A couple of years ago, I participated in the Royal Marines Commando Challenge in the UK. The challenge entailed a 10km run with various obstacles dotted throughout the course. I wasn’t particularly concerned about running 10km or about most of the obstacles; however, I was very fearful and anxious about the dreaded “sheep dip” obstacle.
The “sheep dip” obstacle requires a person to dive underneath a low-level cement bridge in dark, muddy, frigid water with the hope and faith that a Marine on the other side of the bridge will pull you up and out of the water. The thought of diving in muddy water and being enclosed in a tight space that I had to feel my way out of rather than see my way out of frightened me to my core. And, it didn’t help that the Royal Marines Commando Challenge website stated that every Marine dread’s this particular obstacle.
Approximately 7km into the run, and several obstacles later, we finally arrived at the Sheep Dip. As I gazed at the obstacle, I couldn’t help but swear and ask myself what I had gotten myself into. I expressed to the Marine at the obstacle that I was terrified, and he instructed me ever so calmly, “Don’t be, JUST DO IT”.
I felt like I was in a NIKE ad.
Realising that I had to do it to complete the challenge, I swore out loud, took a deep breath and dove under the water where moments later a Marine on the other side of the bridge pulled me up and out of the water. Astounded and in shock that I had actually done it, I quickly recovered my bearings and feeling like a champion, I continued running the final 3k to the finish line.
Sometimes to overcome fear, you have to feel the fear and do it anyway. The very things that cause us fear can often give us confidence once we embrace the fear.
Persistence + Determination = Fear elimination
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