Are You Afraid of Your Own Potential?

By July 30, 2015Bike, Entrepreneur, Racing

This is a startling confession, coming from an experienced entrepreneur who coaches and consults other founders and creative visionaries on NOT being afraid of their potential.

But it’s also an important confession because every single one of us experiences a fear of being wildly successful; of taking our game to the next level and of pushing ourselves to our limit. Every one of us – no exceptions.

My recent real-life example reminded me once again that I must nurture my commitment to exploring my own limits every day. It’s a ball we just can’t take our eyes off of.

This past Saturday, I raced the Mt. Evans Hill Climb. Yes, it was a bike race, but the experience I share below is very applicable to your goals around being the most successful entrepreneur possible.

The 2015 Mt. Evans Hill Climb road bike race:
I self-sabotaged months of hard work during this race, but that doesn’t mean it was a failure. Far from it! I just could have done better and instead of kicking myself, I’ve forgiven myself. I’ve also congratulated myself on improving my time over last year by nearly seven minutes. And, I’ve adjusted my cycling goals to ensure that I implement what I’ve learned from my mistake in this weekend’s race.

The Run Down:
Going into the race, I had big goals. How big? I wanted the win – period. I’ve been training for it as one of the key events of my season. I’d done it twice before. I had support set up for the weekend that enabled me to bring my kids with me to do the event. My bike was good to go, nutrition and rest were tracking and my mindset was in a more positive and powerful place that I’ve ever experienced before. Preparation was solid.

My mindset and my optimism were both so strong that it felt eerily unfamiliar. Where I would usually be experiencing anxiety around a race, I only experienced excitement. This was new and foreign. It was also a little uncomfortable. Looking back, I believe that this should have been my first sign; my first invitation to grab the opportunity to race at a new level. Now I know how to recognize it.

  • I started the race feeling fierce and strong. In fact, I lead the group for much of the first 15 or so miles of the 28-mile uphill race. All good!
  • At about mile 18, I realized that one competitor and I dropped the bulk of the pack. I now know that she was highly experienced and a full category higher in the racing ranks than I, but during the race, I didn’t know this.
  • The competitor I was with was tough – she gapped me four times, and I caught up. Each time it hurt, but it wasn’t too painful to keep trying.
  • I was gapped again and I was having a hard time mustering the gumption to close the gap down. The higher up we raced in altitude (it ended at 14,000+ feet at the summit of Mt. Evans), the tougher it was to push my limit.
    • NOTE: This was a crucial moment – why? This was literally the moment I was invited to up-level my performance and boldly tap into my as-yet-untapped potential.
  • Instead of “going there,” and seizing that moment – I now know I settled in realizing I was probably going to get second.
    • This was the sabotage. Why? I knew then, and now, that I had the gas in the tank as they say, to catch her and fight for the win. But I was afraid to test myself on that level. Having awareness of this is HUGE.
    • Choosing to do something with that awareness? That’s the most important takeaway.
  • I looked behind me many times, and didn’t see anyone from the pack. I made the assumption that I was alone up there,and that second was secure. I settled and got comfortable. I knew I could push it more, but didn’t think I needed to.
  • About 200 or fewer feet from the finish line, I was caught and passed by another competitor! She beat me by 4 seconds – I ended up 3rd.

I am going to say this right here and now for your benefit AND mine… I was afraid to win this race and step into a new level of success!

What would have changed in my life if I had pushed my limits and explored this new area of potential?

As an athlete and an entrepreneur, pushing my limits and exploring new potential can be downright scary. Doing so ushers us straight into the unknown on an entirely new level.

When I faced that moment of opportunity, I chose to stay in my comfort zone. I regret that and am committed to recognizing that moment in another opportune time, and going for it. The key here is that I now know how to identify that moment.

To maximize my awareness of what happened, a choice has to be made to act differently the next time. I am committed to just that in future races but also, in my businesses.

Just know, there’s ALWAYS more to your potential than you think, or believe, you have access to. The most successful entrepreneurs and athletes KNOW that they can be more, do more and go bigger – they challenge limiting beliefs. It’s so much easier to do that on the sidelines, isn’t it? When you can go there in a real-world opportunity, go there! Or you could feel regret. And if you don’t? Learn from it and know how to go for it the next time. That’s exactly what I plan to do!

Bottom line: Don’t let fear of the unknown take the opportunity to get to know yourself in your true potential.

So in this race and in my entrepreneurial journey, it’s really not me versus the competition. It’s me versus me. Those limiting beliefs, that comfort zone, the chinks in the armor that is also known as mindset – all are part of being human. Just know that we can, with experience, commitment and practice overcome any and all limiting beliefs and achieve what we’re here to achieve – excellence!