On Sunday I spent three hours with my daughter helping her overcome fear. She’s an All-Star cheerleader and, for those of you who aren’t familiar with the sport, it’s nothing like sideline cheer. It’s extremely competitive and requires a great deal of strength as there’s a lot of tumbling involved. My daughter’s been doing one of these tumbling moves for several year and then, one day, she couldn’t do it anymore. It’s not because she injured herself, it’s because she developed a mental block. Suddenly, she had an all-consuming fear of doing it. Something that used to come so easy to her was literally impossible for her to do. Or so she thought.
A mental block isn’t uncommon in the All-Star cheer world. At some point though, the athlete needs to overcome it.
Both her coaches and her older sister (who is an also an All-Star cheerleader) worked with her in every way to get her to “just throw it.” Over the past few weeks it’s been building up in her head until now it’s a big thing. Like a REALLY big thing. Losing her skills has consumed her (and me) to the point that she’s in tears every day. If she doesn’t through her tumble pass her coaches will be forced to take her off the team.
So yesterday, in the sweltering heat, I sat there watching her on the trampoline trying to force herself to throw her back handspring. I encouraged, I threatened, I tried to piss her off – anything to JUST DO IT.
Her sister and I both told her, all the classes in the world won’t help, she simply must decide that her fear of doing it will not overpower her love of cheer. There was about an hour of her screaming “I’m TRYING” and me screaming back “DON’T TRY JUST DO!” I’m sure my neighbors think I’m a horrible mom.
And then, after three hours, something clicked, and she did it. And then she did it again. And again. She stopped trying and just did it.
That really is what it comes down to with fear isn’t it? You can’t try you just need to do. Whether it’s tumbling, leaving an unhappy marriage, quitting a job or anything else that brings fear, at some point you need to realize that “trying” isn’t going to change the situation. It requires action. Yes, taking action against fear is hard – it’s like standing at the edge of the diving board and deciding you will take that next step and dive in.
What are you trying to change in your life? What action do you just need to do? Share your story and let’s support each other.