Every time I tackle the next big challenge, I want to feel SANE –
Feeling these emotions tells me that I’m on the right path, because if I don’t feel them, it means the challenge isn’t big enough. These are my four steps to change and transformation.
1. Scared is how I feel when I see the next challenge ahead. While the challenge might what I want to do, or what I have to do, I’m without information or knowledge of what I’ll need to do. Scared is the fear of the unknown, the fear of how difficult and painful the challenge will be. Scared is good – it’s a signal that I’m on the right path, that I’ve chosen a something hard.
2. Anxiety is worrying about the future – What if it doesn’t go right? Do I have the right skills and knowledge? Am I up for this? Am I being stupid about what I think is possible? What if something happens to me? What if something doesn’t happen to me? How will I react and respond to the obstacles along the way?
I like anxiety because it’s a forcing function to preparation. It’s a driver to identify risks and failure points. Anxiety pushes me to build a plan for how I’m going to overcome the challenge ahead. Launching myself into the unknown without planning and preparation is just plain stupid. Maybe I’ll get lucky, but usually I’ll fail, and failure without a plan is reckless. But failure with a plan is learning. I know I’ll need to adapt and adjust on whatever plan I build, but that’s okay. The plan doesn’t matter as much as the planning, and feeling anxious pushes me to take this critical step.
3. Nervous is just the jitters I feel just before I start – it’s the last ditch effort of my mind and body at self-preservation. My brain asks me questions like – “Are you sure you want to do this?” and “Why exactly does this seem like a good idea?” Sure, this is going to be hard and I might fail. Everything from here is going to be new. I’m going to experience ups and downs, pain and elation.
I feel nervous when I know the opportunity to start is here – to do something, anything, to get started. Action forces me to focus on the task at hand and experience pride knowing that I’m now on the journey. Two years ago, I signed up for the Tahoe 200 seven weeks before the race. I didn’t even know there was such a thing as a 200-mile ultramarathon before I registered. Less than two months later, when I took the first step onto the course, the nervous feelings disappeared and excitement took over.
4. Excited is the promise of completion. The accomplishment in trying. Knowing that good or bad, win or lose, I’m doing something about this. The journey is the joy — the ups and downs. The roller coaster effect.
In the end, that doesn’t always mean that I was successful. Sometimes it does, but either way, it’s over and done. I did it. Implementing = Learning. And usually I see that the challenge wasn’t so bad and I look for the next one – one that’s even harder to keep pushing the edges of personal possibility.
-Scott “Go Farther” Sambucci
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