I think this is more common than people are sometimes willing to discuss. Especially with the pressures of social media these days. Everyone is posting their weekly mile & verticle achievments and race standings. It's hard not to get a little wrapped in all the awesomeness being shared out there. Then the problem comes when we start to compare ourselves to others.
Be unique! Be you! Be brave! Be proud of your accomplishments without comparing them to others. How about we just let things land and soak up the glory of doing a pure accomplishment without attaching any baggage to it? Good ol' fashioned celebration and joy for the simple things.
I think fear of failing can start at an early age. I know it did for me anyhow. I was 11yrs old and in gymnastics. I loved gymnastics! I was doing really well and having fun until one night my parents told me they needed to talk to me about something. They explained I was offered an invitation to train for the Olympics. That the scouts spotted something special with me and if I was interested, my parents would support me and I would start my olympic training right away. I remember hearing the commitment level go from a few days to almost everyday. Eary morning practices. More money my parents would have to invest. Longer practices. Sacrifices in other potential sports etc... My parents were really supportive and excited for me but I can recall not only turning the offer down but quitting gymnastics all together. The pressure was just to much.
Then in high school, I ended up making the BC summer games team for volleyball. I loved volleyball!! I proceed to make Team BC the following year remember feeling the pressure when things really got going and I dropped out again. I was 17yrs old and still ran from pressure.
I threw myself into the fitness industry instead and started teaching fitness classes by the age of 18. I ran on and off but never any races or real structured training until I was 26yrs old. I found trail running and it changed my life.
It took me years to get over race anxiety. I would almost make myself sick before a race and it took a lot of courage and strength to break my old habit of not just throwing in the towel. I stuck with it because I love to trail run. Because I wanted to explore and prove to myself that I could move past my anxiety and put the pressure aside, do my best and have fun.
Besides, nobody remembers my race times so putting so much worry into them seemed silly. When I look back on my life what do I want to see it filled with? Let me tell you. Interesting things. Lessons learned thru suffering and overcoming challenges. Beautiful places and friends and my family to share those moments with.
Suddenly for me it just clicked and ever since then the big picture has stayed in view. I am only limited to the experiences I have because of the way I think. So while it is still important for me to do my best and don't get me wrong, I like to do well, I am no longer limited by worrying about the outcome. It is a work in progress for me, but I have learned that races come and go and just like everything else, life goes on.
So don't hold back. Go sign up for that race or join that run group. Never be afraid to be great or define your life by what others do or a number. Create your space. Create your vision. Create a life filled with the things you love and don't let fear hold you back.