This post by our Chief Encouragement Officer originally appeared on TheFittestGames.com.
“Whatever you do, you need courage. Whatever course you decide upon, there is always someone to tell you that you are wrong. There are always difficulties arising that tempt you to believe your critics are right. To map out a course of action and follow it to an end requires some of the same courage that a soldier needs. Peace has its victories, but it takes brave men and women to win them.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
Life requires courage of anyone willing to step onto its field. Google “courage” and your internet browser will be flooded with quotes that reinforce the simple message that to do anything in this life worth doing, you must have courage. Goals & dreams don’t simply happen. This isn’t the Texas Lottery where success just appears overnight. That isn’t the real world for 99.9% of us.
We must earn victory. We must be willing to fight, tooth and nail, for every inch. Obstacles will do their best to discourage you. Critics will exert their energies to dishearten you. And the fear of the unknown will tell you over and over again that the worst of worsts await you, so that you will give up before ever taking your first step. Each negative will use fear to keep you on life’s sidelines. Each one of us face different paths filled with fear. Some of us spend our days working to build our first (or fourth business).
Our fears may include never truly succeeding and failing publicly in our entrepreneurial pursuits. Maybe we fear not being able to provide for our family or letting those closest to us down. Some fear competing against the goliaths in an industry they desperately work to establish some type of presence in. Others of us face the fear of failure and public humiliation in our athletic pursuits. We fear specific movements like handstand walks, muscle ups, or heavy snatches. We would rather stand naked and speak to a crowd of 1,000,000 than stand alone on the competition floor as a final competitor, staring at our barbell, unable to complete one repetition as we watch everyone else leave the floor completed.
Yet some face even larger fears. Divorce. Depression. Cancer. Death. These fears call out to us. Haunt us. Burden us with a load that for many, seem unbearable at times. They remind of us our fragile humanity, and can paralyze us with inaction. Every single person you encounter on the street today is facing some type of fear. And for the vast majority, they are handcuffed by that fear to a life not truly lived, but instead watched from the sidelines.
For most people, fear wins. Many a potential entrepreneur never takes a first step, and the world is robbed of their vision. Fear talks the athlete of registering for their first competition. As an individual, they are robbed of a new personal best, an incredible memory, and the exhilaration of competition. And for others, fear binds them into a corner. They fail to nurture relationships. They live in isolation, afraid to put themselves out there for fear of being hurt. And they lose faith and hope that victory in their life is even an option – instead of the truth that it must be their only option.
But you have the opportunity to be different. That opportunity lies within your decision today. To compete with the fear facing you. To arise with the mindset that you will stare that fear in the face, and believe the truth that what you are seeking to accomplish in this life is more important than fear that is trying to hold you back. Courage is not the absence of fear. Nor is it the avoidance of fear.
“Courage is looking fear square in the eye and saying, ‘Get the hell out of my way, I’ve got things to do.’” (Unknown)
It is walking onto that competition floor this weekend and finding a way to compete until the final whistle ends the workout. It is walking into the doctors’ office, determined to fight your diagnosis and the disease within you, so that in one year’s time, you will be healthy and still alive. It is being prepared to risk everything in order to take that one shot at victory.
Competing every day isn’t about what you do in the gym or a workout. It’s about taking control of your life and refusing to let fear hinder you from the goals you seek to accomplish and the people you love. It’s about finding the strength within to face the unknown, the courage to stare fear in the eye, and the determination to find a way to move forward. Every single day you live on this earth.
“I have learned over the years that when one’s mind is made up, this diminishes fear; knowing what must be done does away with fear.” – Rosa Parks