worrier to warrior

Alison Tetrick: Worrier to Warrior, From Fear to Action

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By Alison Tetrick,
Pro cyclist, Entrepreneur, CTS Contributing Editor

Worrier to Warrior: Turning fear of failure turning into explosive, remarkable action.

Sit with that for a second. What do you fear? What do you want? Do you realize that fear and desire are often aligned, just differently worded?

I have been taking a leadership class these last few months, thanks to T-Mobile Accelerator and Dairy Farmers of America  (don’t worry, I’m not trying to strap cell phones to dairy cows, I still ride bikes). It’s one of those classes where you get together with a bunch of entrepreneurs and business founders and you share your feelings. Nothing awkward about that at all. I am never the smartest or bravest in this classroom of strangers. But while pedaling a bike a fair bit around the world, I’ve become a professional at being comfortable with discomfort and pushing those barriers. I should probably also have a filter in the classrooms.

We were talking about fear and desires. Simply put, fear is when you say, “I don’t want to fail”, and desire is when you say, “I want to succeed”. Both illustrate the same emotion, but they are communicated much differently. When I was trying to diagram my fears and desires, literally, on notebook paper, I found it much easier to list all of my fears. Those are the emotions we hold tightly to. They come from childhood, cultural experiences, and everyday life.

List your fears.

Fears are easy to list. I don’t want to fail. I am scared of letting you down. I don’t want to disappoint my mom. I don’t know my FTP because I’m sure it’s not high enough. And I certainly don’t want to know my power-to-weight ratio. Everyone’s a worrier in some way. I want to be a warrior. Insert warrior princess here. I grew up on Xena Warrior Princess so don’t tempt me.

Take a backseat for a second, Warrior Princess. First, my fears. What keeps you up at night, distracts you during the day? Are you not good enough? Are you not headed in the right direction? Why do I feel this way? What is the end game? What do I really want to do? Why am I doing this? Lining up for 200 miles, showing my vulnerability, talking about hard things. Being real. Wanting to thrive. Wanting to be the best version of me. Am I enough?

List your desires.

All right, Warrior Princess, please come back. I had to sit with my fears for a while, just sit with them. Even when alone, this was super uncomfortable. Listing desires even more difficult. I hated it. My knees started sweating. Yes, my knees. I closed my eyes and let the feelings in. I acknowledged them. I wrote them down by name. Sanity, security, positive impact, success (whatever that looks like). Anxiety. Insecurity. Wait, no, those are fears. We’re working on desire. I took the feels and dealt with the discomfort. I want to be enough. I am enough.

Then, the most important part. What do I do now with sweaty knees and jittery teeth? What creative action can I take from both those fears and desires? You find abundance. You accept both your fears and desires. You realize you are worthy to feel both the good and bad. Fear and desire, together. You transform from a worrier to a warrior. Acknowledge the fear and embrace the desire.

As you tackle your next event, race, work project, and family commitment, think about what you are fearing. Write those down. Label them. Sit down. Be prepared to get uncomfortable with yourself. Then remember what you want and why you are there and what you will do with this powerful opportunity. Take action. Translate the fear into desire and recognize that it’s all in your perspective. Don’t succumb to fear. Realize that those fears can be translated into achieving your desires.

I am headed to go ride 200 miles this weekend. Am I scared? Not really. Well, not about the distance. But will I make you proud? Will I sell any bandanas to help kids get on bikes? Will I generate the stoke and positivity I task myself with at these events? Stop. Again, that’s the fear talking. I want to make a difference. I want to meet my potential. I want to make us all smile at my awkward sweaty knees and your successful day. I am still a worrier, but I can be a warrior, too. Translate your fears into desire and take action. We have abundance and worthiness with each other.

I am a Warrior Princess, I have no fear, and I’m going for a ride.

Long-time CTS Athlete Alison Tetrick will be contributing posts to the Trainright Blog, telling stories and sharing lessons learned during her career racing at the highest levels of road and gravel cycling. In addition to consulting for many outdoor brands, Alison has launched AMT Bandanas, a line of one-of-a-kind bandanas that bring to life why we ride and enjoy the outdoors. Proceeds from the sales of the bandanas go towards creating scholarship opportunities to bring more women and diversity into the sport of cycling.


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Comments 8

  1. Fabulous article? Great thoughts and ideas!
    As a former competitive cyclist, now dog show handler, I can testify to the knocking knees and fears of not looking good. Thank you for you positivity and your ideas!

    1. Yes – I write this because I have knocking knees all the time! I need the affirmation more than most probably! 🙂 Thank you for reading and the positive feedback!

  2. Allison, this is so genuine. Thank you. It is cliche but so true that courage is not the absence of fear, it is facing it and accomplishing what must be done and/or what you want to do anyway. Fear and anxiety are so very common in our society and in human life that learning how to work with it effectively is a very critical life skill. And you have described it well. We must face it, be with it, embrace it even, sometimes with humor, similar to the old “embrace the suck”. None of this makes it go away, but instead we make peace with it and make an accepting place for it in our lives. It’s place is not a dominant role once you face it. We become less fearful of fear. I would argue the fear can even make our accomplishments all that more thrilling. Thanks for being a role model!

    1. Wow! This is so good. Thank you for sharing. I am going to save this for later when I need it.. which will probably be tomorrow! Keep being BOLDLY you!

  3. Wonderful and motivating comments that helped me. Will you make us proud? Everyone that matters to you, I expect, already is proud of you. Good luck this weekend and have a kick ass time.

    1. You got it, Kristjan! The only way is to make YOU proud by doing your best. And if you aren’t doing your best, change it! Thank you so much!

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