Pursue Opportunities to Face Fear
Written by Kirsten Ahrendt

Even though my training has shifted significantly, I chose to participate in this year’s CrossFit Open as an exercise in facing fear. The truth is, stepping into a big group workout like the Open WODs STILL gives me nerves and anxiety. I want to exceed my expectations and to lead by example for my community – not by posting the top score, but by simply stepping into the arena. I know that in doing so, it will require effort and will be uncomfortable. I also know that fear generally points us in the direction we must go. Fear lingers and grows until you face it, head on. If you avoid it in one instance, it pops up in a different one.

“I want to race so that I can encounter a moment that scares me and conquer it over and over again.”
– Christine D’Ercole, Master’s National Champion Track Cyclist, and my FAV Peloton Instructor

This quote resonates with me a lot, and I hope you’ll consider it next time you have an opportunity to “be in the arena” – whether that’s the CrossFit Open or another activity entirely. 

Christine D’Ercole competes in track cycling – not to overcome a competitor or to win – (although she does), but rather to overcome a moment and a feeling. It’s important to recognize that even National Champions have fears and doubts. 

Adults have fewer opportunities than kids to answer that call to face fear. We put ourselves in fewer new or unknown situations. We have settled into routines because they are efficient, logical, and often habituated. But those routines are smooth and easy, and what may look like efficiency can also be a trap. 

Make sure you carve out a few opportunities for yourself every once in a while to face fear – whether that’s just showing up at the gym every day, hiking a mountain, or starting a new sport. As your coach, I am happy to help you identify opportunities to face fear. They are often all around us.