From Pez Cycling-
Into the Big Ring
Here are four tools you can use to climb up and over the next frontiers in your riding:
1. Take the sting out of your negative thoughts. Be wary of any “certainties” – “I’m going to get dropped,” “I’ll finish DFL,” “My teammates will be angry with me” – and challenge them. Notice any feared (but realistic) possibilities – “I’m not sure I can do it,” “I might get dropped,” “I might not finish at all,” – and plan for how you’ll handle those feared outcomes; you may then not fear them as much. Check out the articles on Effective Self-Talk and Handling Pressure for more ideas here.
Negative thoughts feel powerful, especially the “certainties,” but it’s a superficial power, not a deep power. Superficial power can look like an effective way to combat your anxiety. It’s not.
2. Find additional ways to manage and reduce your anxiety. The less fear and anxiety you feel, the more likely you are to go for it in your riding. Effective self-talk will help a great deal, and may be all you need. However, you may benefit from understanding your anxiety – on and off the bike – more clearly, using breathing techniques, and better integrating your body and mind.
3. See and be seen. Reflect on everything in this article. If there’s a part of you that’s been hidden and yet running the show at times, seeing it will help you. Check out the article on self-awareness for more ideas here.
Having others you trust see these parts of you may help as well. Physician Rachel Naomi Remen, in her wonderful book, “Kitchen Table Wisdom,” tells the story of attending a day-long master class with the great psychologist Carl Rogers. He said to the group, about his counseling practice,
“Before every session I take a moment to remember my humanity. There is no experience that this man has that I cannot share with him, no fear that I cannot understand, no suffering that I cannot care about, because I too am human. No matter how deep his wound, he does not need to be ashamed in front of me. I too am vulnerable. And because of this, I am enough. Whatever his story, he no longer needs to be alone with it.”
After watching Rogers conduct a session, Remen was stunned. She remembers:
“I had always worked hard at being good enough; it was the golden standard by which I decided what to read, what to wear, how to spend time, where to live, and even what to say. Even ‘good enough’ was not really good enough for me. I had spent a lifetime trying to make myself perfect. But if what Rogers was saying was true, perfection was the booby prize. What was needed was simply to be human. I was human. All my life I had feared being found out.”
4. Trust the power of experience. As I noted in The Power of Cyclotherapy, experiences on the bike offer you opportunities not only for fun and success but also growth and transformation. Yes, you could be right at times: Feared outcomes will make you feel every bit as bad as you fear you will feel. But not only will you survive those experiences, you may need them for your freedom: you may need them in order to reduce and eliminate the hold your anxiety and injuries have on you. There very well may be no way out but through.
The full article can be read over at Pez. It’s very good… Something I know I need to pay more attention to.