I’ve been giving some thought recently to different experiences I have had when following the approach of ‘feel the fear and do it anyway’.

This came to mind recently when I was watching the world gymnastics championships. As I watched I recalled a situation from my childhood.

My gymnastics club was taking part in a local area competition. I was very excited but also worried because I could not do the routines for the beam and the asymmetric bars.

I was scared waiting to go on the beam. I could do the individual components but not link them together without falling off. Everyone did the same routine at this competition. All the people who had just gone ahead of me completed it very well, including adding extra moves.

My turn came. I fell off at least 4 times.

Next came the asymmetric bars. Although I had been dreading the beam that was nothing compared to the asymmetric bars. I just wanted to get the beam out of the way but I actually wanted to do well on the bars!

One of the main components of the bar routine was a skill I had not yet mastered. It was a backward circle. If you did not complete this you could not move in a linked way to the next skill. I’d like to stress again that I had never, not even once, managed to do it!

This time as I watched the people ahead of me something changed. I saw how they were doing the moveI watched the person directly before me and the whole thing ‘clicked’. I moved through the start of my turn in a daze and started the routine – I did an absolutely perfect backward circle (and a decent rest of the routine too).