Is there a particular trick you're too scared to try or maybe a trail that looks too technical for you? What about that dirt jump that seems to tower above the rest, haunting your dreams at night? That's what we call fear.
But what exactly is fear? According to performance mentor, Gary Grinham, who works with top tier extreme sports athletes, fear is just a label we were given for a distinct set of feelings, and when we attach a different label to the same feelings we get a different result. Read Gary's five top tips for fighting fear.
1. Picture and accept the worst possible outcome
The most important thing that you must do is reconcile and accept the worst possible outcome. If you can't, then you shouldn't proceed. Once this is done, it will allow you to perform free and without worry. You will never perform to your best if, while you're competing, you're thinking about getting hurt. You should be thinking about, and visualising, the positive outcome at all times.
2. Visualise a successful outcome
Communicate with your unconscious mind (UCM), as it is the job of your UCM to get you what you want. Visualise a successful conclusion, and your UCM will deliver. If you only imagine a negative outcome, then the UCM will become confused and think that this is the outcome that you want, because it's the one that you keep showing it. Always focus on what you want to happen, not what you don't want to happen.
3. Bin the idea of failure
The most common reason for fear is the possibility of failure. Failure isn't real, it doesn't exist. Man, at some point, invented the concept of failure. When primitive man was trying to light his first fire, do you think he thought 'I keep failing' or did he think after the 100th attempt, 'I'm 100 steps closer to being warm'. Failure and success are two different ways of looking at the same thing. There is no such thing as failure, just information on how to improve.
4. Face your fears
Once you hold the belief that there's no such thing as failure, it's just feedback. It's time to sit down with a pen and paper, write down a list of your fears, and then face them one-by-one. Again, once your mind expands, it cannot go back. You will also desensitise yourself to the concept and reality of fear.
5. Embrace the challenge and results will come
Embrace the physiological changes and enjoy them – welcome them with open arms. Tell yourself that these are the feelings of a winner, these are the feelings that allow you to focus and maximise your potential by turning the thousands of hours of training into results. These are the feelings that you only get when it matters.