Scare Yourself and GO for “NO!”

November 28th…

So I just registered for a race, and I’m absolutely terrified to run it. I’m terrified because it’s on a tough course, I’ve set a lofty time goal for myself, and it’s getting tougher by the day to fight off father time and not get slower. I’m really not sure that I can accomplish my goal. It’s awesome.

One of the things that makes running such a great vehicle for getting better at life is that it’s an opportunity to dabble in fear. Just about all of the things that we fear are completely unfounded. The odds of being just fine day in and day out are overwhelmingly in our favor. The more opportunities we take to face fears head on and come away unscathed, the less we’ll actually fear going forward.

So, how’s it work with running? (Or any type of exercise for that matter??) There are a few steps to take in order to start really getting out of your comfort zone and dabbling in some healthy fears…

  1. If you don’t do it already, keep track of your running, biking, or other workouts. Make note of your data, like times, weights, and how you felt.  
  2. After 3-4 weeks of doing your thing, set a date to go beyond your recent limits. This could mean running a race or workout with a goal pace faster than usual, a bike ride longer than anything you’ve rode in a while, or upping your weights or reps.
  3. GO FOR IT!
  4. Did you hit your goal? No? You’re still alive and well, aren’t you?! Told you that you’d be fine:) Try again in another week or two. You DID hit your goal?! Feels great, doesn’t it!!! Now do it again in another week or two.
  5. Repeat often.

Start tracking your exercise data if you don’t already! The key to safely getting outside of your comfort zone is knowing where the boundary of that zone lies.


December 4th…

So I had one of the best races I’ve EVER run this past Sunday, and I’ve been running for a LONG time.

It never would’ve turned out that way if I didn’t “go for NO.”

Last week, we talked about overcoming healthy fears by getting out of your comfort zone on a regular basis while working out to become a better runner or a more fit person in general. What works with running works with LIFE.

One of the greatest fears that people have is the fear of rejection. We’re afraid to hear the word “No” when we ask for something. Because of this fear, there are many things for which we never even bother to ask! I’m here to tell you that you can take the power from the word “No” by embracing it.

There’s a great book I’d recommend called Go For NO by Fenton and Waltz (Christmas idea?!). The authors advocate establishing a “No Goal.” This simply means setting a goal to hear the word “No” a certain number of times throughout the week. Make it a game. This is a great practice that accomplishes two things. First, it will give YOU the power over the word “No.” When it’s something that you expect, and are even counting on, there’s no reason to fear it any more. Second, you will find yourself asking for things that you never would’ve asked for otherwise. Ask for that promotion or raise at work. Ask the salesman for an extra discount while Xmas shopping. Call your TV company and ask for a lower rate because you’re a great customer! The really cool thing is that the more you “go for NO,” the more you’ll start to hear the word “YES.”

There was a point in my half marathon on Sunday, about 3-4 miles in, when I had a decision to make. I initially had the goal of finishing just under 1:20, but at this point I was way ahead of that pace and feeling alright. I had two choices:

  1. Play it safe and ease off the pace for the middle portion of the race by saving energy for the final miles to sneak in under my goal time while feeling good.
  2. Freaking go for it. The pace I was on would get me to the finish line under 1:18, two minutes faster than my goal. If you had asked me if I was capable of doing that before the race, I would’ve said “NO.”

I went with option number two. I went for “No,” knowing full well that I’d either end up with one of the best races I’ve ever run, or die a slow runner’s death over the final miles. I can’t say that every race I’ve run has ended as well as this one. However, I CAN say that all of my best races started with the decision to go with choice number two.

Your goal: Think of THREE THINGS that you’d usually be afraid to ask for because you believe the answer would be “No.” Now, GO ASK FOR THOSE THINGS!!! 

Happy Trails!


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