I suppose some people would feel that the biggest barrier to completing a gruelling boot camp would be their physical fitness. But for me, leading into the weekend, I was facing some mental barriers that I had to overcome.
DNF (acronym for did not finish) alternatively could stand for the three emotions that hold us back from our goals. Doubt, Negativity and Fear.
Believe it or not a big hurdle for me was simply driving a long distance on my own. I’ve never driven for a long time on my own, being quite happy for my husband to take the driving seat over the years while I’d prefer dealing with the young children in the back of the car. Navigation is a weakness for me and I’ll admit I once had a panic attack when I got lost in the car.
But like all fears I’ve had to overcome, I got prepared and broke it down into steps. It’s always worth reminding yourself that something that can seem so easy and simple to you is not for everyone else. In the end I enjoyed the drive. The A roads through to Brecon in Wales were full of rolling green scenes bursting with beauty in the late spring sunshine.
Although I have a good level of fitness and strength, I’ve not been in quite as good shape in recent months. But I told myself that this challenge was going to be a mental one as much as a physical one, if not more so.
I won’t give details about exactly what we did on the course, as part of the challenge is the element of the unknown. But needless to say there were occasions where I was tempted to doubt myself or where negative thoughts began to creep in. I was made team leader of my group and I knew I had to be confident and lead by example in order to succeed in this role. So I didn’t allow such thoughts to get any kind of grip in my mind. When I was younger these sort of thoughts would at times overwhelm me and definitely held me back unfortunately.
Negativity, fear and doubt often form in our own minds. They can be the result of childhood experiences. Sometimes though, it is others’ negativity that is projected onto us and unfortunately lodges in our psyche where it has no right to have any kind of influence on us. Dealing with this is hard but it does get better with maturity.
This challenge was one of the best experiences of my life. I have the names of my team written in my notebook and I will never forget them. The bond you form with people in these situations is incredible. If you’re looking to make yourself stronger mentally then give yourself a challenge, doesn’t matter what the challenge is or how small it seems, but something that will force you to overcome some self-doubt and fear. You will never regret the growth you will experience.