It is something every athlete must deal with as it is one of the biggest obstacles in a high performance pathway. Fear of failure, fear of injury, fear of not living up to expectations and fear of disappointment to name a few.
In the recent feature with speed skater Jeremy Witherspoon, he expresses his most innermost feelings and really exposed his fears of not succeeding at his third and final Olympics. Incredible to be so open prior to his last chance for Olympic glory in his life. He has multiple world records and is the most decorated skater at the world cup level in the 500 meter sprint but the Olympic podium has eluded him. The Olympics are such a vulnerable time, especially when they are in your home country. I respect him so much for pursuing his final Olympic opportunity after suffering a devastating injury to his forearm at this time last year. Had he quit, he would have succumb to one of the most daunting feelings a professional athlete comes up against; fear of failure. If he didn't risk failing, he would achieve nothing and likely regret it for the rest of his life.
Here is a piece I wrote last year while I was pre-season training and thinking ahead to the 2009 season's challenges.
"I believe in destiny. I believe I am on this planet to pursue my passions, share them and constantly challenge myself and those I encounter to never stop driving; life it too short to be idle. Comfort leads to complacency, therefore, I will strive for self-improvement in all facets of life.
I will constantly push past my comfort zones as being in unfamiliar situations will force me to learn, adapt, fail and excel. I am not afraid of failure for it is an obstacle blocking my path; I must overcome it to be a champion. I will not judge my failures as a measure of success. Failure is a natural part of life and how I deal with, recover from, conquer over and persevere past it will determine my success.
I believe in myself and embrace my fear of failure for it will be a constant reminder to push myself beyond my boundaries; forging to be the best I can possibly be."
"You are as strong as your drive"