Face your fears with your best foot forward
Do you often feel dejected because you know there’s something inside holding you back from living the life you want? Maybe you just don’t feel good enough?
This past weekend I attended a Tony Robbins’ immersion called ‘Unleash the Power Within’.
I’ve been a big fan and known about him for 20 years, but being in South Africa meant I was always on the other side of the world for his events.
Our Venue in Dallas, Texas
Then I lived in London and he came! But timing was off as I had the pleasure of being visited by my parents for the first visit. Some of my housemates went and later I’d see them coming back with an ignited soul and eyes ablaze with passion.
That was 15 years ago; and how my life has changed since.
Sounds like a long wait for his transformative experience, but the value in my experiences leading up to the past weekend are what made it deeply rewarding.
A tough few months
365 ubuntu climbs was a once in a lifetime opportunity. Achieving something that no one’s ever done was taxing both physically and mentally; with the equal reward upon completion.
Here’s the thing though, I thought completing it would change old habits – specifically around not feeling good enough.
I was wrong.
Feeling not good enough is like thinking ‘I’ll be happy when…’ – it never arrives. You need to be happy now – and I need to feel good enough now.
On my hill training after gym today I realised something profound.
If you think achieving something monumental will give you confidence going forward – you already possess the strength to accomplish it. Which means its already inside you. The strength comes from INSIDE to finish the challenge – not suddenly rewarded at the end.
Which means no more excuses.
A new set of standards on which to hold ourselves accountable.
What does this have to do with Tony Robbins?
With 42 years experience and a PHD in results, there’s nowhere to hide when he speaks to you. My girlfriend had gifted me a ticket and was right alongside challenging her own inner monologues through the experience too.
By his own admission he’s not your guru. This is important because he’s creating a platform for sustainable change.
It’s not about what he says – its how he gets you to challenge the limiting beliefs that’d been holding you back.
Four days of intense twelve hour plus sessions with minimal breaks (if and) is specifically designed to push us beyond what we believe we can achieve. Day one ended with a fire walk across coals reaching temperatures of 1200° (Fahrenheit – about 600° Celsius)
I came into the event knowing we were doing this. And even though as a South African that loves a braai (barbeque for my international friends) I’ve never ever thought afterwards, ‘hey, let’s throw these bad boys on the ground and do a quick fire walk’. With all this knowledge, for some reason I wasn’t phased about it.
That was until Tony started getting real with us about what can happen if you lose focus and the injuries that have happened before. ‘About 1-1.5% of you will probably experience burns under your feet like a really bad sunburn and get blisters’
Seeing the fires being prepared for the first time
When presenting numbers, I know from my corporate days to always use the bigger number (or in this case lesser) between absolute numbers and percentages to convey your message.
1% doesn’t sound bad at all – but 80 to 120 people?? My stomach lets me know apprehension has arrived.
My mind quickly darts to ‘what if I get burned? Will my travel insurance cover fire walking??!!?’
I highly doubt it!
The voice of fear was desperately trying to find a just reason to pull out.
But I didn’t come here to watch others obliterate fear.
I’m here to let go of what no longer serves me.
Walking on Fire
I believe I’ll be fine. I believe Tony wouldn’t do this haphazardly (especially in a country where suing has become a national sport)
No matter what – I’m doing this.
I listen intently to the instructions, and visualise myself at the other end of the walk exploding in ecstasy having not melted.
Shoes off, we exit the stadium and head to the parking lot focusing on our breathing and keeping our energy up. I’m secretly hoping I’ll be close to the front with less wait time, the perfect crack fear likes to exploit.
Anticipation is always worse than reality.
Alas, I’m 2/3rds of the way back. A sea of humans in the dark floating towards a waterfall.
I remember being told ‘GO!’
I remember doing my last move to get fired up.
I remember the heat of the first step.
I remember being caught on the other side by volunteers saying, ‘Wipe your feet!’ (sometimes pieces of coal can get lodged under your feet or between your toes)
I remember the incredible soothing the water being sprayed on my feet brought.
I’d done something so ridiculously outlandish.
…. And that feeling changed something deep inside.
Why it changed my Life
Before the strut, my focus was successfully reaching the other side unscathed.
As I waited on the other side for Jessie to snap a photo, my brain raced. I realised that in everyday circumstances I’d find reasons to justify why others were more capable or better than I was to achieve something.
This time, I saw those that went before me as justification why I COULD do it.
The excuses evaporated like water above the coals.
Intellectually I’ve known this since my early twenties but understanding something and deeply knowing a principle are two different things.
It’s why there’s no substitute for experience.
Walking across those coals forced me to look at fear and deal with it immediately. Seeing how it used to dictate my mental aspirations, like whether I’m good enough to teach the practices I learned from climbing Table Mountain every day, means I know choose to focus on pursuing what I know to be right.
Will there be people that think I’m ill equipped for the job? I have no doubt.
Will there be negativity toward my aspirations to empower others through teaching? Probably.
The detractors had no impact on whether I succeeded in 2018, and so why would they be going forward? The great thing about moving forward is detractors are stationery so soon enough; they’ll be out of earshot.
I never doubted I was physically capable of climbing Table Mountain every day for a calendar year. Time for that clarity to apply in all other areas in my life as well.
As with everything in life, the real value is putting this into practice.
What fears are holding you back? If you’d be happy to share I’d love to hear from you and see how we can take consistent steps together to overcome them.
Just like on those hot coals – that first step commits you to a new path of building momentum. I hope you’ll join me.
Andrew Patterson & Jessie Stuart feeling more aligned with their purpose