There comes a time when you need to stop running...
Updated: Jul 22, 2021
The arrow dug into my neck, and suddenly this was real...
"Am I even going to be able to do this?"
All eyes on me...
"It is now or never, Chels."
One last deep breath, and I stepped forward, forcing the arrow into my neck.
(It's ok, I survived...phew)
It was part of an exercise I was doing for my coaching qualification in 2016.
You place the point of a wooden archery arrow in the soft tissue area of your throat, in between the collar bones... have a feel now.
There's like a little dip... yup, that's where the pointy bit goes, and you put the other end against the wall.
You then need to fight all your thoughts, beliefs, and emotional responses so you can 'get out of your own way' and step forward until you bend and break the arrow.
It takes a second to break an arrow with your throat.
But that's not the hard part.
The hard part is being brave enough to open up one of the most vulnerable and private areas of your body.
To fight against your own resistance and fear.
You attach a limiting belief or fear to the arrow, something you need to breakthrough and that moment when it's uncomfortable, and your whole body is telling you to stop, you have to dig deep to push through...
To not run.
That moment may only be a second for everyone in the room, but it slows down for you...
And as it breaks, it leaves you feeling unstoppable.
It was one of the most freeing and scary things in my life.
Because not only was I using such a vulnerable part of my body, the exercise we had to do before it attached our biggest fear to it.
We had to write it on the arrow; it was something we had been working on and uncovered throughout the course.
Mine... "I'm not good enough."
I mean, fill in the blank...
"I'm not a good enough... Mum, daughter, friend, partner, business owner."
"My body is not good enough."
"My face is not good enough."
"I'm not good enough to love."
That belief underpinned everything...
"I'm just not enough".
So as I wrote it on that arrow, it was everything to me.
Those four words, "I'm not good enough", did something astonishing to that arrow.
That arrow, which weighs not much more than a pen...suddenly became heavy. So heavy, I didn't want to pick it up. I couldn't.
All those fears that I had been carrying around were now weighing so heavily on the arrow I didn't think I could do it.
Before you can do the actual exercise, you need to be in the right state and have the right mindset to break through the limiting belief (as well as the arrow)
I was facing the lady as she is now trying to get me pumped up, to change my state... It feels good.
I'm strong, I'm standing there... and I'm ready...
Until she asked me to say... "I'm good enough."
What I didn't realise at the time was every time I said I'm good enough, I would literally step back, my whole body rejecting it.
I wasn't ready. I couldn't do it.
I see the lady look in the corner of her eye and the trainer, a very dear friend of mine and an absolutely amazing human, Stephen Doran. Called me...
I turned round in the room to face him (and the other ten course attendees who were watching, there really was no hiding)
And he looked at me and said:
"You don't have to do this now... You can come back after lunch... You don't have to do it at all..."
He paused as I just stared at him... terrified.
He didn't take his eyes off me.
"You don't have to do this now."
And I knew at that moment that if I decided to back away, not to face this, I would be running forever, and I didn't want to run anymore.
I had no strength to run anymore.
And that moment changed my life.
That realisation that you can't keep running because the very thing that you are running from is not external. It's inside.
You might block it down, you might focus on other areas, but it will surface again, and again, and again.
How you do one thing is how you do everything.
And I was so sick of running away from life instead of living it. I couldn't do it anymore.
The idea that we are avoiding pain when we don't face our fears is crap.
Pain will find you in another way.
Every day we are faced with decisions, decisions that may trigger our deepest, darkest fears.
I know because I am currently facing one of mine. I don't get off scot-free here...
Yes, I have been doing this for years now, but I am human like everyone else...
I have goals, I have fears, I make mistakes, and I fall... but I get up.
And sometimes it easy and other times I look at that door and think... run.
Because just like the weight of that arrow, it feels heavy.
But the question is...
"Do you want to live in pain, being controlled by fear or do you want to confront it?"
One way will lead you to more pain, the pain you are already in or the other leads you to opportunity, to somewhere else.
It's not easy, I know.
But you are in that ring already. You are fighting every day.
No one is going to throw the towel in for you.
Only you can decide the fight you want to fight.
Only you decide enough is enough.
Only you decide when it's time to stop running.