It takes guts to show up for your life. I read that once somewhere and I can’t remember who said it. Brené Brown, perhaps. It was kind of revolutionary for me because I have always viewed myself as a coward. But if these words are true then maybe all of us who trod on every day, doing the best we can, are individually courageous, even if we don’t feel it. While I do think this might be true, I can’t let it serve as an excuse to avoid doing the things that make me afraid.
Okay, no more wussing out all the time. Baby steps.
I am receiving a lot of advice from friends as I prepare for Shiva’s first agility trial. The piece that has most stuck with me goes something like this:
Visualize the worst possible thing that can happen actually happening. Then visualize yourself in that moment with the worst thing happening and being okay with that worst thing.
For many people, the worst thing is their dog pooping on the course, an automatic disqualification. Eliminated for eliminating, as my trainer says. If that happened to me I am pretty sure I would just laugh and give my dog a new nickname. A little poop is the least of my concerns.
The worst thing for me, the one event that will cause extreme disappointment, is if Shiva runs off at the start line and we don’t even get to perform a single obstacle. That is what will make me cry. The fear of that is what has prevented me from trialing until now.
There doesn’t seem to be a way to visualize these feelings away. I don’t give a rat’s ass about getting a Q or knocking bars or missed contacts. Whatevs. I just don’t want to be done before we even start. If that happens I know I’ll wonder if we should even continue at all, if she’s even happy out there, if I shouldn’t put our hard work toward something else.
That’s a lot of weight to put on one moment, isn’t it?
My PH thinks so too. He thinks I should set us up for success by lowering the bar. He thinks showing up should be our standard for excellence. Not backing out. Getting up to that line with Shiva, walking out, and giving her a release cue. That, he says, should be my only goal.
Since I feel my shoulders tense at the thought of doing even that much, maybe he’s right. Right now, I give myself a fifty-fifty shot of pulling it off. There is a pretty good chance I will spend the entire trial hiding under the A-Frame.
What do you do when you are afraid?