Running headlong into your fear

Yesterday I taught my first ever Spinning class.

No biggie, right? After all, I have been teaching yoga for years. This is just another format… WRONG! To quote our esteemed Vice President, “This is a big fucking deal.”

I was certified to teach Spinning a year and a half ago. That is how long it took to gather enough courage to teach a class that is the antithesis of yoga. For 18 months these feelings of shame hung over my head – haunting me every time I walked into the gym. My mental block said that the expectations of Spinning students are different. They are very demanding. And I just did not know if I had it in me to switch from my easygoing yoga teaching style to hardcore Spinning drill sergeant. I was afraid of failing my students. (I still am.)

If certain individuals had not relentlessly pushed me to teach, I would have tried to live the rest of my life as a coward. And never teach a single Spinning class. But I knew that I could not continue to live with the weight of my fear (and failure) on my shoulders. And it has been a constant companion for too long.

I practiced like crazy but when the day finally came as I sat on the Spinning bike waiting for students to walk in (and possibly walk out) I still felt shaky and uncertain. I kept saying in my head, “Don’t let them smell your fear!” Fortunately, the members at the National Naval Medical Center were incredibly encouraging and all those hours I spent agonizing over this moment was a waste of time. When class ended I was so ecstatic that I hugged the Front Desk guy on the way out.

Sitting on the other side of my conquered fear I chide myself for building it up so much that I paralyzed myself. And it stumped me for a really long time despite everyone’s reassurances that I would do okay. I would even ask myself why was I torturing myself like this? I don’t need to do this. I don’t need to prove anything to anyone… But I did. I needed to do it for myself because it was something I had set out to do and I was terrified. But I couldn’t let myself fail without at least giving it a try. To quote my friend, life coach Lauree Ostrofsky of Simply Leap:

I am really proud of myself. I faced this thing I had been so afraid of. Ultimately, I had to stop telling myself, “I’ll do it when I’m ready. I just need a little more time.” Sometimes the best time is RIGHT NOW and that feeling of readiness is never going to come. You just have to take that leap. The best part is? I feel a helluva lot lighter. And, yes, I put myself through an emotional wringer but it was worth it. At this moment, I am flying high and it feels like there is nothing I cannot do.

So now it is my turn to ask you, what are you afraid of and what are you waiting for? More importantly, how can I help?