In this podcast I talk about fear, or more specifically, your relationship with it. Learning how to deal with fear is an important part of improving as a mountain biker and understanding how it works and what you can do about it can improve your riding and your life.

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This last weekend I went to a workshop put on by Tony Blauer, creator of the SPEAR System for self defense. While I learned a lot of easily applicable tools for dealing with a bad guy, I also learned a lot about dealing with fear.

Tony uses a flowchart to explain what he calls The Fear Loop and explains how managing it is the key to success.

In a self defense situation, getting caught in the Fear Loop will cause you to hesitate or fail to react at all when your life is on the line.

In life the Fear Loop is what keeps us from doing what we know we should do but keep finding reasons not to.

And on the trail the Fear Loop is what keeps us from trying new technical features or going on epic rides that we haven’t “trained for”.

Fear can weigh us down and oppress us or it can act as the fuel to survive and even thrive in all of these situations. The goal isn’t to get rid of fear, the goal is to change your relationship with it.

“Fear is a friend of exceptional people” – Cus D’Amato (Mike Tyson’s first trainer)

You can’t solve a problem if you are part of the problem and you are part of the problem if you are stuck in the Fear Loop.

The Fear Loop is basically the movie you start to play in your mind after a fear spike happens. In this movie you are cast as the #1 victim and it can have a lot of different ways to play out, including associations, visualizations, limiting beliefs and the doubt-hesitation-fixation-anxiety cycle.

The goal is to find a way out of this loop either through a Challenge or a Threat “Door”. Going through this “door” is how you start to figure out what you want, how to get it and what you plan is.

Acting out this plan while reviewing the results and watching for a slip back into the Fear Loop is the next step. While the goal is to move with complete confidence through this last part, you may be hesitant and not sure. The main thing is to take some action versus complete inaction.

The first step is to realize what is going on and be self-aware enough to figure out what you are really afraid of. If you know what you are afraid of you can start to get out of the Fear Loop much faster.

Remember, though, that fear can also inform you about what you need to do or improve as you move through the Challenge/ Threatened Door. And limiting beliefs are sometimes true but that isn’t an excuse to not try or to tap into other things like heart and grit.

Practice courage in small steps because it is contagious…but so is fear. Ultimately, fear can be the fuel that saves your life or pushes you to a new level on your bike.

“Change your relationship with fear and you will change your mind. Change your mind and you will change your life.” Coach Tony Blauer

Until next time…

Ride Strong,

James Wilson

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