"We live inside a circle,
bounded by our fears."
- Mahatma Gandhi
In both athletic competition and in training, there is an underlying force constantly at work.
So often we can see from the outside, as parents and coaches, what the right thing to do is in many situations. It can be frustrating to watch someone who holds themselves back without any clear reason.
They don't try as hard as they seem capable of.
They avoid actions that clearly will help them.
They take the easy road over and over, even when it leads to smaller and smaller improvements over the years.
What many times drives this behavior is fear.
A fear of failure will cause someone to avoid what they know they need to work on, because if they don't try they can't fail and become labeled a failure.
A fear of embarrassment will keep someone from trying new things or working on a new skill, because the chance they may look stupid and be made fun of is too powerful for them to bear.
A fear of losing their status as 'one of the best' will cause a young athlete to avoid difficult situations, because it might put a dent in their ego, and their reputation as being unstoppable
These are strong emotional drivers, and they cause all of us to avoid what we need most for success.
And just like Gandhi said, we end up living a life that is bounded by our own fears.
The opposite of this, of course, is to not let those fears limit you.
By confronting your own fear of failure, of embarrassment, of a potential loss of status, you can expand your circle of success to a far greater degree.
If you aren't getting the amount of playing time you think you deserve, push yourself even harder instead of backing off.
When there are new skills you need to work on for success against top competition, dive in enthusiastically despite the fact you probably won't look great at it for awhile.
Lean in to challenges in your sport, your training, and everything else.
Your success rate won't be 100%, but the only way you'll reach the next level is to work directly through them.
Fear limits the talent pool in every arena.
Some face their fears and keep moving forward.
Most do not, so if you do fight through you'll find many of your former competitors have dropped out or given up.
What fear is shrinking your circle of success today that you can break through?

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