Touching Fear

The first time I heard about touching fear was from Mark Allen, six-time Ironman World Champion. Mark talked about overcoming his fear of the wind, the heat and his competition. It was powerful and inspirational stuff. Years later, I was fortunate to spend time with Mark and learn more about the man.

Scott Molina once observed, “What if you do everything right and it’s not enough?”

I know that pain well – it lives on in me, and might be why doping gets me so wound up. Perhaps, that’s the price one pays for not living with regret.

We rarely share our deepest fears. The only way I can see my own is to pay attention to my triggers of irrationality. I defuse the triggers by publishing. Another method is via forgiveness. The path of forgiveness is a difficult one – there are times when I struggle to console my children (for what they’ve done to me in the past).

What our deepest fear?
The fear of being found out.

What if they really knew me?
We might realize the similarities of our inner lives.

I’ve been asking friends and family about triggers that have made them fly off the handle. Tell me about the last time you really lost it…

Athletes get excited about nutrition, training protocols, drafting and doping. Citizens might get excited about religion, politics, gun control, abortion and taxation.

I react to these topics but they are surface triggers. Want to see me deeply irrational, you need to reach deeper, past the filters I’ve carefully built.

  • Disapproval of a child
  • Disapproval of a parent
  • Loss of control over a child
  • Loss of dignity
  • Death
  • Financial loss
  • Criminal sanctions
  • Being alone
  • Infectious diseases

Hands down, the worst form of loss I can conceive is the death of my son. Strangely, that fear triggers love. I’m so grateful that the little guy is here, even as I’m aware that someday his perfection will change and he’ll be just like the rest of us. I share my love for him so I remember how sweet he was as a youngster.

Another fear is that I might fail my daughter. She fatigues me so completely that I get to the point where I (almost) don’t care. I’ve been reducing all forms of stress to give myself more energy to parent.

When I hear people talk about my kids, my efforts are working. When I ask myself about being a parent, I feel like I’m failing my kids. The difference is I hear my inner dialogue, and it isn’t pretty.

A friend in a similar position advised me to “live the life that I want for my kids.” There are weeks where that implies seeing a lot less of my kids.

I haven’t figured out the balance but I know that sharing my fears reduces their hold on me.