A couple of years ago I participated in the Royal Marines Commando Challenge in Exeter in the UK, and although I wasn’t particularly concerned about running 10k or most of the obstacles, I was very fearful and anxious about the dreaded “sheep dip” obstacle.
The “sheep dip” requires one to dive underneath a cement bridge in muddy, cold 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 couldn’t see my way out of, but rather had to feel 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.
If the marines fear the obstacle what hope did I have?
7k into the run, and several obstacles later we finally arrived at the Sheep Dip. As I looked at the obstacle I couldn’t help but swear. What had I gotten myself into? I told the marine at the obstacle that I was really scared, and he responded, “Don’t be, JUST DO IT”.
I felt like I was in a NIKE ad.
I swore to myself, 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.
My lesson? Sometimes you need to do the very things that scare you in order to gain confidence.
Remember that anything is possible, even the things that scare you. Sometimes you just have to do it.
Persistence + Determination = Fear elimination