like to be knocked down. I guess I’m a wimp…
Enter Crossfit…again. We don’t do much that could cause us to fall down—rope climbs, box jumps—and the scariest of them all—the Hand Stand Push Up (HSPU). I’m not really afraid of box jumps or rope climbs (though I’m not good at them) but for some reason, I’m absolutely terrified of HSPUs.
I’ve spent the last few months running away from my fear of HSPUs. Recently, my trainer has started posting the week’s WODs (Workouts of the Day) on Sunday night. And since I only get to work out 3X per week, I have plenty of leeway when scheduling my workouts. So whenever I see a WOD with HSPU, I conveniently make myself busy on that day, or declare it a rest day. Basically I’d do anything to avoid a workout with HSPU in it.
But last week, that all changed. One of the best things about my crossfit gym is that our trainer actually “programs” two Workouts every day. And on Thursday last week, I really wanted to do the first workout even though the second one was entirely HSPU’s. Instead of avoiding my weakest crossfit skill this time, I let my desire to complete the first workout override the fear of the second. And you know what…
…it wasn’t that bad! In fact, I even had some success. Whereas before when I’d try and kick up against the wall, I’d let my fear of falling compete in my brain with the thoughts that I was supposed to be thinking that would allow me to successfully complete the movement. Instead of thinking, “tighten your core, lock out your elbows and shoulders, and get vertically stacked” I was thinking “don’t fall on your head and if you do, tuck your chin so you don’t break your neck!”
Once I was able to concentrate on the things that I was supposed to be doing, I found that there was no room in my head for the negative thoughts that were keeping me from being successful. That was a real revelation for me. And I think it’s a breakthrough that’s going to help me with all of my crossfit movements as well—especially that god damn deadlift!
Facing your fears is really hard to do—even if your fear is as wimpy as a simple HSPU. It doesn’t matter if no one else is afraid. It doesn’t matter if it’s actually scary, or if it’s just perceived in your mind as scary. If you are afraid of something, then that something has control over you and that’s no fun.
I’ve still got work to do in conquering my HSPU fear. The next step for me is to practice my kick ups more often so that when I see them in a WOD I don’t run away from that WOD. Then I need to start actually doing the “PU” part of the HSPU. I’ve never even tried because I’ve been so afraid of being upside down, so I have no idea if I can do it. It’s time to figure that out.
What things are you afraid of and what are you actively doing to help overcome those fears?