Recently, I participated in a couple trail races at Bogue Chitto State Park in Franklinton, LA. We were warned that there would be a stream crossing on the 10 mile course, and two crossings on the 13 mile course. Photos of said crossings, a log placed from bank to bank, had been posted in advance. The photos didn’t do justice to the way it looked in my mind's eye. We were alerted far enough in advance for me to obsess about how much I dislike narrow bridges and about how little trust I have in my balance. I also thought about how much time I would waste trying to talk myself across and about everything that could possibly go wrong.
It turned out to be a self-fulfilling prophecy. There I was running along with a nice man at a comfortable pace when he announced the upcoming crossing. Panic! He nimbly crossed the little tree that had been laid out for our convenience and was quickly on his way down the course. I opted to walk on the lower, wider pieces of wood that brought me to mid-stream in a much safer manner. At that point I was nearly paralyzed with fear with runners behind me waiting to cross. I was like a deer in the headlights. With fear of falling off the log and fear of holding up the runners who would be stacking up behind me and looking foolish—I was stuck. I couldn't crawl across it. It wasn’t wide enough.
There weren't many options really. It was at that instant that I said something similar to "suck it up" and just went for it. I ripped the bandaid right off. And, nothing bad happened. I stepped safely on the opposite bank and set out to catch up with the man I'd been pacing with. Not only did I catch him, I passed him. I also caught and passed each girl who was ahead of me. I was the first female across the finish line! With dry shoes and a new outlook on river crossings, I was mentally prepared to tackle the two crossings the next morning on the 13 mile course.
How many times do we stop and think about a problem, barrier or opportunity to the point of paralysis? Obsessing over the worst things that could happen and what ifs. Trust your intuition. Trust your training. Trust your knowledge, skill and base. Trust your heart. Be bold. Be decisive. Act. What if the worst case actually happens? Wet feet will dry and scrapes will heal. With each successful stream crossing, confidence will swell and feet will become increasingly nimble. Take that first leap of faith and grow!
About the Author
Dawn is a government services manager at HORNE LLP where she specializes in 404 Hazard Mitigation. A fearless leader committed to pushing our firm forward, she is challenging our team to push out of their comfort zone, try new things and challenge old ways of thinking.