Dealing with Doubt

I have a quote that often helps me through my training. As a chronic worrier and over-thinker, I often need to remind myself that “doubt kills more dreams than failure ever will”.

I’m reminded of this as I draw up plans for a challenge-packed 2017. As the nerves and fear are already setting in and taking hold. As the questions of if I’m taking on too much and setting myself up to fail. They’re all too familiar thoughts that were rife through my RAB training. The realisation of my inexperience and lack of ability didn’t help but I was fortunate to have a stubbornness that would not let me quit.

My parents will vouch that this has been a consistent characteristic since birth! And they often joke that my characteristic stubbornness has transformed into grit and determination as an adult.

But I don’t think stubbornness is enough. Sure, it will get you to the finish, but will you enjoy it? Will you revel in the joy and wonder of the journey? 

As I sat on a train bound for Edinburgh, I was reminded of my journey riding across Britain. The distant mountains and picture perfect colours of Scotland felt familiar as I smiled at all the memories I now have of this new found favourite place, with its vastness and peace. 

It also reminded me of all those doubts I had and how, through my year long training and on the course of the ride, they slowly started to fade. Being reminded of those doubts that turned out to be unnecessary, I also remembered the belief I had just after finishing RAB that propelled me to pick 12 challenges to cram into 12 months next year. 

And I also remembered what gave me that belief – yes, my stubbornness/grit/determination (delete as appropriate!) certainly pushed me to train when I didn’t want to, but in reality, the support of others and an amazing newfound team on the ride got me through the journey. The training tips, the listening to my worries, the sharing in my joy of an excellent training ride, the cheering me on at the side of the road and the amazing adventures I shared with friends are what got me through. 

Embrace the doubts – but don’t drown in them. Let them wash over you so that you can address them and tackle them and fix them. Learn from others, absorb that knowledge to better yourself and kill the doubts. Whether you complete it or not, you’ve already done something so many others are afraid to do – you tried. You believed enough to take the plunge and commit. You’ve chosen your challenge, you’ve trained and you can achieve it. Believe in that, believe in you, and believe in your dream: “you didn’t come this far, to only come this far”.

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