5 Minute Reads - Fear and Failure

5 Minutes Reads – Fear and Failure

Health and Fitness Topics Explored with Kyle in 1,500 Words or Less

From the Community: “So many athletes are afraid of failure when it comes to joining a CrossFit gym.  1) What would you tell them about approaching the concept of failure? 2) What failures scare each of the coaches about being a coach as it relates to CrossFit?”

Like it or not, failure is going to be a part of your life.  The more you embrace it, the freer you will be to explore and figure out what is really going to make you happy.  You need to look at failure as having a net positive impact on your life. The quicker you can fail, the quicker you can move on and adapt to find success and what you truly love.  Too often people think their failures will negatively define them.  Your successes define you.  If you never try, you cannot succeed.  Failure teaches us lessons and helps us figure out what we can be successful in.  Of course, there are situations where failing is net negative, so you really need to think about the risks and decide for yourself if failing is actually that bad.  

If someone is not willing to fail, then the reality is they are too scared to find out if they actually are right or embarrassed to be wrong.  Are they right about the person they are, the idea they have, or what they are capable of.  They are correct, if they do not try, then they will never fail.  But, they will always have this thing, which may or may not be true, that they use to define who they are.  It is better to know the truth than it is to worry about being right or wrong.  An example I think most people can relate to is having a crush on someone and not acting on it.  We all know that it takes dating someone for a long time to really see the real person they are and how well you connect.  People romanticize what their life will be like if they were dating their crush and the reality is they don’t really know that person well enough to know for sure.  Fear of failure and embarrassment keeps people for asking that person out. They may never figure out if that person likes them back or if they really are the person they are making them out to be in their head.  We need to test the stories we tell ourselves.

When you try, you either succeed or fail.  Success is good for obvious reasons.  People are so scared of failing, but why?  Once they fail, they can learn and either make adjustments to take another crack at it or they can move on to a new idea.  Both can be net positive and both put them closer to success than before they tried.  Analyze the risk and be realistic about what failure actually means.  If the negatives of failing are superficial, then get over it and just try already.  We learn from trying and most of the time, failing pushes us further along a path that will eventually make our lives happier.

Now, to what was actually asked: fear of failure about joining a CrossFit gym.  Like most situations, when you really think about it, it is hard to not find positives that would come out of even the most ridiculous “fail” scenarios.  This was actually a lot harder to write about than I thought, so I’ll just list the reasons that I could come up with that people may be scared of?

Everyone is going to be so fit, what if I can’t do it?  Everyone can do it because we are going to teach you how to scale every workout and every exercise to meet your fitness level and needs.  It is not going to be easy.  If it was easy, everyone in the world would be in shape.  We are going to help you take it slow in the beginning, learn technique, and build up how much and how fast you go over time.  Take small, consistent steps and you won’t recognize what you can do a year from now.  

If there is something you truly cannot do, if it is something you want to be able to do, we are going to help you overcome it.  If you don’t try, then you get to not be able to do that thing for the rest of your life.  It’s your choice.  

What if it is too hard for me? What would that look like and what would happen to you?  Maybe you have to stop in the middle of a workout because you are really out of breath. Who cares!  You worked out.  Not only did you work out, you worked out hard enough to make it hard for you.  You will survive and you will be better for it.  Next time you will do a little bit more and you are going to build on that.  If the mental challenge of hard work ends up being too much for you, then you quit and find something less challenging.  Again, that would not be a big deal.  Everyone can do CrossFit, but not everyone likes to do CrossFit.  Trying will help you learn more about what you like. 

What if I get hurt? It’s a possibility and if you did, it wouldn’t be that big of a deal anyway.  Anything active carries a risk of injury.  In my opinion, a bigger risk is living a sedentary lifestyle which causes nagging pains and has a negative effect on your health.  Without exercise and working on functional movements, when you play with your kids or go to the beach, how do you expect your body to be ready for that?  That is where the risk of injury is high and it is truly at a very inopportune time.  I have been doing CrossFit since 2009 and have dealt with a few relatively minor injuries.  Each time, I have learned from them and have come back stronger and fitter.  My body is more resilient and capable now than it has ever been.

How many older people do you know who have gotten back/knee/shoulder/hip surgery and how many of those people are even active?  We are very good at teaching and prioritizing proper technique and will minimize your chances of getting hurt.  We have a very good track record when it comes to resolving pain and learning to move properly.  

I don’t know how to use the equipment, what if I feel lost?  The only way to learn how to use the equipment is to get taught.  We teach you that in our Foundations Classes and, if you ever feel lost, we’ll help you figure it out.  We will be with you every step of the way.  If you feel lost, it won’t be for long.

Everyone is going to know each other and I’m scared to meet new people and feel like an outsider? Everyone in the gym was an outsider until they became a member and started meeting people in classes.  All of our members understand what it was like to be the new person because at one point, we were all the new person.  Our community is filled with a wide range of professions, ages, personalities and everyone is extremely welcoming.