July monthly review – what I learnt from doing things that scared me

Each month I review my progress (or lack of!) towards my personal goals for 2014. You can see my full goal list in this post here – Goal Setting For 2014 And Creating My Decision Making Framework. The monthly review will look at my key learnings for the month and each quarter I write a full review of my progress. This month the focus is on my goal to increase family harmony.


The last month has been a big one for me. I have ticked off a couple of big goals, personally I performed in my first CrossFit competition and work wise I launched my Pozible campaign to crowd fund a family planning lunch box calendar for 2015.

Both of these things scared the absolute pants off me. At certain points along the way I thought seriously about not going ahead with both of them.

Why did I think this? Both of these goals were taking me completely out of my comfort zone. In the instance of the CrossFit competition, I am not a very strong lifter and there are certain movements that I am unable to do. And it isn’t like running where you may start and finish with people watching you. There were going to be people watching the whole time!

Then in the instance of the Pozible campaign, it is really putting yourself out there. I am asking people to believe in my idea and support it without seeing the end product. I have an ambitious target and it will require lots of marketing by me to achieve it. Marketing it also means promoting myself and this is not something I enjoy or feel comfortable doing.

But when I kept digging a little further as to why these activities scare me, they have one very strong factor in common. I ultimately am afraid of what people think of me.

I posted this photo and status on facebook on Friday.
kelly exeter 640.jpg

I have done/am doing lots of things that scare me this week. It was good to have this book from the lovely Kelly from A life less frantic. With me, I know that a lot of my fear is worrying about what other people think of me. Reading her book again made me realise that I need to not put so much weight onto this. You can see more about Kelly’s book here

I was in the masters division (yes I am that old!) for the CrossFit competition and kept thinking what would all these younger, fitter people think of me daring to register for the competition and having a go? With the calendar, I was thinking what if some people hate my idea? What if they won’t support it? But I pushed past the “what ifs” and gave both goals a crack.

And just to keep myself completely challenged I undertook both these activities in the same week. I learnt a lot last week! Here are 3 things I learnt from doing things that scared me:

1.Sometimes the worst thing you think could happen, will happen

One of the things that scared me most about the CrossFit competition was that some of the workouts would have movements that I couldn’t do. To me, when I was going through the scenarios of what could possibly be the worst thing that could happen at the competition, that was it.

And it happened. I was safe for WOD (workout of the day) 1 and 2, but not so for WOD 3. It had handstand push ups which I cannot do. This meant that I had two minutes to try and do 15 of them and if I couldn’t then I had a two minute penalty. I wish I had mentally planned how I would have coped if this happened. I didn’t and as a consequence I got myself quite flustered and lost my composure.

Reflecting back on this, if I had approached it by being calmer and not rushing, I would have not only enjoyed that last WOD but most likely performed better. I still cringe at my performance in this WOD.  But even though this was my worst thing that could have happened and it happened, I still survived and the world didn’t fall apart!

2. Doing things that scare you can feel fantastic when it is over

While I didn’t enjoy every moment of the CrossFit competition I did feel a great sense of accomplishment for doing it. It was goal for this year to go into a competition and I did it. I was close to pulling out and that would have felt terrible. Once I recovered from the third WOD, I did feel happy to have made it through it.

Similarly with the Pozible campaign, I had set due dates for the deliverables of the project. Due to unforeseen family circumstances I found myself a week behind and there was part of me that was using every excuse possible not to launch the campaign. In the end it took two incredibly late nights, but I set myself a new deadline and I met it.

Once I launched the campaign, while I was exhausted, I felt an amazing sense of satisfaction. There is still a long way to go with the calendar project, but it is up and running and I am very proud of it.

3. One big thing that scares me a month would be enough

Eleanor Roosevelt is quoted to have said:

“Do one thing every day that scares you.”

While in theory this sounds great, I spent the last week quite stressed and anxious. That is really tiring. I don’t think I could be doing something every single day that scares me, it would take to big a toll on my mental health!

So tell me, have you done something scary recently? What did you learn through the process?