Yesterday I went on a bike ride through Salzburg, Austria on a tour of Sound of Music film locations. Now for the average person, this was a mild bike ride of average length. There was a couple on the tour with us who were probably in their 70s. I’m a fitness instructor – this should have been a piece of cake, right?
Think again. I was absolutely terrified. I admit that riding a bike is a very odd fear for a twenty year old, but there you have it. I learned to ride a bike at age nine, and didn’t get on one again until the age of nineteen, when I rode one in circles for about ten minutes. Yesterday, though, I rode a bike for almost five hours through busy traffic and narrow country roads in a foreign city I’m not familiar with.
This was such a freeing experience for me. Not only did I conquer my fears, but I also conquered my self-doubt. About one-third of the way into the ride, my bike chain started making weird noises, and I got really scared. I choked back tears and told my dad, “I can’t finish this ride.”
I’m not sure what I thought I was going to do, since I was on a tour with eight other people and couldn’t very well turn back, but I was convinced that I could go no further. I gave up. Until, of course, the inevitability of my finishing this ride hit me, and I had no choice but to continue. And you know what? I didn’t mess up the rest of that ride. My starts and stops were seamless (well, almost). I steered correctly. I stopped panicking at sharp turns or when people passed on the narrow roads. I did it, and I did it well.
Not only did I face my fears, but I also proved to myself that ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE. I did not think I was capable of what I accomplished, but when push came to shove, I did it. And riding a bike is something pretty simple — imagine what I can do if I believed in myself from the get-go!
Now take a moment: what are you selling yourself short on? How can you change your way of thinking in order to highlight your abilities and quell any self-doubt? You can start small – this take time. It’s like riding a bike. For some of us, it takes a while to get going, but once you’re moving, you gain momentum, feel good about yourself, and there’s no stopping you.