With that said consider this – can Ironman, the world’s toughest endurance sport, save your mind? That idea rings true with me.
My mind needed saving from chronic PTSD, a condition rooted 30 years earlier from a stalker, rapist who nearly killed me. PTSD brought self-doubt, confusion, anger, and other negative thoughts.
I hid the confusion well. I went to school, built a career in branding and PR. I married then divorced. I bought a house, and raised a dog. But internally, my emotional identity was that of a weak victim.
My focus: survive not thrive.
With time wisdom’s whisper shouted louder than self-doubt. It said, Ironman will discipline your mind. Ironman will honor your soul. Ironman will re-write your story to one with a bad beginning, a twisted plot, and a great ending.
Finally I listened and tapped into an opportunity that is given to any survivor of trauma. It’s the hero’s journey of creating a new life while finding peace with the past. It starts by understanding the layers of PTSD, self doubt, and the irrational victim’s mindset.
Then it embraced Post Traumatic Growth (PTG); a positive change caused by a major life crisis or traumatic struggle. The journey is challenging. It takes commitment, resiliency, trust, support, and faith. It requires one to be aware of self-doubt; the insidious disease that even Ironman Kona World Champions experience.
The Ironman mindset: replace doubt with compassion and build confidence to embrace a project. Trust it. Believe it. Encircle it with support and train with friends who quell self-doubt. Collaborate with value driven companies like Rudy Project. They make protective helmets and sunglasses, which make me feel feminine. That’s not easy to do when riding 100+ miles.Network with Women For Tri an organization that encourage women to embrace Ironman and to share their inspirational story. Watch my TED Talk which shares my Ironman journey. Plus, meditate, clear the mind. Ultimately Ironman creates a project to cross a line, to celebrate life, to toast the journey, the day, the race.
What’s your project? And, does self-doubt keep you from it? If so, consider using these five tools that helped me cross the line.
- Recognize self doubt, and don’t underestimate its power. Its goal is to knock you down.
- Analyze why you’re having self doubt, then gain confidence by facing it straight on. Don’t let its vulnerable rational keep you from your dreams.
- Is there a pattern? Mine peeks through when I’m tired and overwhelmed. When that happens I take time to meditate, hydrate, and rest.
- Anticipate that pattern. I tend to get mentally overwhelmed before a hard training weekend where I’ll be physically pushed. So, I make extra time (even if it’s just 10 minutes) to stretch and visualize a successful training weekend.
- Take action. For me that means to stop thinking and start doing. I seek out supportive people who are also training for an Ironman. They understand my challenges, and they help build patience and confidence when I need it most.
Always Tri. Never Stop.