How to Create Confidence in the Face of Anxiety

Susan Donnelly running Bigfoot 200 mile race.

Here’s a secret that will help you finish your first 100-mile race, try an intimidating new race, and up your game to a harder race. 

And it has to do with driving a manual transmission car.

Over two recent weekends, I taught a really cool (yes, I’m biased!) 18-year old named Oliver how to drive my stick shift car.

We started in an empty parking lot with the predictable stalling. I thought back to 18-year old me. I’d gotten frustrated at this point but Oliver wanted to learn more than he was willing to give in to frustration, and he kept with it.

Ten minutes later, he was ready to venture out on the streets of town.

As luck would have it, we immediately had to stop at an intersection on a ridiculously steep uphill...right in front of a family enjoying the summer weekend in their front yard. Oliver tried several times but kept stalling, and the car slipped back toward their yard a little each time.

The father came over and asked if we needed help so I explained the situation.

Eighteen-year old me would have been mortified. 

Eighteen-year old Oliver grinned sheepishly but tuned out his new audience and tried several more times before reluctantly handing it over to me.

A couple of weekends later, he was visiting and asked to practice driving my car. He took the few chances he got and by the end of the weekend, he was even downshifting through turns with ease. No stalling.

We've all been there - trying something new and challenging takes guts.

You feel awkward and self conscious.

You’re sure you stick out like a newbie.

You’re nervous about making mistakes.

You might not get it right on the first try.

You might fail in front of others.

You might need help.

So it’s easy to let anxiety and fear freak you out.

The secret around this is to allow yourself to want it as much as you really do - more than you’re afraid of making mistakes, getting laughed at, or looking like a newbie.

Wanting what you want as much as you want it, no matter how you look or what anyone thinks, focuses your mind and sets the negative thoughts aside so you can go for it. 

Or as Oliver put it, “I reeeeally want to learn to drive a stick shift.”

So like Oliver, keep working at it even if you stall the car or DNF the first time...or the first 10 times.

Channel your inner 18-year old who reeeeally wants to learn to drive a stick shift, and upshift to the confidence you need to run your best.

Susan Donnelly’s signature

PS - I have one opening left for a 1:1 client. With coaching, you get a 100-mile expert consultant, mindset coach, and running coach all in one - the perfect combo if your looking to finish a 100-mile race.

If you're considering it, don't wait - this may be the last opening for the year.

Email me here to set up a free consult call to ask questions and see if this is a fit for you!