Face your fears, live your dreams. Easier said than done yet at the same time it is quite simple. Figure out what it is that you are afraid of and why exactly you are afraid of it. A lot of times when you can break things down you realize how simple they can be.
People often ask me how I overcome my fear, how I get in there time after time no matter what has happened to me. Well I'll start out by saying that for one, I've never really had any fear when it comes to fighting. It wasn't till a few years back that I realized that I was an odd one when it came to this. Over the years I started realizing that most fighters, even high level ones, dealt with quite a bit of fear when it came to fighting, even ones with 100 fights. One thing that has definitely helped me from fear is the knowledge that I'm doing what I know I was put on this earth to do. That and the fact I know I wasted so much of my life living in fear and doubt that I feel I have no time to waste on it.
I first learned about Muay Thai in 1993 and immediately knew that it was what I wanted to do. But I let all those fears and doubts that we all have keep me from going after this dream for ten years until I finally had enough and first stepped foot in the gym in January of 2003. Unfortunately for most, as it did me, it will take something tragic in order for them to realize that they are wasting their lives, or following someone else's ideas of what their life should be.
I think what a lot of people on the outside don't realize is that everyone has fear, to some degree, even me, but they choose to go forward anyway. They realize that their desire to reach their goals is way greater than any feelings of fear could ever be. Are you more afraid of trying and failing or failing to try?
It's so easy to look at people that have/are accomplishing their goals and say "oh they were just born with talent" or "they just got lucky and had the right opportunities". The problem is you didn't see the years of trying and failing, the times they wanted to quit and sometimes did, the countless people they had telling them that they would never make it, the fears and doubts that they had just like you do. Go and look into the story of someone you look to that has 'made it', anyone, and I guarantee you that they had been through more pain, sacrifice and failure than you could ever have imagined. Sure it looks easy from the outside, sure it looks like they are fearless, but you didn't see what it took them to get there or what it takes to stay there.
Fear can be a very helpful and healthy thing to have. I always tell people it's better to be too nervous then too calm. I learned my lesson a long time ago that I need to psyche myself up in order to get going for fights because I am just naturally way too calm. I went into a fight totally calm and half asleep. I kept telling myself 'ok it's almost time to go, let's get going' then 'ok he's standing across the ring time to go' and before I knew it we were fighting and I had zero adrenaline going, felt every strike and was completely flat and sluggish. Luckily mid-way through the fight I was able to finally get myself going. Ever since then I always make sure that mentally I am amped up and ready to go. There was a great line in the movie I watched recently Chasing Mavericks-"Fear and panic are two separate emotions. Fear's healthy. Panic's deadly." So true! Fear is what will keep you sharp and keep you safe; it's finding that balance between them that is the key. As anyone that has been in the ring can tell you, no matter what level of fear they deal with, once that bell rings all that goes out the window, you don't have time to be afraid anymore.
One good thing about having fear is that you've already accomplished a big part in the process, figuring out what you want, which is the first step, although I feel most people know exactly what it is they want outa life but allow fear and doubt to keep them from going after it or even admitting it to themselves. So now figure out what is it that you are afraid of. Failure, what other people may think, hard work, looking like a fool? Well more than likely, whether you go after your dreams or not, those things will always be there. All those fears and doubts that I had before I started still creep in from time to time. That's when I have to take a step back and remind myself why I keep doing this, why I push myself as hard as I can. We aren't promised tomorrow, or even two seconds from now, so as long as I'm here I'm going to go after my dreams and give it everything that I have.
I'll leave you with this analogy; picture yourself at an amusement park, and let's just say that there is only two rides available. One is just this boring merry go round that you are standing right next to. Anyone can easily get in line and are guaranteed to get a ride. Then there's the ultimate ride, everyone knows it's out there and has a good idea of the direction the need to go to get there but no one knows how long of a journey it will be or if they will even reach it in time before the park closes. So now you have two options, you can settle for the merry go round, I mean it's good enough, it's still a ride but you see the people on it and know that they aren't truly happy, or you can go after that ultimate ride, the one few will ever get to enjoy. Maybe you make it there and maybe you don't but would you rather spend the time you have at least trying to get to it or would you rather sit on the same boring ride as everyone else?
If your dreams do not scare you, they are not big enough." ― Ellen Johnson Sirleaf