Kate and I connected when she sent me the following 20-for-20 question:
Hey Allegra - There's this big trip I want to take next Fall - trekking in Nepal - that is rated as "extremely strenuous." I want to go BUT I am afraid I won't be in shape enough to enjoy it.
As I reflected on her question before our session, I asked myself (and then her) one simple thing: Is it really about being in shape? Like…REALLY? Kate is a powerhouse NOW and has close to a year to get ready for this trip. I'm not trying to minimize the physical condition a person has to be in when they embark on the kind of trip she's planning. But from a completely objective standpoint, she has plenty of time to prepare for this if it's what she really wants.
What we uncovered during our 20 minute session was much more significant than just "aw shucks sure you can!" Deeper than the worry about her physical preparedness was a larger concern about what would happen if even after all her training she STILL didn't feel good or capable.
We talked about the how we must be careful not to compare ourselves to others -- and, even more so, not so make assumptions about someone else's story. The person on the trail ahead of you might very well be going through the same thing physiologically - the labored breathing, headache, soreness -- but what is different about her is how she's choosing to interpret that discomfort amidst all of the circumstances in her life at that moment.
While you're saying to yourself, "Ugh. I should have trained better. Everyone around me is so much more ready than I am. This was a bad idea. My body can't do it," your neighbor is thinking, "I can't believe I'm here. I'm here. I'm DOING this. My body is moving me forward with every step. My body is working. I AM DOING THIS."
And guess what - because that other girl is in the habit of thinking THOSE kinds of thoughts, even when her body is totally pushed to the limit, she's having a much. better. time.
Kate does a bootcamp super crazy early almost every morning; I asked her to start keeping track of what she's choosing to think when things are getting physically difficult during her workouts. What thoughts are she choosing to have in those moments, or immediately following, about her physical condition, the choice she makes to exercise, what the purpose of her workout is and how it's fulfilling her energetically even if physically she feels some discomfort? We don't realize how strong our inner voices are until we become conscious about listening to them.
Gotta train our minds AND our bodies, Awesome People! Sounds kind of cliche when I write it out like that --- but if the plan is to embark on something you KNOW is going to be physically strenuous, part of the conditioning is building up and strengthening mental habits as well as physical ones.
I also asked her to find other people who have done this adventure and find out more about their experience. Of course everyone is going to relay their tale as they remember it to be; but in their experience is knowledge, wisdom, and point of reference much closer to what the trip is ACTUALLY like than what she might be making of it in her head.
Ultimately, what is the value of worry? It only serves you if 1) you can do something about it and 2) you can take positive action now to address it. In Kate's case, if it really is about the physical preparedness, she can start taking steps TODAY towards addressing that. Yes, it will require a strategy, a plan, a recommitment of time --- but it is possible if she wants it to be.
We only started to scratch the surface of the kinds of amazing personal discoveries Kate could make as she sorts out the details of this trip, so Kate's decided to take advantage of some longer term support.
First step? Send her an Adventure Mapping Workbook to make sure that goal she's working towards is crystal clear and mega inspiring!