Written by Ivy Knight
"I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear."
It was never meant to say Fearless. It’s Fear Less. Why? Let’s be honest, we all have fears. In fact, if you don’t have fears, are you really living? I’ve done a lot in my relatively young life. And I’ve done most of it while holding onto my fears. Fear of failure. Fear of never being good enough. Fear of being ridiculed. Fear of disappointing others. Fear of taking on too much.
Fear is a scary thing but it’s necessary. If we can learn to push past our fears while respecting them we will find ourselves liberated by them. Fear is our irrational mind telling us that whatever is going on isn’t a good thing. It’s an emergency warning. It has to do with your core beliefs and experiences… but I’m not going to get into that. You can refer to your therapist. We should think about our fears and decipher whether we are actually in danger. It’s like when you see a spider. Initial reaction: Scream! Run! Jump on a chair! Yell for the nearest person to come over and kill it. Our initial reaction is Fear. But when really think about it, should we really be that fearful of this small, coin-sized, creature that could care less about us and is just instinctively trying to build a house and eat. A creature we can literally destroy with the bottom of our shoe? Really? So instead of listening to those fears, we should reason with them and then start to eliminate the ones that don’t make sense. Fear Less.
I used to be scared to death of squatting heavy. I would get to a heavy set, lift it off the rack and if it felt heavy I would rerack because the thought of bringing it down and not being able to bring it back up was terrifyingly crippling to me. I was afraid that if I failed this rep I would… what? Die?? Did I really think I was going to die because I couldn’t bring it back up? (Could it happen? Maybe. But the odds are slim) I did! But when I stopped to think about all the variables I realized that I was being completely irrational. I have never failed a squat attempt at a meet, ever. It’s still something that terrifies me but at my last meet, I had one goal: Squat over 300 lbs. So here I was on my 3rd attempt. The number on the bar was 303lbs. I lifted it off and I felt my throat get dry and tight… this is heavy... I am going to fail… if it wasn’t for the over 6 feet tall, 380+lb giant standing behind me I may have even rationalized that I could actually die. But I had already had the discussion with myself that if I could get to this point, squatting this amount of weight, I would let Jesus take the wheel, so to speak. I stopped thinking and I went into auto pilot. If there’s anything I can do besides, telling a well-timed “that’s what she said” joke, it’s squat! Once my brain kicked back in, I felt my knee cave in slightly and heard a loud screech come from my belly! Then I heard, “rack”! I did it! Irrational fear and all I did it!
So instead of us being fearless, let’s just work on having less fears. When it comes to powerlifting, we should never fear that we will disappoint, or fail, or not be good or strong enough. We should respect the weight, learn the techniques and go for it because when you really break it down, what is there to fear?